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Coach Q&A: Mike Woodson reacts to Indiana basketball’s close win against Army



Indiana Basketball
Mike Woodson spoke to the media following Indiana's close victory against Army.

Indiana basketball head coach Mike Woodson spoke to reporters following IU’s close win against Army on Sunday.

Woodson discussed the small lineup, the lack of ball movement, Mackenzie Mgbako and much more.

Below is the full video Q&A and transcript.

Q. It’s the second game in a row we’ve seen you go to that smaller line-up kind of in crunch time. What about it works, and maybe what about it do you need to expand, whether it’s more personnel you can fit in there or more that that line-up can do as the season goes forward?

MIKE WOODSON: I’m going to play guys that want to play and play the right way. The last two games that small line-up coming down the stretch was pretty good for us.

I don’t know if we’ll live with it the rest of the season, but if they keep making plays down the stretch, I think it will be okay for us.

Q. Obviously it’s just the second game of the season, but what do you want the offense to look like? There were times it obviously looked listless at times. What’s it supposed to look like?

MIKE WOODSON: Well, more ball movement, more pick and rolls. I mean, we played well I think enough to where we got enough in the paint. We got 36 points in the paint. That’s pretty good for us.

We haven’t shot the three ball very well, and we’re not getting very many fast break points, which we had in our first couple of exhibition games. We were out running, and that’s where we’ve got to get to, but when you are taking the ball out of the net and happen to walk it down and not getting stops because I thought there were times we just didn’t switch correctly, didn’t switch up, and they were shooting three-point shots right in our face, and they made them.

It’s a part of the game, but I thought for the most part we played pretty good basketball. Defensively we scored 64 points. That’s kind of in the neighborhood of where we want to be per game, but we’ve got to get better.

Q. In terms of Mackenzie, he only played a couple of minutes in the second half. What do you want to see more from him to get him those minutes down the stretch? I know you were talking about that earlier.

MIKE WOODSON: I want to see more from Mackenzie, more from Kaleb, more from CJ. I want to see more when they’re in the game. If I don’t feel like they’re giving it to me, I’ve got to go somewhere else and get it.

Q. You shot a good percentage tonight, but only 43 field goals overall — or field goal attempts overall. It seemed like the ball was sticking a little bit. What do you do to try to get the ball moving?

MIKE WOODSON: We have to move it. We have to trust each other. We catch the ball, and the first thing we think about is putting the ball down on the floor, making a play for myself.

This is a team game, a team sport. So we have to trust each other, and that’s my job so get them to trust.

Q. Following up on Mackenzie, I guess what is he not doing to get those minutes, and what does he need to improve on to kind of contribute more to this team?

MIKE WOODSON: Well, he has to play harder and do the things that we want done on both ends of the floor. That might keep him in the game.

Q. When you’re going with your bigger line-ups, do you feel like that is a group that can learn how to defend the perimeter over the course of the season, and what with them would you say is a challenge right now?

MIKE WOODSON: I think Malik has done an adequate job in defending on the perimeter. I just don’t like putting Malik and Ware in pick and roll situations where the guy knocks the ball handler off, and now they’re stuck with having to guard the ball, and it’s not fair to them. So a lot of that is on the guy that’s on the ball.

I mean, we have to get better in pick and roll coverage and getting over the ball screen and guarding — taking on guarding your own guy. I thought last season we were good in that neighborhood, but right now we still have a ways to go.

Q. It seems like with Kel’el he really likes to get going in the second half, but is there something that you can do offensively to maybe get him in the rhythm more or earlier in the game?

MIKE WOODSON: It’s just not Kel’el in the first half. That whole unit has stunk the last two games in the first half.

When you put a starting five out on the floor, you expect them to get you off to a great start, and we haven’t done that the last two games. I have to figure that out.

Q. Just how do you emphasize getting out and running more? I know after one of the exhibitions you said that’s how you feel like the game should be played, so how do you make sure when you guys are out there, you’re playing that way?

MIKE WOODSON: The game is like this: If you get stops and you rebound the ball, you have an opportunity to get out and fast break and make plays. If you get in passing lanes and you get easy steals where you can generate offense that way, it’s a quick way to get out and play faster.

Right now we’re not doing none of those things. We’re not getting stops. We’re not getting the ball out and getting up the floor and playing faster.

So those are things that we can build on. We can continue to work at, but we can’t just live in the half court game this season. I mean, I want to play faster, and I got to get us to doing that because we’re not doing it yet.

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Drew Rosenberg is staff writer for and hosts 'The Talkin' Bout the Hoosiers Podcast' covering Indiana University athletics. Drew graduated from Indiana University's Sports Media program in 2024.