Video & Transcript: Fran McCaffery Illinois Postgame Press Conference

March 15, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

CHICAGO – Iowa found its rhythm Thursday night here at the United Center. The Hawkeyes blew out Illinois, 83-62, in the Big Ten Tournament.

Following the game, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery met with the media.

Here’s what he had to say:

Q. There’s been a lot of talk this year about
Illinois’s young corps and the potential that they’ve
showed. You’ve played them three times this year.
Speak about what you saw out of those guys as the
season progressed?

FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, we played them twice, by
the way. But I mean, they’ve got some really good
young players. I think Ayo is one of the best players in
the country. I think Giorgi is a handful. Both of those
guys established themselves, but it’s not just them,
they’ve got other good young players, and they’re going
to be tough year in and year out from here on. I can
tell you that.

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Q. What was the difference in the second half after
they seemed to score a lot in the first half but you
guys seemed to turn up your defense a little?

FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, I think our offense was
better, too, and sometimes one is a function of the
other. You know, we only had one turnover in the
whole second half against a team that’s pressuring. I
thought we moved the ball, we established a low-post
game, we got a little bit in transition, and consequently
we were able to get our defense back. If your defense
isn’t back, Illinois is really tough to play against.
So I think by virtue of us not turning the ball over,
getting good shot opportunities, shooting a high
number, getting our defense back, we were in a
position to stop them a little bit easier.

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Q. Snapping that losing streak, would you describe
that as a relief for you guys, or how would you
describe the feeling of just getting that out of the
way?

FRAN McCAFFERY: I wouldn’t look at it that way. We
lost four in a row. Three we didn’t play well. But when
you don’t play well, there are factors in a game that are
still good. There were good things that happened in all
three of those games. Doesn’t seem like it. We really
played pretty well against Nebraska on the road.
You’ve got to give them credit for how they play the last
minute, but we were in control of that game, and it’s
upsetting when you lose a game that you’re in control
of, but it doesn’t mean the whole 40 minutes was a
disaster, because it wasn’t. So I thought we made a big step there. So you turn
around with another opportunity against a team like
Illinois, who’s very good and had just come off a win,
tough win, on a stage like this. I think it’s an important
opportunity for us to kind of put it together a little bit
more than we have been, kind of like we were before
that. So I think from that standpoint, it’s very important.

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Q. You got Michigan coming up tomorrow night
here at the United Center. What kind of a mindset
do you have this time around, especially after
you’ve beaten them once back home in Carver?

FRAN McCAFFERY: Same mindset when you play
Michigan. They’re one of the best teams in the country
with a great coach. They have terrific players. I think
they were ranked fifth when they came in when we
played them the last time, so you recognize what
they’ve accomplished to that point.
And same thing tomorrow, recognize what they’ve
accomplished to this point. It’s an opportunity for us to
play one of the best teams in the country in the Big Ten
Tournament. We know they’re going to defend. We
know they’re going to run that offense to perfection,
and it’s going to take a very good effort to beat them.
We’ve just got to get back and prepare.

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