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March 15, 2019

Fran McCaffery

United Center - Chicago, Illinois

Michigan - 74, Iowa - 53

Q. Coach, went 1 for 16 from three-point range. How much of this loss was from not being able to hit those?
FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, you know, I think it clearly affected a lot of things for us. You know, you've got to give some credit to our opponent for that. But typically we're not going to be a team that goes 1 for 16.

It changes the momentum shifts in the game. We started outgoing inside. We had some success, trading baskets. Then we start missing some jumpers. They get a lead. They're really good with a lead. We all know that.

Now they're really settled down. They're settled in offensively, and you've got guys that are low-percentage three-point shooters making threes. Now, the good players were making threes, the good shooters I should say -- they're all good players, but the good shooters were making threes. We stopped short on the first two, Iggy and Poole, can't do that. So that's two mistakes on us.

But I thought we fought for a good portion of that stretch. But once they got a lead, they really execute well. They get up into your space and make it hard for you, and it seemed like -- going back to your original question, seemed like no matter what we did, we couldn't get a three to fall. So at least we kept taking the ball to the basket. We got into the bonus early in the second half. We got into the double bonus, gave us a chance to get back in, but they kept scoring.

Q. Does Simpson get enough credit for what does for them?
FRAN McCAFFERY: I would think so. He's an all-league player. I think if you watch their games on TV, he gets a lot of respect from the announcers. At the end of the day, they have 27 wins, and he's a guy who engineers victory. That's what he does. Some games he gets 20, some games he gets six. But he's always going to be up there with assists and steals. He gets people involved. He seems to be able to make plays at critical points in the game when they really need it, plays with an air of confidence that you need from that position.

You know, I certainly have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I think he's one of the best players in the country. Happens to be -- well, he's one of the best point guards in the country, but I'd say he's one of the best players in the country.

Q. How difficult is it to game plan against a team like Michigan that doesn't have a primary scorer to balance them and that can hurt you from so many areas?
FRAN McCAFFERY: You know, it's always tough. I've coached against John a lot. His offense has a lot of counters. They use different people in different spots, and so that makes it challenging in terms of how you're going to play back-pick action, how you're going to play ball-screen action. Where are the high-percentage three-point shooters, where are the drivers. Does he have a big lineup, does he have a small lineup on the floor. So he's getting a lot of productivity from a lot of different people.

Ultimately as a coach, that's what you want because it makes it very difficult for a team to prepare for you.

Q. Wieskamp and Bohannon only had seven shots between them. Is that more than not getting into a rhythm or more of your focus of trying to work the ball inside?
FRAN McCAFFERY: A little bit of both. We really wanted to get the ball inside. I thought we wanted to establish Cook and Garza early, which we did. They really pushed up on Bohannon like a lot of teams do.

I thought Joe, he drove it, I thought he was active. I thought his activity was really good. They both have the green light, so it wasn't anything we went away from. We want those two guys to shoot.

Q. Last week you stated winning 10 games in this conference is a big deal and a big thing. Can you elaborate on that, winning 10 games in probably the best conference in America, and how is that going to help you going forward in the tournament, NCAAs?
FRAN McCAFFERY: You know, I think all of us kind of realized that this was going to be a special year for our league in many ways, and it is such a grind when you're playing 20 games, and there's no relief. No matter who you play, at home or on the road, everybody has really good players, great players, and a really good coach.

If you win 10, and we won one yesterday, so that's great, it tells you what you're capable of doing because you have to have a certain toughness about you and a certain consistency about you, because I think that's the hardest thing to consistently win in this league, but every night is so tough. It's a big stage every night in terms of preparation. It's a different kind of prep. Tom Izzo plays different than Steve Pikiell than Pat Chambers, you go right on down the line, Illinois plays completely differently, and then you're guarding John Beilein's stuff, and you just go right on down the line.

I think at the end of the day, that's the fun of it, too, it's the challenge of it, and it does prepare you as a program for the NCAA Tournament because when you get there, you don't know who you're going to play and what style they have, but chances are you have played somebody like that in our league.

Q. How do you feel about your team and your guys going into the NCAA Tournament next weekend?
FRAN McCAFFERY: I feel really good in the sense that we're healthy. We got through a long, difficult season and through a conference tournament healthy, so I think that's good. I think we had some players develop and get some seasoning. Some of our younger guys have continued to produce. Our key personnel, I think, are in a good place, and we're looking forward to the opportunity to play maybe the greatest spectacle in college sports.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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