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Tom Crean quotes pre-Purdue

Indiana coach Tom Crean won't be meeting with the media today (though Steve McClain and selected players will), but IU Media Relations distributed a copy of his quotes on the Big Ten coaches teleconference this week:

Opening Statement:

“We’re happy for Victor (on being Player of the Week). He deserves it. He’s had a great year and certainly a great week and continues to be a model of improvement and really what we want the program to stand for - no matter where you’re at, you can always get better. And that’s a constant thing and exactly what he’s doing along with his teammates. He’s just a product of all of the work that he puts in, not only what’s required in practice, in weights and in film, but what he does on his own and I think he’s reaping the benefits of that with a lot of room for improvement, and I think that’s what’s exciting.

For us, we had a very strong week of getting better and finding different ways to win. We played against an excellent Michigan State team yesterday that has got the inside-outside attack, has the defensive abilities, can play any pace. It was a hard-fought game and a well-earned victory for us.

Now we get ready for the second and third games of this week. We go to Purdue. I don’t think any coach in this league underrates anybody because you just look at the coaching and you look at the talent that are in the programs, and you just know it’s a matter a time. I think Purdue is doing that. They are playing very well and finding different ways to win. They are rebounding the ball at an extremely high rate. I think they second in the league in offensive boards and they are first in the league in defensive rebounding. It’s going to be a big time challenge for us going in there. It’s a very tough environment to play, but we’re looking forward to it. On Saturday, we have College GameDay here. There will be a lot of excitement and hoopla surrounding the game and we know we’ll be playing against as good a team has there is in the country in Michigan. It’s a big week for us.”

"D.J. Byrd, Terone Johnson, those guys are doing an excellent job of leading that team, just from watching the films. Then you have Ronnie Johnson, A.J. Hammons, Rapheal Davis, guys like that, that continue to get better and gain more confidence. Donnie Hale is a redshirt player that's gone in there and played better and better. Anthony Johnson is now a veteran in that program. "Ronnie Johnson, end to end, is as fast as any guard in the country," said Crean.

On having two teams with potentially eight starters that are Indiana kids in Wednesday’s IU-Purdue game and what that does to give the rivalry a little extra fuel:

“I think it plays out on the court because there’s such a familiarity with each other and there’s some close friendships, not to mention rivalries. I think it’s a big part of it, especially because there’s young players in the game. We have some young freshmen and they have young freshmen that have played together, not to mention the older players, like Jordan Hulls, Derek Elston and D.J. Byrd. I think it’s a big thing and I think there certainly should never be any concern about is there enough intensity, is there enough energy. Sometimes you’ve got to make sure that there’s enough concentration and enough focus, but not when it comes to intensity and energy.”

On handling expectations:

“I think the fact that we’ve won 90 percent of our games this year is a big part of that,” Crean said. “They really do understand what they’re out there to do. They have not looked ahead. There’s been games that we’ve won that we didn’t play as well in. There’s been some games that we’ve lost that we didn’t play as well in with the Butler game and the Wisconsin game, but they’ve always come back the next day ready for the next game, and they always come back ready to improve for the next game.”

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