Tipoff: Mount St. Mary's at Indiana, 7 p.m. Wednesday
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BLOOMINGTON –- Tom Crean is a coach of many talents, from building the Indiana basketball program back to national prominence to emphasizing the irrelevance of early national rankings to dispensing honeymoon advice.
It's amazing what you learn from his weekly radio show.
Take the Hoosiers' response to Saturday's Butler loss that dropped them from No. 1 to No. 6 in the polls.
“The last two days was when the resolve really came back –- in practice, the privacy of the weight room and the practice court,” he said during Monday night's show. “They care.”
Take player leadership, more necessary than ever to ensure IU learns from its defeat.
“There are some who need to come to the forefront a little bit, and they will,” he said.
Indiana (9-1) has three remaining non-conference games before opening Big Ten play Dec. 31 at Iowa (9-2), starting with Wednesday's game against Mount St. Mary's (4-4). The Hoosiers have spent the last couple of days practicing for a big rebound –- literally given Butler's dominance on the boards.
“You can gain as much from losing as you do from winning if you pay attention, hold them accountable and really take the lessons,” Crean said.
“Any time you lose a game, there's a different sense of urgency.”
Urgency will likely get a boost with the return of senior forward Derek Elston, who has been out all season while recovering from knee surgery. He warmed up before the Butler game but didn't play. Crean said Elston practiced on a limited basis Monday, and might play this week, but it's more likely he'll play either the Dec. 28 game against Jacksonville or against Iowa.
“He's close,” Crean said. “He warmed up the other day. He warmed up hard. I knew we weren't going to be able to play him.”
Don't be surprised if you see more of freshman forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea. He played just three minutes Saturday against Butler in his college debut after coming off a nine-game suspension.
“It's just going to take a little bit of time,” Crean said. “We didn't go in with a set amount of time for him. His minutes will continue to go up. He's going to be a force for our team. He's an energy giver. When he's out there, people can just feel it.”
Energy also comes from freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell, who showed signs against Butler of breaking out of a season-long outside shooting slump. He hit 2 of 4 three-point attempts for 12 points. He entered the game 1-for-10 from three-point range.
“He's an excellent shooter,” Crean said. “He's just getting confident with the college speed of the game.”
Ferrell understands speed. Crean said getting the ball to Ferrell on fast breaks cuts two to three seconds off IU's fast-break time.
“He's got great awareness. He's got something special about him.”
As far as losing the No. 1 ranking, Crean said being No. 1 “was nice, but it never affected the way we practice, and it won't now.”
Radio voice of the Hoosiers Don Fischer asked Crean about the addition of Maryland and Rutgers into the Big Ten.
“It's great because we don't have to look to schedule games in those areas as much. We always want to have an East Coast presence. It's great for our school, our recruiting. It will be very competitive.”
Finally a caller told Crean he was about to get married, and the conversation turned to honeymoon options and whether the bride should be surprised about the destination. Crean's advice –- surprise the bride, and go to the Bahamas for a long trip or French Lick for a local one.
So now you know.