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Edgy Indiana prefers deeds to words

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Tipoff: Florida Atlantic at Indiana, 7 p.m. tonight
RADIO: 1250-AM
TV: ESPN2

Online: For more on Indiana athletics, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at pdiprimio.

Florida Atlantic comes to Assembly Hall

Friday, December 21, 2012 - 4:09 am

BLOOMINGTON -– Indiana's Will Sheehey spoke fast and short, as if each word cost him money, as if each second kept him away from a good meal.

“Not fun,” he said when asked about how tough recent practices were in the wake of the Butler loss.

The junior swingman was asked to elaborate and he responded with the kind of enthusiasm normally exhibited by those set to have their wisdom teeth pulled out by pliers.

“We keep practice within ourselves,” he said, “but I think we showed (in Wednesday night's 93-54 win over Mount St. Mary's) how hard we practiced the past couple of days.”

Defeats have a way of spoiling the mood, and not even a 41-point blowout of the latest Assembly Hall patsy can ease the disappointment for the formerly top-ranked and unbeaten Hoosiers.

They have improvement to make and goals to achieve and it won't come by making too much about steam rolling over-matched opponents.

Coach Tom Crean, who normally fills tape recorders with insight, also was a man of few words.

Take, for instance, the fact freshman forward Jeremy Hollowell didn't play on Wednesday.

“We had a multitude of things we dealt with,” Crean said. “We played the guys who were there to play for us and who could help us.”

As for freshman forward Peter Jurkin, who also didn't play, Crean said, “I just went with the guys that I played. That's who I went with.”

In other words, illness, injury, poor performance and academic difficulties (IU just wrapped up its first semester) are all on the table.

As for how guard Maurice Creek hurt his foot (he's sidelined indefinitely), Crean said, “He got injured in practice. So it is just one of those things.”

Crean was asked to assess where the No. 6 Hoosiers (10-1) were after 11 games.

“I love these guys, I know that,” he said. “Where we're at after 11 games, I don't think like that.”

Crean does think about rebounding. That took on extra urgency after Butler controlled the boards. Urgency resulted in a 41-18 rebound edge over Mount St. Mary's.

“We needed to fix some technique things and we did a better job of that,” Crean said. “It was really about making the first contact. Moving our feet on block outs is really important. We were much better in a lot of areas, especially on free throw rebounding.

“You can constantly improve, but there are some things you say, we've got to get better right now.”

Improvement is targeted tonight toward Florida Atlantic, which is 5-6 overall, 1-4 on the road.

The Owls have struggled. Nobody on the 14-player roster has more assists than turnovers. They have 110 assists and 180 turnovers for the season.

Guard Greg Gantt is the top scorer, at 21.5 points along with 5.8 rebounds. Guard Stefan Moody averages 15.0 points.

Assistant coach Peter Gash was a graduate assistant at IU under Crean.

The head coach is veteran Mike Jarvis, who has won 402 games over a 24-year career. He's one of eight coaches to win at least 100 games at three different schools: Boston University (101-51), George Washington (152-90) and St. John's (110-61). He is 57-78 in five years at Florida Atlantic.

“They can really score,” Crean said. “They move the ball well and they run a ton of screening actions. They utilize them well, whether they are curling or clearing out to look for a drive or using the three-point line.

“Any Mike Jarvis team is going to be a well-coached, disciplined team. My last time coaching against Mike was when I was at Marquette and he was at St. John's. I've been a Mike Jarvis fan and, more importantly, a friend, for a very long time.”