Quote Center: University of Iowa MBB McCaffrey 1/31/19
University of Iowa Basketball Media Conference
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Q. They've really changed defensively in Michigan the last couple years. What have they done differently?
FRAN McCAFFREY: You know, I don't know it's that much different.
Q. How would you define them as a team?
FRAN McCAFFREY: The thing that impresses me about them is they play with an incredibly high confidence level. They believe in each other, they believe in themselves, they believe in the coaches.
Anybody can go one-on-one at any time but stay within the structure and move the ball, compete defensively. There is no panic in what they do, so they're not susceptible to runs. They kind of stay consistent, but each of their players plays with tremendous amount of confidence, and it was noticeable to me.
Q. Brazdeikis is a new player for them. What have you seen from them? He seems like a pretty dynamic, aggressive player.
FRAN McCAFFREY: I think very aggressive both ends; he's physical; attack guy; very confident in his ability. Again, great ability to get to the next play. If he misses three in a row or turns it over, comes at you with the same level of confidence on the next play.
Q. Have you seen Simpson's running hook shot?
FRAN McCAFFREY: It's not something you see normally with guards, especially point guards. Certainly not to the extent where you have that level of success making it. Some guys will shoot it occasionally but don't shoot it consistently and make it consistently, and that's why they don't shoot it consistently.
He has the ability to get you on the side of him, which enables him to kind of shoot that shot. It's been good for him. I think he's been in many ways the key to everything with them. The way he's playing, he really is running the show. He recognizes that he has good players around him, but everything goes through him.
Q. What is it that you guys have to do in this game tomorrow night if you're going to be successful?
FRAN McCAFFREY: You got to do a lot of things. If you want to beat the team that is 20-1, you have to play well in transition, you have to defend. You have to do it all consistently, not in spurts. You have to win the battle on the glass. They're going to make broken play 3s if you don't.
You have to fight them on the glass, fight them in in transition, run your stuff, move the ball, and you have to do it better than they do, because they're going to be trying to do the same things.
Q. Your first time playing a Big 10 game on a Friday night. You like the fact that it's on a Friday night?
FRAN McCAFFREY: No. I think Friday night should be for high school games, but it's the world we live in. We made a decision as a conference to play every night. It does provide maximum exposure for our conference so I understand it. I support it in that sense.
I think our fans like weekend games. They consider this a weekend game. That's why's it's sold out. So from that standpoint I'm happy about it, yeah.
Q. What makes it so challenging to get 3-pointers against Michigan?
FRAN McCAFFREY: Well, they've got great length, they have great speed, and they play together defensively. I think they're in the gaps but exploding on the closeouts. They're a group that's aware and does a great job of anticipating where the ball is going and maybe what your action is. They don't just react to it; kind of anticipate it.
I think that all helps.
Q. Do you have a plan to gets guards like Wieskamp and Bohannon more shots this game?
FRAN McCAFFREY: Yeah, I mean, we have that every game. Teams are going to guard them closely. They've got the green light. I think when you go back and look at that last game they didn't shoot enough. We have to do a better job screening for them clearly.
But, Garza and Cook were 17-of-27 and got to the free throw line a bunch in that game and that worked for us. You score 87 on the road, it should be enough, but it wasn't because our defense in the first half was not good at all. It was better in the second half. Still not good enough, but you can't go on the road and give up 55 in the first half.
Q. Given weather problems here and everywhere, were you able to logistically go through the last couple days without any glitches?
FRAN McCAFFREY: Yes.
Q. You had an extra day. Was there some sense you can kind of refocus on a few things?
FRAN McCAFFREY: Yeah, that's a good point. When you have an extra day you can spend one day on yourselves and then the next two days on preparation for your opponent.
Q. When you work on yourself, what specifically will you focus on?
FRAN McCAFFREY: When you work on yourself it's never one thing. It's a lot of things. Obviously the previous game our defense wasn't good, so spent a lot of time on that.
But we did score 87 and played pretty well offensively. Want to make sure you continue to do that as well, and so you keep working on that equally.
Q. Did you see Joe pass up some shots last couple games you saw on film? Was he as aggressive as you needed him to be?
FRAN McCAFFREY: I think he could be more aggressive, but he's not going to hunt shots if they're not there. He's always been an efficient player. If you've watched him, which I know you have, over the years, he's always been incredibly efficient. He always shoots a high number whether it's from three or two.
Sometimes when you have a player as talented as him, you know, I would like him and I encourage him to go hunt some buckets. It's okay. We did that with Marble and he was really good at that.
Certain guys are good at that and certain guys don't do as good a job. Same thing Uthoff. I wanted him to really hunt shots, and sometimes he did and sometimes he just played within himself. Really depends on your personality and how you see the game.
He's a guy who has the ability to affect the game in so many different ways. That's what makes him a winning player, whether it's defensively or on the glass or as a passer. He's not a turnover; he's not a mistake guy.
So we harp on not taking bad shots, quick shots. In this league, if you do that, it's a same as live ball turnover. They just run it right back at you. You're playing Minnesota, Michigan, they're going to score in transition. So he knows that; I respect that about him.
So he's just got to find that happy medium.
Q. On the flip side, Isaiah's played probably the best basketball of his career last five games.
FRAN McCAFFREY: I think you could see that coming with him. His game is so much more complete than it's ever been. He always had confidence in his ability to shoot the ball, but defensively off the dribble and just really doing the cerebral things that really complete the picture for him, it's been fun to watch. He's really worked at it and studied film. He's a man of great character, so he wants to be a great teammate. He wants to be the best player he can be.
So it's made a difference for us, no question.