Comments from Indiana coach Tom Crean about Georgia Tech before the teams’ NIT matchup at 9 p.m. Tuesday at McCamish Pavilion:
“Georgia Tech has had an outstanding year. As most people know, Brian Gregory and I have a long lasting friendship, but I also have a strong friendship with Josh Pastner and Julian Swartz. As impressive as this season has been, I am even more respectful and thankful as a coach that Josh has credited Brian for the foundation he laid with the program. Josh has always been wiser than his years and now he is not just an outstanding young coach but an outstanding coach.”
Crean worked with Gregory as assistants at Michigan State for one season, in 1995-96. Having rebuilt Indiana after his hire in 2008, Crean served as a sounding board for Gregory after he was hired at Tech in 2011. Swartz, Tech’s director of operations, was with Crean for four seasons, three as a graduate assistant at Marquette (2005-08) and then one as an intern at Indiana (2008).
“Georgia Tech has gotten better all year long. Their defense is outstanding in the way they switch defenses and put pressure on passing lanes and force you into tough spots.”
Tech will be the second highest-rated defense by KenPom that Indiana has played this season. The Yellow Jackets rank seventh in adjusted defensive efficiency. On New Year’s Eve, Indiana played Louisville, No. 6 in defense by KenPom, and lost 75-68.
“Offensively, their off-ball cutting is a real weapon and we have to do a great job in being in a stance on and off the ball as well as handling rebounding.”
Perhaps what that Tech does best offensively is keep the ball moving and move off the ball to create layups. It’s why the Jackets are ranked 19th in assists per made field goal. Those made field goals don’t occur with great frequency, though. Tech is 309th in effective field-goal percentage. Indiana was fairly vulnerable on defense, ranking last in the Big Ten in adjusted defense in conference games.