March 1, 2007

Tom Crean Says…

Filed under: Basketball,Opponent(s),Tactics — Dennis @ 3:58 pm

Marquette head coach Tom Crean had an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A few things were pertaining to Pitt and are of some interest.

Has the series with Pittsburgh become a rivalry? Absolutely. I think we’ve had more games turn into that in the Big East. You want that. You get two programs that respect each other and have really solid traditions in a great league that have had great games. There’s no great rivalry if there’s not great games, and we’ve had great games with them. Every game has been that way and I don’t anticipate anything less this time.

I’m undecided on this one. We’ve definitely had a great series thus far but I feel like it’s kind of hard to pull a “rivalry” out of our butts every time we have a good stretch of games between two teams.

Is shoring up the interior defense a focus especially important? Oh my goodness, yeah. That’s an understatement, it really is. We’ve got to get better, whether it’s our positioning inside or the way we get down and dig on the ball. We just gave up too much room. These games where we’ve struggled we’ve given up too much room.

Obviously as he says this, he’s picturing Aaron Gray in his mind scoring all kinds of points by dominating them down low if they have trouble in the post.

There’s a lot of talk about Aaron Gray but is Levance Fields the guy that makes Pittsburgh go? I think they’re too good to put it on one person. Gray is certainly a unique matchup because of what he does inside but no, Ronald Ramon is an outstanding guard, Antonio Graves, Levon Kendall. Sam Young since we’ve played them has had 21 against West Virginia a few weeks ago. Tyrell Biggs came off the bench (Tuesday) night and played really well. They’re really good. They’re really deep. They’ve got a lot of guys that could start on a lot of teams. Fields is outstanding; he runs the show. But he’s far from being the main wheel. They’ve got a lot of good players.

And that is exactly why we’re a good program. You can also argue the lack of that go-to guy is what keeps us from being an elite team.

Pitt got Ramon open a lot in the first game. Does that play into you guys having better pressure on the ball? We’ve got to do a better job of getting around screens and making sure we stay connected to him. It’s a physical game. There’s going to be moving screens. We’ve got to get around them. We may have to, every once in a while, run into them. But we’ve got to do a great job of staying connected to him. He’s so quick. He’s one of the quickest shooters in the game of college basketball.

There better be screens that they can’t get around because Ramon won’t be able to shake a guy off one-on-one to create a shot.

Isnt Crean the one that called Pitt a “dirty team”?

Comment by Rex 03.01.07 @ 8:52 pm

I do believe Crean thinks this is a rivalry ever since the supposed “push” that Antonio gave to Dom James. I always watch the pregame handshakes that Jamie has with the opposing coach as he comes on to the court before the National Anthem. In the Marquette game Crean shook Dixon’s hand and then seemed to spend an inordinate time wagging his finger at Jamie. I know I don’t sit that close but it really looked like Jamie was thinking, “What’s up with this guy?”

I really hope we win at Marquette, because truthfully I think Marquette was living off of their win against us in the few weeks after the victory. They seem to have come down to earth most recently. Let’s hope we can keep them there.

Comment by GM 03.02.07 @ 11:42 am

[…] Flash back to last year: Tom Crean called Pitt-Marquette a rivalry. I didn’t think it was last March and I really don’t think so right now either. Maybe he does it to pump up his players…who knows. What makes a rivalry? Location of the teams — sure it’s Big East, but Pittsburgh and Milwaukee aren’t too close. Great games in the past — we’ve surely had some, but not enough. Passionate fan bases — both teams have a solid following, but I don’t think there’s enough hate between the fans. […]

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