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February 27, 2014

Tom Crean

IOWA – 86

COACH CREAN:  We beat a really good team tonight, no doubt about that.  Great respect for Iowa.  Really proud of our players and the way they kept taking punches and responding to it.  From the beginning of the game, to the second half, it was a game of runs, and we were right in the middle of it.  I thought our response, our intent, our resiliency was excellent.
They're getting better all the time.  They're trying to grow and improve constantly, and that's exactly what we're doing, and it showed that way tonight.  Great coaching effort by our staff, Steve McClain was the key on this scout and gave it to these guys in very quick doses, especially with the quick turnaround from Wisconsin.  And I thought our guys did a great job of maintaining what was important from last week and applying it over the last, somewhat, hours to get ready for this game.  It would have been very easy a couple times to let them get on runs and not respond, and our guys didn't do that.
So we knew that it was going to be a game where depth was going to be key because of how good Iowa's depth is.  We really felt it was going to be a very important night for guys like Stanford, Robinson, Evan Gordon, and Hollowell, and lo and behold, they did it.  We felt like Devin could do more, and we tried to move him around a little bit in the last day, day and a half to help him.  He did a good job, made some big plays for us.  And certainly our starters, led by Yogi's floor game tonight and Will's performance, just fantastic.  What an unbelievably ironic thing to have his career high on the night he gets honored for his thousandth point.  Really, I thought he was going for 2000 tonight considering he's been a thousand it's been a few weeks ago.
Really proud of them.  And last, not least, his energy was fantastic, and we're going to need every bit of that on Sunday to play Ohio State.

Q.  Basically you knew they were going to want to run.  You guys haven't played nearly that fast in a while.  What made you decide to say the heck with it, let's run?
COACH CREAN:  It wasn't wrong, was it?

Q.  No.
COACH CREAN:  No, it was good.  We want to run.  We absolutely want to run.  Sometimes we have to watch our decision making, and I think that curbs a bit.  Sometimes, obviously, there are teams in this league that really have no interest in having any type of pace and they do a good job of getting back.  What Iowa does, Iowa just keeps improving in so many areas and that break is just incredible, because, really, everybody can score, whether they can get to the rim, whether they can shoot a three.  Devyn Marble has become such a very good catch‑and‑shoot shooter.
The good news for us in the first half, and we had to make some real adjustments in the second half defensively, and we played very small, and we did a lot of ball out switching, as I'm sure most of you saw.  There were times we were just switching everything, and we had three guards in, which we used to do that in the past couple years, but that was not anything we've really tried to spend a lot of time on this year.  But it just had to happen.
So we've got Yogi and Evan and Stan fighting Basabe and White and Woodbury and Olaseni down in the paint, and they took the punches.  They just kept going.  That's why that's such a good analogy for this.  They just kept, kept playing.
Bottom line is, when we get an opportunity to run, we think we're pretty good at that too, and the program, we've always tried to be built on that.  But the one thing we needed to make the most improvement on from Tuesday night to tonight was our offensive spacing.  I think for the most part we did that.

Q.  I guess do you feel like Will's had a real sense of urgency of late?  It just seems that he's just kind of picked up.
COACH CREAN:  I think, no, he plays so hard.  If I said yes to that, that could infer that he doesn't go all out every game, and that is certainly not the case.
No, I wouldn't say that.  I would say that he's playing like the Will Sheehey that everybody has come to know, love and respect over the past couple years, and not worry about other things.  I don't mean worry about next year.  He's not like that at all.  Just guard the play.  We need his leadership.  We need his courage.  We need Will to be Will, and everybody in here that covers us knows what that means, and that's exactly what he's doing.
I think his teammates respond.  I didn't know he had 30, and he was on TV, and I come back in and the players are going crazy for him and are so excited.  I hear him giving Yogi credit for the passing and Evan.  He's a great teammate.  It's never been easy.  All his friends that he's come up with are here and gone, and we have huge leadership expectations for him because he's capable, and I think he's embracing those right now.

Q.  Just kind of back to the pace.  How encouraging was it to see someone that comfortable playing that fast?  In other words, turnovers and things in general, they looked very at home.
COACH CREAN:  Yeah, I think that's what we try to be.  Certainly when we can get out and run and play fast like that, we've done it before.  I mean, sometimes it's not us.  Sometimes it's just the fact that people are back.  I mean, sometimes it is us with our decision making, obviously, and we all know that.  But sometimes teams just want to take the air out of it or we haven't defended well enough.
It's very hard to play fast like Iowa did and then come back and slow it down on defense.  That's one of the reasons they're good.  They can play fast because they play so many people.  They can get after you on both ends of the floor.  They put pressure on the rim and they put pressure on you.  They have great length.  My goodness.  You know it.  But then when you get into the game you really see it.  You see it on film, and it doesn't do justice to what it is when those guys are in there.
But it was good for us.  That's what the program has been built on.  There's never a time that anybody in here is trying to play a deliberate style of basketball.  We're not trying to play at a slower pace.  We just want to make good decisions.  Sometimes with this youth we've had to slow it down at times to get those decisions to improve so that we have good possessions.

Q.  How was it for Will to be honored for the thousand, hit a career high for 30 and help you guys win?
COACH CREAN:  I think it's great, I think it's fantastic.  Everybody's happy for Will.  I don't think there is any question that it's a big deal.

Q.  Was there anything you saw whether it was on film or when you got into the game that showed that Will would be able to beat his guy down the floor, that his back would be open?
COACH CREAN:  No, Will's had success against Iowa in the past.  We didn't spend a lot of time on the court.  A little bit of time on the court last night, but we spent more time in the film room, and truly it was more about us than it was just about Iowa.  Some of that you take a chance and you know you had the preparation last week and we got into more of it today and a little bit yesterday.
But bottom line is we needed to improve.  We needed to improve our spacing.  We needed to improve our commitment to that spacing.  We needed to improve our cutting.  We needed to improve playing without the ball.  We needed to improve our break.  There is still room for improvement, but it was considerably better today than it was on Tuesday night.  Not just because Wisconsin gets back.  Maybe they don't send as many to the glass, so they're back a little bit more.  But we were way better.
We had way too much game slippage offensively with our spacing and our cutting the other night, and it carried over into the defensive end.  We got a little stale and stagnant when it came to getting over screens, should we switch, should we not?  There were times tonight we just switched everything.  And actually, if we can do that with a three‑guard lineup, which we haven't really done in the past this year, that's a big deal.
You know, we saw some fight and some guys fighting that low post that's been coming, but now they've really proven it in the game that that will really help.

Q.  You played very fast tonight.  How will these next few days be?  Will you take it easy on him or just go hard?
COACH CREAN:  You're pacing your team all the time in practice, and the bottom line is we started some of that, well, we started it earlier.  You know, I think when you have‑‑ the young guys think everything is the longest thing they've ever dealt with in their life, and they're probably right.  But the bottom line is we've cut back.  We do have as young a team as we have right now.  In the past, as a younger coach, I wouldn't have cut back as much, but this year I have considerably because you have to watch the walls so much.  They come.  They come when you least expect it.
But we've been at a pace, and since last week when we knew the game was going to move in potentially to tonight, we started it even a little bit more, so we're right on pace with where we need to be.

Q.  Kind of going back to that switching, I think there was an 8‑and‑a‑half‑minute stretch where they didn't make a field goal there in the second half?
COACH CREAN:  We were good there.  We were good in it.  There was no question about that.  Now, they missed some shots and I'm sure Fran can look at it and say they probably missed some shots.  I'd have to go back and watch the film.  But our numbers were good in that, no question.

Q.  What did it mean for Evan to have a good night?
COACH CREAN:  It's great.  He's been working really hard.  His intensity level in that fast pace, and they were on to something too because he didn't practice the day before the Michigan game and had a great game.  Well, he has night classes with the graduate school classes we didn't have him yesterday.  So he came in and worked out with Tim Buckley, but we didn't have him in the film session or the practice.  I mean, we've got to keep letting him have off days.  It was like an off day for him.  But he did a great job.
We knew we were going to need, I thought, those three to come off the bench and play really well, and they went above and beyond that tonight, and hopefully we can build on that.

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