Transcript & Video: Fran McCaffery Michigan Postgame

March 15, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

CHICAGO – A night after coming back to life and ending a four-game losing streak, Iowa took a step back Friday in losing 74-53 against Michigan in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. The Hawkeyes fell for the sixth time in seven games.

After the contest, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery met with the media.

Here’s a video from one session and the transcript of the other:

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.

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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.

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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.

Q. Coach, went 1 for 16 from three-point range.
How much of this loss was from not being able to
hit those?

Continue reading below

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.
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.

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