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April 3, 2013

McCaffery talks Baylor

After beating Maryland last night, the Iowa Hawkeyes are getting ready to face Baylor in the NIT championship game on Thursday. Today, Hawkeye head coach Fran McCaffery met with the media to talk about the matchup, the impressive play of Devyn Marble this post-season, and much more.


McCaffery NIT Finals1 from HawkeyeReport on Vimeo.



McCaffery NIT Finals2 from HawkeyeReport on Vimeo.


THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Hawkeyes Coach McCaffery. Can you give us a comment about last night's game and the matchup against Baylor.

COACH McCAFFERY: I think the important thing last night was the start we got off to. I thought Roy Devyn Marble was spectacular. I thought Adam Woodbury had a great game defensively against Alex Len. We spread our offense out, which has been consistent with how we've played all year. We had a lot of guys contribute. I was just thrilled with the victory over a phenomenal and incredibly well‑coached Maryland team.

Obviously we recognize the challenge ahead of us with Scott Drew's Baylor club. Pierre Jackson, as good as any guard I've seen on film all year long. They have a lot of other weapons as well. We're just excited for the opportunity to play in the championship game.

THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll open it up for questions from the media.

Q. Coach, can you just talk a little bit more about what Marble has meant to your team and all the things he does for you guys.

COACH McCAFFERY: The impressive thing about Dev is he's got tremendous pace to his game. He's got tremendous size for either guard position. Obviously he starts for us at point. He's almost 6'7". He can get his own shot. He can post up. We move him off the ball. We did that a lot last night at the point.

He's a guy who is a scorer, but he doesn't hunt shots. He's not a volume shooter. He's a very efficient, very unselfish player. I think the rest of our team feeds off his unselfishness.

Q. Fran, you were speaking a little bit earlier about some of the things you've seen with Pierre so far this season. Could you elaborate a little bit further and also to some of the other collection of players that Baylor has on the team.

COACH McCAFFERY: Well, Jackson, he's a guy that you look at, and very rarely do you have someone who averages 20 points and has 250 assists. You don't see those kind of staggering numbers.

You think about him as a guy obviously who is tough in ball screens, scores the ball. He's got a three‑point shooting ability, got a pull‑up game. I think the thing that impresses me the most is how quickly he gets rid of the ball, whether it's in transition, as soon as he recognizes where the help comes from, he loads the guy up.

They've got tremendous length. Jefferson is really a tremendous post player. He's got a versatile game. They've got shooters, they've got drivers, they've got depth. Austin is a guy that presents problems for you with his length. How many 7‑footers go out and make threes? So they got you stretched out. Heslip is a guy that stretches the defense, as well.

Walton, Franklin, they drive the ball. They can get in the lane. They can play fast. They can play controlled if they have to. They play fast, but they don't play nuts. They share the ball.

I think when you prepare for a team like this, and you would expect it when you're playing in a championship of this caliber, that you look for the chinks in the armor, and there's not a lot. They've got so many different weapons that we have to prepare for.

Q. Can you talk about how well your defense has played this year. Looks like the stats are just really good across the board.

COACH McCAFFERY: Well, the defense has been the key to our team this year, without question. Quite honestly, it was the focal point in the off‑season last year because we were really deficient in that area last year.

We won 18 games primarily outscoring people. We were fortunate Matt Gatens had a phenomenal year offensively because we didn't stop people. We felt like if we were going to get better, win more games, be more competitive in our league, to be able to do something like we're doing now, we had to guard people.

I'm most impressed with the fact that we stayed true to that focus.
I think one of the things that's helped is we're substantially deeper, so I'm able to rotate guys, have fresher bodies out there. But it's been a committed effort across the board both in the post, on the perimeter, at the point of attack.

It's been a very enjoyable ride to see these guys really dig down and stay in their stance and guard people, especially with the kind of schedule that we play.

Q. You mentioned the schedule. Y'all had a bunch of tough, close losses. You turned it around and won 11 out of the last 14. How have y'all done that, do you think?

COACH McCAFFERY: Well, the impressive thing with our guys is you look back to those losses, and a good number of those were on the road. The way the schedule broke, we lost at Wisconsin in double overtime, lost at Purdue in overtime, lost at Minnesota. We were up 2 with 12 seconds, Austin shoots a three. We lost at Nebraska, they hit a three. We didn't get the job done on the road, but we had some tough road losses.

What we had to do was bear down and come back and keep believing that, hey, we played well enough to win. So we played well enough to win. If we just do a few more things, then we can win.

We got on a little roll at home and we had a big road win at Penn State. That was a close ballgame. We got a win in the Big Ten tournament. We got some wins here in the NIT.

The thing that I think was indicative of how far we've come was the road win obviously at Virginia, to get a signature win like that, come into Madison Square Garden, beat a good Maryland team, shows you how far we've come.

Q. I'm sure you saw what happened at Rutgers the last couple days. I wanted to ask you, have you ever heard of other coaches who use that style, not necessarily to name anybody, but is that something you've known other coaches do? Is that maybe more widespread than we think it is?

COACH McCAFFERY: There are different ways to do it. There are different coaching styles. I haven't seen that one, to be honest with you.

Q. That's not something that's whispered around that somebody is particularly abusive, only can motivate his guys by yelling at them?

COACH McCAFFERY: I think there's a lot of guys that yell and believe that's the way to do it. I yell, but I'm not a big yeller. I don't yell all the time. I prefer to speak most of the time as I'm speaking to you. My job is to teach and to coach.

Occasionally through a long season you got to motivate, you got to get into somebody. You got a guy that's losing concentration, you got a guy who is maybe not giving you effort. I challenge effort and concentration.

You recruit the right guys, typically they'll give you everything they've got. I don't expect perfection, it's not a game of perfect. I don't expect that, but I expect full effort.

In terms of some of the stuff you're referring to, I think that's a little different. That would be difficult to take, I think.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you. Good luck tomorrow night.

COACH McCAFFERY: Thank you.


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