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November 16, 2010

Fran McCaffery

COACH McCAFFERY: I thought tonight defensively that's about as well as we can play. Did a lot of things well. Locked into their key personnel. Did some aggressive things in both halves. One was full court pressure the second half. Then we did a little trapping in the first half.
Our rotations were better. Being up in the passing lane. I mean, we had three steals in the last game. That's unacceptable. Tonight we had 10. We had a lot more deflections. You have to create some offense with the defense, when our offense is struggling a little bit, which it still is.
We had 22 turnovers, still a little bit unsure. Still not executing to perfection. But did some things in both halves that were a little bit different than what we run in terms of motion, so that was good to see. They ran that properly. Executed our out-of-bounds plays and got a lot of productivity from a lot of people, not the least of which was Jordan Stoermer, which was spectacular.
I felt like after last game, we only played eight. We had a little bit of fatigue without Matt. I wanted to make sure I got Stoermer and Archie in to make sure we had a fresh team. I think you saw the effect defensively in the second half in particular, so....
Pretty pleased.

Q. How did you end up finding Jordan or did he find you?
COACH McCAFFERY: He obviously graduated from Kirkwood and wanted to come to Iowa as an engineering student. He's very bright. Always wanted to be a Hawk. You know, I think he kind of decided pretty much on his own. I knew who he was. I knew he was interested.
At some point he was contacted by some other institutions. I think he had some low-level one offers, other people asking him to walk on. At that point in time I spoke to him about making sure he knew that I wanted him on our team.

Q. What's it been like for you to get the fast break? Looked like you were rather frustrated in the first half trying to get them to run. Seemed to do a better job in the second half.
COACH McCAFFERY: You know what, I was more frustrated with our execution at halfcourt. We made some poor decisions on a break. We had some traveling violations again, a little bit of indecision.
We are not executing our halfcourt offense the way it needs to be executed. That's where the frustration came in because, granted, we haven't had a lot of time since the last game, one day, but we did focus on some of those areas yesterday. That was a little bit disappointing that we didn't do a better job.
Again, I think anytime I'm frustrated with our execution... I was not frustrated with our effort. I think as a coach, if you feel like your team is battling, then I can be frustrated with our execution. We can take care of that. If they're not battling, then we got a major problem. But they battled for me. They battled for me in both games.

Q. Still having to think their way through that instead of reacting.
COACH McCAFFERY: Not reacting. Kind of running set patterns with no flexibility at all. Even if you run a set, where is the defense? Are they over playing here, over playing there? What are our looks? Sets have a lot of options, a lot of looks. We're kind of zeroing into one area. A little bit of a bump, a little bit of a deviation defensively, we get out of it, don't finish it.
The only things that's going to take care of that is a little bit of time.

Q. Looks like maybe about five minutes into the second half, the offense and defense became more fluid, moving at the rate you probably would prefer.
COACH McCAFFERY: That and we got some easy baskets. We got some baskets as a result of our defense. We hit some shots.
Again, you look around, we had one guy in doubles and have a 28-point win. Everybody was getting into the flow. I felt we shared the basketball. 17 assists. We probably should be a little higher than that. 17 on 28 is not bad. That 22 number has got to come down. Tough to win with 22 turns.

Q. Pretty big challenge, three games in four days coming up this week against some very good competition. Would you rather have a week more practice or it is what it is and you'll get better?
COACH McCAFFERY: I think at some level you're going to get better playing ballgames. I think our players are excited about the challenge. They know what we're walking into, some really good competition down there. We'll have a day of practice. We'll have some walk-throughs. Another reason why I thought it was important to extend our bench and get Archie and Stoermer some minutes and get them comfortable because I think we're going to need 10 if we're going to play three games in four days.

Q. Gatens' availability for the weekend?
COACH McCAFFERY: I think a good possibility. Two days ago he was really frustrated. He wasn't making the progress he thought he was going to make. In two days, he feels a lot better. I think it's hard for him to sit and watch. He's anxious to get back out there.
So he's got a little more range of motion now, a little bit less discomfort. I think we've got to get something on there and see what he can do. Again, I don't make that decision.

Q. How important is it for you that you don't go down to The Virgin Islands 0-2?
COACH McCAFFERY: You know, what I'm trying to do right now is to bring our basketball team along so we can maximize the talent that we have and play to the best of our ability.
Do I want to be 1-1? No. I want to be 2-0. I don't want to be 0-2. I don't know if that would have had a dramatic impact. We'll go down there and be hungry. We're playing what has been traditionally one of the best teams in the country in Xavier, who will challenge us in every way, with their speed, with their guard play, with a seven-foot center. It's a team that sort of knows and understands how to win. We've got Alabama or Seton Hall, two very good teams again.
I'm looking forward to seeing what our guys can do. I think we'll play better than we've played.

Q. Looked like you were really going hard after Vince, playing tough.
COACH McCAFFERY: I think it's a function of the fact that we just lost a game. We just lost a game that we had a chance to win. That game was in the balance down the stretch. Maybe if we would have gotten a few extra loose balls, recovered on a broken play, we win the game.
I thought their attention to detail at the defensive end, that you can control. Offensively you can control not playing nuts. At the same time you're going to miss shots sometimes. We had a lineup out there at one point in time in the first half, I thought we got some pretty good looks at it, couldn't get it in. But our defense is what won the game for us. That's what has to happen in those situations.

Q. Do you have to catch yourself, take a deep breath and slowing down because maybe your expectations, you're starting over?
COACH McCAFFERY: I think there's no question about that. We talked about that as a staff for a long time after the game the other night. We talked about it yesterday. We talked about it on the bench. A little bit more patience. I want us to be further along. I expect us to be further along. We're just not.
The only thing that's going to take care of that is practice and games, practice to a certain point. But when it's all said and done, you have to be able to execute in games. When defenders are out there, when there's crowd in the building, officials are blowing the whistle, that's when you have to be able to execute.

Q. Is Cully okay? Seemed a little dinged up.
COACH McCAFFERY: He's got a few nicks and bruises. Nothing he can't handle. I didn't see a need to put him back in. Plus I wanted to give Bryce some minutes. The way the game went in the first half, Bryce didn't get as many opportunities, as many minutes as I would have liked. He only played four minutes.

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