Crean offers early impressions on North Carolina #iubb

Tom Crean joined the Dan Dakich Show on WFNI 1070 AM in Indianapolis on Monday afternoon to recap IU’s run through the first weekend and look ahead at the Sweet 16 matchup between the Hoosiers and Tar Heels.

Crean’s comments on North Carolina can be found below.

(On what challenges the Tar Heels pose for IU)
Tom Crean: “Their length and the glass. Watching them the way we have, their transition is (excellent). We always think, in our minds, the best transition in the league is Iowa and Michigan. I know ours is good, but I always think Iowa and Michigan, and a lot of times, Michigan State’s transition, especially the way they run after made baskets. North Carolina is at another level from that because they have so many forwards who can run. They’re going to go five or six deep at the 4-5 position that can all get out and run. There’s a quickness level there.

“I think we can’t get caught up in matchups in this game. We have to get caught up in making sure the ball is in front of us. I don’t think we can get caught up in trying to stop the ball in the backcourt. I think we have to get up the court like we do against Iowa. You have to get to the corners and you have to definitely cover the rim because you gotta be there to take away the layup or the dunk.

“Then they’ve got six or seven things that they do off their secondary break that they’ve been doing for 40 years. They’re so well-versed in that … That, and then their rebounding in transition. You watch it and they shoot it better than people are giving them credit for. Marcus Paige – they’ve got some really good numbers when they’re playing well. We have to do a great job of challenging their shots.

“The guy that surprises me a little bit with how well he can shoot it, even though his numbers don’t say this, is Justin Jackson. He’d fit great with the way we try to play. He can make 3s but he can really, really cut and move without he ball. Their team speed and quickness to the glass and on the break are gonna be the biggest things.”

You can listen to the full interview with Crean here:


  1. I started to contemplate all of the team improvements this year and the coaching staff. I started to wonder if it was by design, pure improvement or happenstance.

    As we can all probably recall, this team was a preseason pick of many “experts” to make the Final Four. Of course the goal of coaching is to improve, which this team did. The first such occurrence I can remember from a Crean team & for that matter a Bob Knight team in his final years.

    And by “by design” I mean, did Crean really understand that OG and Morgan needed to play more along with Bielfeldt and Ziesloft, OR was it because of Blackmon & Johnson’s injuries that they all got more time and therefore opportunities to improve?

    I have to wonder what this team would be like if Blackmon were still playing. Would he have learned to play defense or continued to be a liability? Would Crean have sat his ass on the bench if he didn’t? I think not in both cases, which means, this improvement in this team is at least partly due to happenstance and injury. This is disturbing….but I’ll take it.

    We’re going to have to hit 10-12 3s to beat UNC & keep their 2nd chance pts. under 10.

  2. Completely agree about second chance points…both teams rebound well and they have the size advantage so our rebounding will be key.

  3. AWinAZ,
    I’ll be the first to admit my memory isn’t what it once was but who picked IU to be in the Final Four? I thought the Hoosiers were picked to finish 3rd or 4th in the Big Ten. I know Maryland was the favorite.

    I don’t recall anyone every calling IU Final Four material.

    As far as the other implications…I guess we’ll never know. That being said, if these things occurred on another team that we weren’t emotionally invested in the coach would get all the credit…which is only fair.

  4. I just looked at UNC’s season stats….pretty imposing.

    All 6 losses were on the road to tournament teams ( if you include Louisville that is)
    21 TOTAL point differential in those losses
    +8 / game rebound margin
    74% from the FT line

    On paper we would probably lose 4 times if we played 5. We just have to make this game the one, just like 32 yrs ago today vs. the same opponent.

  5. Chet pre-Maui ESPN discussions; specifically Bilas, Vitale & one of the other Maui broadcasters labeled them as “a legitimate Final Four threat” and “sleeper for the Final Four”. Guess I shouldn’t have used “many” but that’s where it came from.

    But at least we have 1 more game to play at this point in the season, and God-willing more. I’d have paid money to have that as of Thanksgiving. And our players have great GPAs and go to real classes, unlike our alleged opponent.

  6. I honestly think we’ll beat the Heels and we’re probably won’t hold them to ten second chance points. The Hoosiers present more problems defensively than the Heels do.

  7. …we’ll’…

    Being the dumbass I am I just ruptured my longhead biceps tendon so, for a day or two, it’s lefty typing. I should probably be pulled out of the gene pool.

    I’ll provide any fascinating follow up this may or may not deserve. The popular vote is that I am a dumbass, though. Whatever.

    Anyway, this is the classic UNC/Indiana matchup. The (perceived, anyway)) superior athletic team vs. the team that relies on systems and ball movement.

    How cool is that?

  8. This year’s team is so similar to the ’81 team…I would love to see Jeremy do a story comparing the stars and season. I believe the ’81 team went to Hawaii and lost badly and then got hot during the B1G season (when it actually meant something) and played similar teams in the tournament. Was there only 32 teams in ’81?

  9. That question brought back a recollection of the ’73-’74 season. IU tied for the conference title. At the time only to conference champs went to the Big Dance. Indiana and Michigan played for the third time that season with Michigan prevailing.

    The NCAA had not yet expanded the tournament so they had a ‘second place’ tournament called the Collegiate Commissioners Association Tournament. Indiana won the tournament with Kent Benson as the MVP.

    Had the same rules been in place Indiana could not have met Michigan in the title game two years later. That ’74 Indiana team might have made some noise in the tournament though the Final Four that year was one for the ages.

  10. The popular vote is that I am a dumbass […]

    So I think I was one of the first to point that out.

    I should probably be pulled out of the gene pool.

    Too little, too late… How about think more before you post, or post less often… that would be a start.

  11. AWinAZ,

    Can’t all be attributed to the loss of JBJ and RJ. Firstly, RJ was lost at the end of the 4th to last game of the season.

    A couple of massive improvements from Maui:

    – Nick Z’s defense: he made Jordan Hulls look like Gary Peyton. Now he’s not only adequate, he’s pretty darn good.
    – Byrant’s defense: Bryant was a clueless freshman who, at that time, only knew a switch as being a way to turn the lights on. He’s really stepped up and is not only physically gifted, but playing smart.
    – Yogi’s leadership: instead of scoring first, he runs the offense, gets it in rhythm and instead of forcing his way onto the stat sheet, his points & assists come easily.

    We still can’t inbound the ball for crap, but it is still better than in years past. 🙂

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