Indiana earned a huge win this past Wednesday by defeating Purdue, 97-60. The No. 3 Hoosiers are set to take on the No. 1 Wolverines this Saturday in a much anticipated matchup. Tom Crean knows how important this upcoming conference matchup is. Crean also speaks very highly of Victor Oladipo. Tom Crean joined 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis with The Dan Dakich Show to discuss Indiana’s big win over Purdue, the maturity of Victor Oladipo and playing zone defense against Michigan this weekend.
What are your thoughts on the confidence the team displayed in the win over Purdue?
“Oh there’s no doubt it was a big win. It is. It is an incredible environment. It’s a great place to play. It’s one of those places once you start thinking about college basketball at its best, like Assembly Hall, you think of that place, and to get a win like that was huge, especially the way we did it. Our guys never really lost focus or concentration in the game. That’s as big of a part of the process as I think of getting your team better than anything else, when they can stay focused on getting better and doing the right thing throughout the game rather than diverting and getting caught up in something that is not important and really staying with it. Our guys did that.”
What are your thoughts on the strong play of Victor Oladipo?
“Well what he’s got is the strength and he goes with the energy. Now he is taking his instincts, which have always been pretty good, and his athleticism, which has always been great, and he’s applying the knowledge to it. I mean, he just sees himself getting better all the time. The guys who came in here and changed this program are Victor Oladipo, Will Sheehey and Jordan Hulls because of their 365-day-a-year work ethic, and it’s one thing to do that and it’s one thing to work on your shot. It’s one thing to get better with your game, which he does all the time.
But what he is doing is getting so much better as a knowledgeable basketball player and not just how to read a screen and not just how to play a coverage, but how to take something away and now he is adding to that. The other night he always stays and watches film after our last session the night before the game. The other night he just made three guys stay back with him. It wasn’t like, let’s go see if they want to. It was like, ‘No. You, you and you are staying.’ To me that is the difference. He’s gaining so much confidence with his knowledge and with his leadership and it’s really carrying out on the floor.”
Do you expect to play zone defense against Michigan?
“I think we’ll mix it up. I think there will be things that we will look to zone. They are such a movement team and really everything comes down to the way Trey Burke plays the game with his penetration — his penetration to score, his penetration to find people, in my mind. We can’t let them become something that they are not. They don’t get to the foul line a lot, so we can’t let that happen. Their best offense is your bad shot. We’ve gotta make sure we are not letting that happen, either, that we are getting great movement and spacing, but we’ve gotta control the ball off the screen as much as anything else. How we do that? We’ll start on that this afternoon.”