If you want to play basketball for Indiana coach Tom Crean, you’d better rebound.
That’s the message he was pushing in the aftermath of the exhibition victory over Indianapolis, which was the final public preparation before Friday’s season opener against Stony Brook.
“As we look at our team moving forward, and it’s like I told our guys, you’ve got to have a lot of tools in your tool box. You’ve got to bring them out. One of the things that will be a separator on this team is efficiency in rebounding.
“One rebound every X amount of minutes is going to be really important. It’s taken time for our players to understand it’s not the minutes you play, but what you do in those minutes. The efficiency of those minutes. For so long the easiest thing to do at Indiana was to play in the games. That’s not it anymore.”
So now you know
You might have seen senior forward Tom Pritchard get all feisty with a University of Indianapolis player during Saturday’s exhibition and think, Wow, this is great. Pritchard is finally turning nasty.
Crean, however, had a different view.
“I don’t want that,” he said. “That’s not real hustle. I don’t want him to get into it with any guy. I addressed that with Tom.”
Pritchard has had a career-long knack for drawing fouls. His incident on Saturday resulted in a double technical, which was his second foul in three minutes. He didn’t play the rest of the half.
“We’ve had referee directors come into practice the last couple of days and they’re not going to mess around with that,” Crean said. “When those situations come up, say something to the ref. Say something to the coach. They can handle it or check the monitor if there’s a problem.
“I don’t want our guys getting into it. That’s not real toughness. Tom Pritchard is too valuable to get a technical. I won’t tolerate that.
“There will be a time and a place we have to stand up for ourselves. That wasn’t one of them.”
So now you know -- again.
Okay, did IU football coaches manufacture a little motivational drama to pump up the Hoosiers before they played Ohio State? And was that good or bad?
Ah, don’t you love it when we ask the questions and then provide the answers.
First, a little background.
Hoosier coaches distributed some bulletin board material for their players last week by posting some kind of story from some kind of Ohio media that suggested that the Buckeyes were treating playing IU like it was a bye week because the Hoosiers were so lousy.
The implication was that Ohio State players had said it, although it apparently came from sports writers for a Buckeye Internet website.
Anyway, it seemed to work. The Hoosiers were solid on offense against a solid, but not great, Ohio State defense. And IU’s defense did some hitting and made some plays, although it again gave up far too many big plays.
Still, it was improvement. When you’re 1-9, as Indiana is, improvement is a big deal. It likely won’t help when the Hoosiers travel to top-25 Michigan State in about 10 days (they have a bye this week), but it just be a difference maker against struggling Purdue, which got hammered at Wisconsin.
The bottom line -– there is hope that maybe, just maybe, IU is starting to build the foundation for a decent football program.
For now, hope is all Cream ‘n Crimson fans have.