He admitted that IU’s transition defense was lacking but even that he believed was part of a bigger issue with the Hoosiers Wednesday night.
The bottom line, Crean said, was that Indiana needs to keep things simple. It needs to make the extra pass, drive and kick, and knock down open shots. Basically, his point following the Purdue game was that IU was trying to make things too difficult.
His first example of that was IU’s decisions throughout the game to continue to try to challenge Purdue’s shot blockers rather than to drive the lane and make the pass to the open player. Purdue had 10 blocks – eight by junior A.J. Hammons.
But even though IU was having its shots blocked regularly, the Hoosiers kept going in there and trying again.
“It defies description some of the drives we made on A.J.,’’ Crean said. “It’s funny that Yogi (Ferrell) never gets a shot blocked because he understands how to keep driving the ball underneath and then finding the open man. We work on that same thing constantly.
“When we get in the paint, instead of trying to make a play on the shot blocker like we’re in some backyard pickup game, we need to just keep driving the ball and make the next pass. That’s how we play. We don’t have a post game where we just throw it down there and play off the post. So we have to play off the drive and kick and make it as simple as possible.’’
The more Crean spoke in the postgame media press conference Wednesday, the more his theme of simplifying the game came out.“Against a team that is aggressive like Purdue, against a team that is playing with the edge and the passion that they had tonight, we just have to simplify,’’ Crean said. “We didn’t trust the corners enough. We didn’t take the open jump shot when it was there. We tried to drive too much and we tried to drive into traffic rather than make the simple pass, knock down the shot, and see what happens on the glass.
“Again they played well, but we put ourselves in positions to allow them to do that too many times by just not making simple plays.”
Crean said the biggest problem was that IU didn’t make the necessary pass when it was there.“One reason that we’ve been shooting at such a high percentage is that we just simplify it,’’ Crean said. “We didn’t do a good enough job of playing through the guys that needed to touch the ball more like Collin Hartman. And Collin wasn’t nearly as aggressive as he needed to be. We never took advantage of what we felt were our matchup advantages. We never took advantage of that. But really it comes down to making simple passes. If you just make the simple pass you’re going to give yourself a chance, for us, to knock down the shot. Some of our 3’s and some of our jumpers were challenged where if we just make a simple pass, make one more reversal, get there one dribble earlier rather than one dribble late, and keep driving the ball we would have been OK.’’
Crean said IU’s defensive transition woes were largely due to IU’s offensive problems.
“I think it came down to our rotations offensively which then led to easy baskets,’’ Crean said. “We don’t need to be complicated. We don’t have guys that are good enough to play a complicated game. And by complicated I mean going in there and trying to create things that aren’t there. The hole we built for ourselves was on the offensive end. The hole we built was not moving the ball the way we need to offensively.
“I’m sure we’re going to see that we had some open shots that just didn’t go because that’s part of the game. But we just didn’t simplify the game enough. Defensively, I would say if there was one thing that really hurt us I would say the transition (defense) cost us a little bit. We were out of position when we took some shots that weren’t there and then we didn’t get back as quickly as we needed to get back.’’