Crean tweaking plays, practice

The first week of the New Year always brings a sense of normalcy, of rhythm and of familiarity to the college basketball season. November and December are random to the extreme with season opening and holiday tournaments bringing NBA-like schedules one week, then scheduling holes, finals week and holidays providing extended breaks.

But January brings conference play, which typically means two games — and only two games — per week. Thursday’s game against Michigan was sort of an outlier, as it was followed by a six-day break. But from this point until the Big Ten Tournament, the Hoosiers will never go more than five days without a game.

That becomes a grind, so IU coach Tom Crean said he has to remain cognizant of wearing his players out. This week, the Hoosiers still don’t have class, so he can take advantage of that. But going forward, he’s taking steps not to overdo it.

“I think you have to start with the end in mind,” Crean said Monday on his weekly radio show. “That’s what the beginning of the week is like. What our situation has been like is we played Thursday. Obviously it was an early game. We came back Friday. Like I said, we gave them a break. Instead of getting up at 11:30 to practice, we started at noon. Gave everybody a nice little break. We went strong We went long. We got a lot done. Then we really backed off of it on Saturday. We had individual workouts in the morning. And in the afternoon we had a very crisp practice but without a lot of contact. Then we took Sunday off other than lifting weights and watching a lot of film. And today, there was just a ton of time spent defensively, but we really didn’t go up and down. We’re really trying to make sure that we’re good with our conditioning. That we’re not in an over-scrimmage situation. We’re not trying to, with this young team, over do it with a Wednesday and Saturday.”

Preparation at this time of year also goes through something of a metamorphosis. In conference play, teams know each other very well through years of experience. It’s a bit different in this case, because the conference hasn’t seen much of Indiana as it’s constituted, but at this point, there’s still enough film available for opponents to figure the Hoosiers out.

So Crean and his staff are making some tweaks to make sure they’re not predictable.

“That’s why we like to keep adding things as we go,” Crean said. “We’ve put some things on the shelf for a while. Today we dusted off a few old friends offensively and brought those back out into the equation. I think that’s really important. We’re really into what we’re doing in a sense of, ‘OK, what are they seeing from us when they watch this tape? What do our numbers look like in the last three games? The last five games? What do our play sets look like? Then it’s always good to make sure that we’re refining those, making those better, tweaking them here and there. Then taking one or two things out, and also adding things as we go.”

Matta: Turner could be back soon, but not yet

The talk around the Ohio State basketball program says that star guard Evan Turner could be back a lot sooner than the eight weeks he was expected to be out with broken bones in his back. He’s been out since Dec. 5, but reports from Columbus say he could be back within two weeks.

Ohio State coach Thad Matta said he isn’t certain when Turner will return, but that his activity is increasing.

“He’s going to get another MRI here, I think today or tomorrow,” Matta said. “He’s doing a little bit more every day shooting wise. He’s running treadmill, up and down the court a little bit. I just don’t know exactly when it’s going to feel right for him. Once the x-rays come back, hopefully they’re positive. From that point, we’ll start working him in a little bit more and hopefully get him ready to go as quickly as possible.”

Matta said he doesn’t think it’s possible for Turner to be ready on Wednesday. IU coach Tom Crean, however, said he’s making sure the Hoosiers are prepared for him anyway.

“We’ll prepare like Evan Turner is going to be out there so that we’re not caught by surprise if he is,” Crean said.

Crean: Michigan win, Big Ten experience should help

Indiana plays its first true road game of the season on Wednesday night at Ohio State, but IU coach Tom Crean said he expects Thursday’s home win over Michigan and a year’s worth of Big Ten experience for the elders on the team’s squad to make the transition easier.

“I think it’s gonna help a great deal, but I think the fact that we have more experience and the fact that these guys have been through the league helps,” Crean said. “Again, that being said, we haven’t been on the road for a true road game yet, and that starts on Wednesday night, so we have to go through that part of it. But when you have basketball players on the court that can make decisions that you can limit your unforced errors, and you can back and get stops and rebounds, that’s the greatest form of learning that you can do. You have to be able to do that numerous times whether you’re at home or on the road. Wherever it’s at. We’ve just gotta continue to go through that process as much as possible. I’m hopeful that we’ll see some of those experiences that we had a chance to go through last year that will help these guys in their own personal confidence of having to experience games.” (more…)

Crean: Still too early to tell with Roth

On Monday’s Big Ten teleconference call, Tom Crean said he still isn’t certain when or if Matt Roth will return from a broken right foot.

“There’s a process going on right now,” Crean said. “We’re rehabilitating him and working on his strengths and all of those types of things. We’d certainly like to have him back, but we won’t know if we will until his future x-rays and times for him to be evaluated again.”

Roth hasn’t played since before the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, when he injured his foot in practice. When asked when Roth’s next evaluation would be, Crean only said that it was “upcoming.”

Michigan State at IU women

Indiana hung in there, but just could not get enough shots to drop. Even the ones that looked good didn’t go in. IU finishes just 1-Of-18 on 3s. SPARTANS 53, HOOSIERS 44

3:37: Indiana in the bonus, but getting to the line and making the shots are two different things. DeHaan now with 12 to lead Michigan State, including a 3 moments ago. Hoosiers need to find their shot real quick. SPARTANS 43, HOOSIERS 35

7:44: Sasha Chaplin made her first appearance at the 10:01 mark, but it only took 13 seconds for Allyssa DeHaan to convert a three-point play against her to give Michigan State its largest lead at nine. Another DeHaan jumper makes the margin 11 before Jamie Braun hits a free throw to stop the bleeding momentarily. SPARTANS 39, HOOSIERS 29

11:31: A veritable offensive explosion by these two teams as we near the mid-point of the second half. MSU scored on three straight possessions — a first for the day — to go up six, but IU is staying in it behind Jori Davis (15 points, 3 fouls). SPARTANS 31, HOOSIERS 28

15:48: Michigan State hits a couple of shots to start the second stanza, but Indiana is scoreless so far. SPARTANS 22, HOOSIERS 20

I think it’s fair to say this is an offensive struggle. Teams are a combined 13-of-59 from the field for 22 percent. Jori Davis has 11 for Indiana, and Brittany Thomas has 7 to lead MSU. If you’re wondering, Sasha Chaplin is not playing for IU due to an unspecified injury. She is going through warm-ups for the second half, but I don’t know that she will see the court. HOOSIERS 20, SPARTANS 17

2:21: Michigan State finally hitting a few shots to draw within one here late in the half. Spartans are 1-of-12 from 3 and IU is 1-of-8 from long distance. HOOSIERS 18, SPARTANS 17

ScoopTalk: Best. Episode. Ever.

Indiana 71, Michigan 65

Jordan Hulls can hit free throws.

Tom Crean said he needed a complete team effort for the Hoosier to overcome the loss of Maurice Creek.

He got it.

Verdell Jones led Indiana with 20 points. Christian Watford came through with 19. Devan Dumes made his presence known early with three 3-pointers in the first half. Jordan Hulls hit clutch free throws down the stretch. They both finished with 11 points.

Yet Jeremiah Rivers may have been the player of the game. He shut down Manny Harris, the leading scorer in the Big Ten, by defending him and by helping get him in foul trouble. Rivers finished with nine rebounds and four points and converted a key three-point play on a nifty drive to the lane in the closing minutes.

Here’s some audio:

Tim Buckley prepares the Hoosiers for their game with Michigan.

Scoop Poll:

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