November 26, 2012
McCaffery talks Virginia Tech
The Hawkeyes are hitting the road for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday night when they travel to Virginia Tech. This will be the first true road test for a young Iowa team and Fran McCaffery previews the upcoming contest.
Q: Talk about Virginia Tech and what you have seen from them?
McCAFFERY: I have been real impressed with Virginia Tech. They are a terrific shooting team. They have a number of different guys that can make shots. Erick Green is as good as any guard that I have watched on film in a long time. He really understands how to play. He makes shots and makes plays. He really understands the pace of the game and when to push it and when not to. He makes plays defensively and has control and command of the game. Obviously he is a big key defensively for us and he has some help. They have some size and athletic ability and I really like their team.
Q: In the last couple of days when you talked to Mike Gesell about his performance in Cancun, what were the things you stressed as far as positives and negatives heading into his first true road game.
McCAFFERY: I didn't really say anything specific to him other than what we normally would do. We broke down the film and make teaching points for everybody. I don't treat him differently than anyone else. He was great against Western Kentucky and then obviously he didn't play as well because he got in foul trouble against Wichita State and I think impacted him. He has a really good mindset and practiced well.
Q: Can you talk about your shooting the past few games. Are you comfortable with the shot selection?
McCAFFERY: Yeah, our shot selection is fine. I would like to make more shots, but our shot selection is fine. We are taking good shots.
Q: With regard to Pat Ingram, you gave him some significant playing time in the first half on Wednesday. What did you take away from his performance?
McCAFFERY: He is getting better and he is practicing better. It started probably about ten days before that game. The difficult thing was he was the fifth guy and you are trying to get minutes for everyone. I felt like he had made up the ground to deserve a shot. I put him in and he played well. He made a few mistakes, but the thing about him is he is able to recover with his athletic ability. I think he is at a different confidence level now and I would expect him to play on Tuesday night.
Q: Can you talk about Erick Green and Jarell Eddie from Virginia Tech and how they complement each other on the court. Also how has Sherman Dillard added to your coaching staff?
McCAFFERY: Green and Eddie are terrific players. They are both multi dimensional starting with the fact that they both make shots. They are both good athletes, they are long, and they can both handle the ball and make plays for each other and their teammates. They can create a lot of problems for teams that are try to scheme to guard them because they have other people that can play as well.
In regard to Sherman, we are thrilled to have him on our staff. I was interested in him when he was working for Nike and he had gotten out of coaching. I was excited to talk to him about coaching here. He has done an unbelievable job recruiting and coaching. He has been great in the community representing the University of Iowa.
Q: What did you learn about your team in the Wichita State game?
McCAFFERY: We needed to play better at the end of the game. We weren't horrible, but we didn't do the things we needed to do in crunch time. But, we were close. We competed defensively, which is a big step for us from where we were last year. We have to close game out. They closed it out and we didn't. That is really what it came down to.
Q: Playing a good team like that in that type of environment, how much does that help you going into the next part of your schedule when you play teams like Virginia Tech, Iowa State, and UNI?
McCAFFERY: I think it is important. There are a couple of ways you can go about scheduling. What we have tried to do is challenge ourselves in tournament settings and then of course we have the ACC Challenge, the in-state games, and then the Big Ten schedule. Then we have other games in there. If you look at the landscape of college basketball right now, Gardner-Webb loses at the buzzer to Illinois and we were down 20 to them. Bryant beats Boston College and every time you pick up the paper, Cal-Poly beats UCLA. You are challenged every time you take the court. Wichita State, physically, is a Big Ten team. They are a physical team with big strong front court guys and strong wings and powerful guards that really get after the ball. There is just no substitute for those types of games as you get ready for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and Big Ten play.
Q: Virginia Tech likes to play up tempo and shoot early in the shot clock. What kind of pace are you comfortable with your team this year?
McCAFFERY: We like to play fast as well. I think you are talking about both teams that like to push it and attack and not afraid to shoot it quick.
Q: How do you feel about your defense going into this game?
McCAFFERY: Well, it better be good against this team. It is better than it was last year. Last year it was not good at all. It was one of our greatest weaknesses. It's been better this year and again this is a team that will challenge our defense.
Q: This will be your first true road test. What do you want to see out of our team?
McCAFFERY: Anytime you go on the road, you want to see a team that is focused on the game plan, defends, competes, and does what we want to do on offense in terms of shot selection, pushing the ball, and kind of plays our game. We don't want to get caught up in the environment.
Q: Zach McCabe has been up and down this year. What do you want out of him to be more consistent?
McCAFFERY: I think on the defensive end he is fine. He got into foul trouble in one game and that hurt him and took him out of the game. I think in the other games he has been fine. In some games he shoots it better than others and he is more of a factor when you look back on it, but I think he's been fine.
Q: How have your guys responded in practices over the weekend?
McCAFFERY: They have been good. We had to take two days off that week, so we came back on Friday and they spent the day in Cancun on Thursday. We did not practice on Friday and we went hard on Saturday and hard on Sunday. I thought they responded well.
Q: How different is your prep this week with a true road game as opposed to playing on a neutral court?
McCAFFERY: It's no different.
Q: With regard to tomorrow's game, how important is getting a win when you look at Iowa's history in this event and the last win was in 2005.
McCAFFERY: I don't look at history there. I look at it as a challenge for our team. We are a very young team and it is a challenge for our younger guys. We are just trying to get better and play well.
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