As Marquette prepares for a road trip to Nebraska on Wednesday, head coach Tom Crean took time to comment about the team's recent trip to Alaska, the way his team preformed in the Great Alaska Shootout and what he hopes to see in the upcoming week.
"I think we learned a lot, but what you learned yesterday does not necessarily guarantee anything today. I think that is what we have got to be so conscious about right now: our whole key is to be consistent. We had to learn to play every game for what it was, a possession by possession game. We had to deal with no-calls, bad calls, big runs, no runs and whatever it was we had to learn from all that. Now we are going on the road again and you can magnify that much more because that is going to be a true road game at Nebraska," Crean said.
By winning the Great Alaska Shootout, Marquette also gained a great amount of confidence and the experience that a young team, like Marquette, needs to grow and succeed.
"The two greatest things that you have to learn from are adversity, which we had to deal with after the Winthrop game, and now success. We won three games in a tournament, it was a prestigious tournament, and all that does is increase the attention given to you by the next team. I think that every team prepares well and certainly Barry Collier and his team at Nebraska are known for their preparation. We really have to turn back around and understand that there is really not much time to catch our breath," said Crean.
One of the major reasons for Marquette's success was the fact that they finally won the battle of the boards consistently through out the tournament. Crean said that he was happy with the performance but wants it to continue as well.
"It has got to be ongoing. We have to have a mentality that we are going to out-rebound opponents, shooting for 40-plus rebounds every game. We have to build on the fact that we out-rebounded three pretty good rebounding teams, but we can turn back into the team that got out-rebounded by Winthrop by 18, and we can't let that happen," said Crean.
The game at Nebraska will be the fourth in a row played away from Milwaukee for the Golden Eagles. Crean said that this provides a unique challenge for the young team at an early point in the season.
"Especially coming off of a tournament like this, to go on the road really makes you have to focus in and concentrate on what you're doing. You hate to be away from home for school reasons, but in this case we have to go to a very tough opponent, a Big 12 Opponent, that's 4-0. We look forward to playing them. It is great for these guys to have to turn right around and understand the significance of what they just did," Crean said.
Marquette beat this Nebraska team last year when they came to the Bradley Center, and so Crean knows most of what to expect from the Cornhuskers.
"We think that they are excellent. They have really improved. They are relatively young, but a lot of their young guys played last year. The older guys, like Jason Dourisseau and Wes Wilkinson, are having very good years. Wilkinson is a 6'10" forward and he is a lot like Steve [Novak]. He had 25 points the other day 3 for 4 from the three-point line. Dourisseau did not play against us last year because he had the stomach flu, but Aleks Maric and Joe McCray, their sophomore 5-man and their sophomore 2-man, are really playing well," said Crean.
The aspect of the upcoming game that Crean emphasized the most is the fact that this will be the first true road game of the season for the Golden Eagles.
"It helps that you play in a situation like Alaska where you're away from home, you're in hotel, you're playing on a different floor. It will be a little different tomorrow night when it's a sea of red in there and the crowd totally gets behind everything they do and not for anything that we do."
Marquette takes on Nebraska at 7:00 P.M. Wednesday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln.
Tom Crean speaks about Alaska
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