Indiana will play No. 4 Louisville at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night as part of the Jimmy V Classic. The Hoosiers traveled to New York on Sunday and were in attendance for the New York Knicks' home game on Sunday night at MSG.
IU released some quotes from coach Tom Crean and point guard Yogi Ferrell about the matchup on Tuesday night and the event itself. Read what Crean and Ferrell had to say below:
Can you talk about getting tested on Tuesday vs. Louisville?
“They are outstanding. There's no question about it. They have as good of a pressure defensive team as I have seen to this point. Our defense is going to have to be out standing, because they are going to do different things, defensively, but you really have to be able to run your zone offense and run it crisply and sharp and get movement.
“So we are going to have to be really good there. And they don't let up. The bottom line is, they never go away and they don't let up. And their guards are extremely physical in the sense of how well they get up into the ball.
“The one thing that we did while preparing for this season was look at how well SMU created defensive pressure and got steals, how good Pittsburgh got steals, how good Louisville was at getting steals and back tips. Louisville is as the head of the class on that right now. So we are going to have to be really, really great with the basketball.”
Can you talk about the way the defense performed against Savannah State?
“It's got to be constant. That's the bottom line. We put a week together, and we put a good week together, back-to-back games. And this is probably the first time all year where we had back-to-back games where the defensive intensity was really the key to the game.
“And I think that makes everything happen from there. It makes your rebounding better. It makes your attack game better. It makes your fast break better. And when you're playing that hard and they score, you don't like it, but they have to learn, we get the ball right up the court.
“So that's your team, if your team is unselfish on offense, you're going to be good. If your team is connected on defense, you have a chance to be really good. And that's what we've got to continue to build. We've got a long way to go to get that every possession, but we made strides this week. But they will get severely tested on Tuesday.”
“If Rick hadn’t gone to the NBA the two different times that he did, he would probably be the all-time winningest coach in college basketball. Mike (Krzyzewski) is right now, and deservedly so. But I don’t think there is any question that Rick easily could have been because he has won everywhere he has been. There is a guy that has his style of play and his system of play, but the style is one thing – he can get the tempo where he wants it. But if it is a slower game, he can win there too.”
“The team he has right now is so big, not only on the front line, but they have such big guards. It has to be one of the bigger teams, top to bottom, that he has had, I would think, maybe with the exception of some of those Kentucky teams. But this is a really big, athletic, mobile team that can rebound well. They can post up. They can drive it. Their pressure is really strong.
“For us, we are going to have to play out of our minds. I don’t mean that we play ‘mindless’, I don’t mean that, because that is what they want. They are averaging 20 forced turnovers per game, so we don’t want to do that. But we are going to have to play really, really well because they have great size and strength. Their guards absolutely get up and into you on defense. They are going to work to get the shot that they want.
"So I think the thing I can say best about him is that he is comfortable with the game in the 70s or 80s and he is comfortable if the game is in the 40s or 50s. He has brought a lot to college basketball and to the game of basketball and is a bona fide Hall of Famer, there is no question about that. I have great respect for him. I have tremendous respect for him. Our teams have had some battles in the past, certainly in our games when I was at Marquette, and I worked for his best friend in Ralph Willard, so I got an insiders view with what his system is all about.
“But I have as much respect for him as I can possibly have. He is very, very hard to prepare against. But you look forward to it because you know you are going to have to play extremely well against his teams.”
Does this Louisville team play differently than other Rick Pitino teams that you have coached against?
“They are young on the front line. Their guards are experienced and know what they are doing. He has a couple young front line guys that come off the bench. He is going to change defenses inside of the possession. We have to have great zone offense in this game. You really have to know what you are doing against their zone.
“Going back to the question, they are different in the sense that they are really, really big. It will be hard to get in that lane and score against them. Our jumper game better be on. Our screening game better be on and our zone offense better be on.”
On not getting flustered if things don’t go right at the start:
“That’s right, because they are trying to wear you out. There is no coach that brings fatigue to the game, at least that I have seen, better than him year after year. There are some that are as good year-to-year, but year after year, they bring fatigue to the game and wear you down mentally and physically. There is nobody like him. That is his staple. So you have to be able to attack that and take advantage of that on the other end, because they are going to bring fatigue to the game. And how you deal with that fatigue is going to be the difference if you win or lose.”
On Montrezl Harrell and the problems he presents to opposing defenses:
“Montrezl Harrell is much like their entire team, he is relentless on both ends of the court. He can run the floor. He can score at the rim and he can shoot the ball. And he can really rebound it. He causes tremendous problems because of his length, but their entire team does the same thing.”
On the Jimmy V Classic:
“There are some great honors in college basketball and there are some great tournaments and classics, but to participate in the Jimmy V is huge. You can’t even call it an honor because of the respect that you have to have from that foundation to be asked to play says a lot about the University. That is not a short-sided thing. It is a huge endeavor and we have been fortunate to be a part of it over the years – this is our second time playing in it during my time at Indiana. It is such a big thing to be involved in this because it is such a big deal to so many people. Dick Vitale has been so instrumental in making it what it is. But when you think about what you are doing and what (the foundation) is doing and the money they are providing to people – to be asked to be a part of this and to try to help people is amazing.”
Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell
“We have to make good decisions on offense and on defense. They attack and put pressure on you the whole game so you have to be ready.”
“I think playing in Madison Square Garden is one of my favorite experiences as a college basketball player. The atmosphere last year was great and I would imagine in will be the same tomorrow night with the four teams that are playing.”