That one felt good
On confidence to win the game…
"We have been close several times. Not a lot, but several. We would play teams fairly even but we would get behind by 10 or 15 points to start the game and come back at the end or whatever. I think the big key is getting off to a good start. I do think they have a little confidence. I think Saturday's game was huge for them. When you lose like nine in a row, guys were down, and I think that game Saturday really helped them come up."
On team growth…
"What we were as team, when South Carolina went to the zone, we didn't just settle for passing the ball around the perimeter. We got the ball in the paint and made some plays. Guys like K.J. moved to the open spot and Terrence found them. Ryan got some shots. If you go back to the Mississippi State game where we just played catch on the perimeter, and that is all we did, you see improvement and Terrence did certainly. I thought Tramaine did too and then Jimmy comes in and gives us five minutes. He's a guy that probably knows what the other team does better than the other team because he's on the scout team. He was out there directing traffic."
"Everybody cares about records," [Frank] Martin said. "Listen, when you’re playing nothing but freshmen, you’ve got no chance to win. It’s not about the record. It’s how the kids are playing, and they’re playing their tails off at the time of year where a lot of people start throwing in the towel.
"That’s called coaching. That’s Kim Anderson’s personality. It’s starting to come through on these kids."
"Three weeks ago we would have lost that game maybe by 10 points," Anderson said.
Even more impressive, the Tigers held off Martin’s team with leading scorer Kevin Puryear mostly a nonfactor, stuck on the bench with his fifth foul and only two points.
"It just felt like we expected to win and we knew we were going to win," said Rosburg, who overcame a shaky start at the foul line and made six of eight free throws in the final five minutes. "When we went down there was no panic in our eyes like maybe in past times. We just knew we had to make a big play."
After starting 2-8 from the stripe, Rosburg made six of his final nine attempts...the final one coming when South Carolina intentionally fouled him prior to an inbounds pass with 25 seconds to play.
"I didn’t even know you could do that," Rosburg said. "I felt like DeAndre Jordan."
His coach knew they could do it. And while he considered sitting Rosburg for the closing possessions because of that, Anderson chose to trust his lone senior.
"I thought about it but you know what? I’m riding the horse," Anderson said.
"Year two is the hardest," says Tom Crean, the Indiana basketball coach. "I’d heard that before. But year two is really, really the hardest." [...]
Crean took the Indiana job eight years ago, inheriting a depleted roster, widespread behavior and academic problems, and sanctions from the previous coach. All of that could be said of Anderson. Crean is the closest model. Anderson has gone 19-39. Crean went 16-46 in his first two years, reconstructing the roster through suspensions and dismissals.
This year Indiana just won its 20th game and is in a strong position to make its fourth NCAA Tournament in five years. The building is full. Three Hoosiers have been drafted in the first round in the last three years. Pride is back. Those first two years, painful as they were, are now the setup to a success story. That can still be Missouri’s story with Anderson.
The Crean comparison is a pretty good one. We might have to look into this further at some point, but with even less experience than what Anderson has dealt with, IU went 6-25 with a No. 209 Pomeroy ranking in 2008-09, then went 10-21 and ranked 198th in the second year. There was clear progress on paper in year three (No. 81), only without the wins (12-20), and then in year four things took off (27-9, No. 10).
Crean had obviously proven more than Anderson at the Division I level before he took the Indiana job, but one hopes that's a path we can talk more and more about moving forward. Regardless, yesterday was actually happy in Mizzou Land. We need more of that.
Man, #MizzouTwitter is happy tonight, I’m getting a ridiculous amount of Fav’s and RT’s. Enjoy this y’all.— Sam Snelling (@SamSnellingRMN) February 17, 2016