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March 14, 2013

Mike Gesell

Devyn Roy Marble

Eric May

Fran McCaffery


Iowa – 79
Northwestern – 53

THE MODERATOR:  We'll go ahead and get started with an opening statement from coach.
 I thought to want our defensive intensity at the start of the game was absolutely critical.  I think it really got us going.  They didn't score for awhile.  We got great play from a lot of different people which is really typical of our team.  Great to have Mike back in the layup.  We knew they were going to come back.  Bill Carmody coached teams come back.  They're going to keep coming, executing, keep making it hard for us.  And we had to fight to the very end.  We executed pretty well against the 2‑3.  Missed some shots, but execution‑wise it was very good.  I'm truly proud of my guys.
THE MODERATOR:  Take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  How does feel to get back playing in a game.
MIKE GESELL:  It felt great.  It's tough having to sit out and watch the guys, but at the same time I was just trying to do what was best for the team.  And when I was out, I was just cheering the guys on and it felt great to be able to come in and play some minutes and make some contributions to the team.

Q.  Mike, from the beginning of the season just out of high school, freshman year, does it feel like it kind of slowed down for you at this point or has it made any difference since early in the season?
MIKE GESELL:  I would say it has.  One of the differences was the physicality and the speed of the game when I made the jump.  The coaches do a great job of preparing us and battling against my teammates every day in practice.  It's just helped out a lot.  It's expanded my game a lot.

Q.  Eric, kind of talk a little bit about some offensive rebounds you had in the second half.  It really seemed to keep possessions alive and then of course your dunk in the first half.  Describe what you were feeling.
ERIC MAY:  I got to give credit for the way he opened that right up, and he would be mad if I didn't give him a shout out.  So he gets the assist on that.  But in the second half it was offensive rebounds, those are huge.  Key to the season with us is to keep the clock turning and at that point running the clock was on our side.  So, doing that was big time.  That's what I tried to get after.

Q.  Question for the three of you.  Each of you made a pretty big three down the stretch every time Northwestern would get close.  Talk about how that kind of kept you ahead, a distance ahead that you would ascribe to the 3‑point ball.
ROY DEVYN MARBLE:  There was some big shots for us three.  Can't really remember the play, but, yeah, we made some big shots.  All of us were struggling to get the ball in the hole midway in the second half.  We all were able to come up and knock down some shots.  So that was good.  I thought that we could have made about five or six more free throws out of those 32, but at the end of the day I was proud of our performance and now we got to get ready for the next one.
ERIC MAY:  Northwestern's tough.  They don't go away, like coach said.  They're always in the game.  They can shoot the ball so well.  Those threes kind of answered their call, that was huge for us to keep that lead and keep that distance from those guys.  Because they're dangerous when it gets down like that.
MIKE GESELL:  I would say in some of our close losses this year down the stretch, we just weren't playing as confidently as we should.  Even though each of us had missed a few shots, we shot it with confidence and that's what you got to do down the stretch.  You got to play to win.  You can't play not to lose.  And those are the shots that you got to take when you're open and we were able to knock them down.

Q.  You didn't get to play against Michigan State the first time.  You're a Michigan guy are you looking forward to tomorrow's game?
ROY DEVYN MARBLE:  It's another opportunity for us to get a big win.  I'm not in that phase any more of having to go against home teams.  That was probably cool the first time around as a freshman, but now I'm older and more mature, and I understand what's really at stake.  So I'm just looking at it as another opportunity to get a key win.

Q.  For the upperclassmen, there are a lot of people who are Iowa fans who are saying tomorrow night's game is the biggest Iowa game in a long time.  How do you players view it?
ERIC MAY:  I'm glad people are getting excited about this.  They should be.  I think we're giving them reason to be.  It is a ‑‑ every game this season has been a big game.  Especially in the Big‑10.  So for us to be in this position, it would really be‑‑ for people to be excited and just how much things have changed is really encouraging.  It shows what we have been doing and the work we have been putting in and the results we're getting from that work.
ROY DEVYN MARBLE:  I think it's a big game just because it's the next one.  But I think, like Eric said, we have come out and had a pretty decent, good season.  But giving people reason to be excited about forthcoming games, and all we have to do is go out there and not disappoint.

Q.  (No microphone.)
MIKE GESELL:  Just to come to an atmosphere like this, it's a little bit quiet in there just because it's such a big arena.  So you got to continue to keep up the intensity and I think we did a good job for our first game out there of taking care of business.  We just got to stay focused and take one game at a time.
ERIC MAY:  I don't think we get too caught up in all that.  At any point in the season if you're a bubble team, you go and win your conference tournament.  We're coming in here to win a tournament, win a championship.  The rest will take care of itself the post season play.
ROY DEVYN MARBLE:  I think that whatever a lot of people are thinking, we're just here to win a championship and that's been the goal and the task at hand.  And tomorrow's just another chance and opportunity to keep going towards that goal.  Today was a stepping stone, we took care of business and now it's on to the next.

Q.  Mike, how did it feel to be back out there with your teammates playing?  And also wonder if any of you others could comment on that also.
MIKE GESELL:  It felt great.  Every time I get to go out there and compete with these guys, it's a lot of fun.  I love all my teammates and they're fun to play with.  We have a very unselfish group and the older guys have done a great job of helping me through this season, through the ups and downs of being a freshman.  It's been a fun season so far and I'm just looking to keep it going with these guys.
ERIC MAY:  It's great.  Mike's a great player.  He makes solid plays and he's another killer from 3‑point range.  He can knock down shots.  It's just huge.  He brings energy.  So we're really glad to have him back and really going at this full force.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.  You can head back to the locker room.  Take questions for coach.

Q.  Fran, 48‑31 on the boards and a lot of second chance opportunities.  Were you pleased with the way you rebounded in this game?
FRAN McCAFFERY:  I was.  But in reality I think you got to look at what Bill was doing.  He was putting a team on the floor that was going to be hard to guard.  He had four guards out there a good portion of the second half and he was driving a little bit more.  They were into the bonuses, they got into the double bonus with time left.  So that creates opportunities to get second shots.  We were substantially bigger at times.

Q.  The team has come quite a ways a couple seasons from where they were when they first got here.  Expectations you had with this team, are they about where you thought they might be coming into the second round of a tournament and how far away are they if they're not?
FRAN McCAFFERY:  It's interesting because you go back to early, even before October 15th.  We worked the guys out a little bit, just a couple hours a week.  And I watched all summer how they fared and how they put extra time in on their own.  I felt like this team had the ability to do something special.  So I'm not surprised to have 21 wins.  I think for us the more impressive thing is looking at our losses.  We have got some big time wins, but we have had some losses where we were right there.  We got drilled once this year.  That's why when you look at our rating it's always so high.  They take that into consideration.
We have a very good team.  We have, as Mike points out, a very unselfish team, we have got tremendous character and we have as much depth, if not more depth, than most teams I've seen.  And it's amazing how often different lay‑ups have come into the game and been so effective for us.  And you can't predict what lineup's going to be on the floor at the end of the game when you play us.  That makes it that much harder to scout and prepare for.  I really like where we are.  We've got an unbelievable challenge tomorrow.  Everybody knows that.  And that is, in some respects, almost the gold standard for what teams want to become.  Tom is one of the premier coaches in our game, without question.  So we know what's in front of us, but we welcome the opportunity.

Q.  Speaking about tomorrow night, do you feel tomorrow night's a must win for your NCAA tournament hopes?  And also, how pleased are you to hear your players talk about this is more about they want to go out and win this thing; They're not really concentrating on getting into the tournament?
FRAN McCAFFERY:  I think that's important.  I'm not foolish, I hear what everybody's saying about that particular game.  To me, I am very comfortable with where our resume is right now.  I think we deserve to be in.  But, there are so many factors and I respect whatever the committee decides.  There are a lot of other really good teams.  The only thing that we can control is how we play tomorrow.  That's how we're going to approach it.  It's not something that we even talk about.

Q.  Talk about how you're able to keep them at bay in that second half.  Seemed like they couldn't get past about an eight point deficit?
FRAN McCAFFERY:  We had timely baskets.  We had a couple of opportunities where we got the ball to the high post, and sort of got it to the rim, back a couple times, Woody a couple times.  But they made the right read.  They turn and faced and they missed short shots that they would normally make.  We got to the rim one time and Woody had a chance to finish, didn't finish, he'll learn from that.  The key is to go back and guard people.  And we did that.  We got some opportunities after that.  As we pointed out, we made some big threes.  Three in particular that each one of these guys made, but the other thing is we got some second shot opportunities and we got ‑‑ we had a chance to make some free throws too to put the team away.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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