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December 7, 2013
Crean: Young team showing resolve
Tom Crean likes how his Hoosiers have responded thus far in practice this week to Tuesday night's 69-52 loss at Syracuse. A game that saw his young team on the wrong side of a 25-4 second half run.
"They have not needed a lot of reminders on that (second half)," said Crean yesterday. "They have come out with great energy and focus and resolve. We have had a couple of really good days to prepare for this game."
This game being a 7:30 p.m. clash tonight against North Florida, played back in the friendly confines of Assembly Hall.
The Ospreys got a nice taste of a Midwest winter arriving early yesterday to a storm that brought 6-8 inches of snow across the Bloomington area.
"I know the weather has hit at a tough time, but we are looking forward to a great crowd tomorrow night with a lot of energy," said Crean. "It is a rare Saturday night game for us this season and we are excited to play."
The Atlantic Sun Conference team comes in with a 5-5 record. Up through Thanksgiving the team had played pretty respectable basketball including just a 77-69 loss at No. 10 Florida to open the season. The last week, however, has seen UNF lose to Ohio State and Alabama by an average of 31.5 points.
"North Florida is very creative offensively," said Crean. "They run great stuff. Matthew Driscoll is a great coach. They pose different challenges. They run a lot of pick-and-rolls. They run a lot of screening actions. The biggest thing to me is guarding the dribble, on the defensive end, because they isolate very well. They will run some actions and then get it swung to the wing and the corner and then try to drive it."
The Ospreys lack a big scorer as 6-foot-6 senior forward Travis Wallace leads UNF with just a 12.4 ppg scoring average. 6-foot-1 freshman point guard is the only other player in double figures with his 10.1 ppg average.
"One thing that sticks out about this team is everybody is averaging between six and 12 points, so any given (game) could be anybody's night," said freshman Troy Williams.
"They have good balance with their scoring," said Crean. "They are a good offensive rebounding team. I would say that we are going to have to do a really good job of defensive rebounding. There are some personnel keys that we have to be completely locked into."
Motivation shouldn't be an issue for the coach after what happened on Tuesday night.
"I think you can just read it in people. They are ready to go," said Crean. "There is not a great deal of experience here, but there is a lot of hunger. I think when you have a group of guys that are hungry, they want to get right back at it. The other night was a lot of different things for us, but at the end of the day, it was the first true road game, and in the second half we played like that."
No matter the opponent, Indiana has to do a better job of taking care of the basketball.
"If I would pinpoint one thing, it would be what I pinpointed the other night, too many turnovers and too many turnovers at the worst time," said Crean. "We can't string those together like we did. That's just all part of the learning process. As I've said, we are trying to learn from that and move it forward. I know that sounds kind of trite, but that's really what you're trying to do."
Indiana had 10 second half turnovers, most of of which came in the disastrous 25-4 stretch.
As a team now the Hoosiers rank 312th in Division One now in turnover percentage.
The other issue is whow the team responds when the ball isn't going in the bucket. A leadership test that was badly failed at Syracuse.
"The 'woe is me' can't kick in when you're not making shots," said Crean. "For young teams that is the hardest thing to get over and we dealt with it the other night, no question about it. And the turnovers that we strung together there were the problem. It is what it is. That's leadership. Leadership is helping guys calm down on the court....but it is always ongoing communication. That's what you have to get."
The Big Ten Network will have the broadcast with Eric Collins and Stephen Bardo on the call.
Projected North Florida starters and key reserves with current year stats: