University of Iowa Basketball Media Conference



Friday, February 16, 2018


Q. What's the biggest difference you see with Indiana now compared to December when you first played them?

FRAN McCAFFERY: There's a lot of differences, I think, for every team. When you're playing them in early December, you've got McRoberts who's got a different role, Green has got a different role. But they're still getting production out of all those people. I think Morgan has established himself as one of the best players in our league. Davis played then, he's not playing now. I think that is part of the reason why Morgan has done what he's done. Freddie McSwain has got a completely different role. Here's a guy that was coming off the bench as kind of a role player, now he's got nine offensive rebounds against Michigan State a couple games ago. A completely different team in that sense, but all the same guys are playing -- they've got a lot of good players, especially on the perimeter. They've got a lot of ways they can go.Last night, for example, three guys off the bench, all in double figures. You don't see that a lot. But those guys come in, and they're ready to shoot, they're ready to score. So they've got a lot of weapons.

Q. That first game you guys had 18 turnovers, they beat you up pretty bad from the foul line, as well. When you looked back at that tape, what did you see in that game?

FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, it was a strange game in the sense that it got away from us a little bit in the first half with an 11-0 run. We have an 11-0 run of our own, cut it to one, and then that's when the insanity took over. It was an 18-0 run with -- a lot of times that's -- when you're playing them, you've got to be careful with your live ball turnovers and your bad shots because they're so fast at changing ends, they end up with easy baskets. They're a really good passing team on the break. They're a good interior passing team, very unselfish group, which is rare. When you have a lot of guys who can score, you don't see that kind of unselfishness. It's a credit to them.

Q. Why do you think Baer has struggled for a majority of the season?

FRAN McCAFFERY: I think it's really simple. He was playing his best basketball of his career this summer through the foreign trip, broke his finger, and we started a little bit sideways as a result of that. And I think he put a lot of pressure on himself when he came back to maybe do more than he should be doing. And that's why I moved him back to where he's coming off the bench. Just do what you do, do what you do well, impact our team the way you're capable. You were the best in the league at it last year. Just try to be the best in the league at it this year.

You put a guy in the starting lineup, and he still feels like he's got to make threes, he's got to get stops, he's got to make rebounds, he's got to block shots, and he's doing a little bit of all of that, but I think it will be better for him and better for us to bring him off the bench.

Q. How much of that -- has that been because of extra scouting from opponents, or do you think he got enough minutes where --

FRAN McCAFFERY: No, he's not shooting the ball like he did last year, if you look at the numbers. But I think he's forcing the issue a little bit, taking more shots and maybe quicker shots than he should be. He always made -- took and made really good shots, and I think he's feeling like he's got to do more, and it hasn't worked.He's not shooting that well from three. Our three-point shooting has not been consistently good, as good at times. Puts a lot of pressure on Jordan, and so I want to see Maishe Dailey rise up and shoot it kind of like he did against Michigan State, really look for his shot more from three. Same with Isaiah; when he's cooking, we're a different team.

Q. Is that a bit of a dilemma for you, though, because who you've put in there hasn't really gotten it done in terms of the shooters?

FRAN McCAFFERY: Yeah, and they're all good shooters. I mean, I look at Maishe, I look at Isaiah, you look at Jack Nunge, Nicholas Baer, all guys we were expecting to make threes, I think Luka Garza, and he's shooting the ball really well, primarily from 17 feet. It's almost automatic. He's not making his three as much. So that creates a situation where you're playing against a lot of pack line. They're backed up a little bit more than maybe they would be if you were making more threes. So we just have to adjust.

Q. Teams always play better at home, but it seems like with your team lately anyway, there's really a big gap between the way you play on the road and the way you play at home. Is there any explanation for that?

FRAN McCAFFERY: I think the crowd has been great. Other than that, no. I think the crowd has been helpful to us, no question.

Q. Is that pack line, is that why Tyler has been kind of held in check the last couple games? Do you see a little more attention on him?

FRAN McCAFFERY: Probably a little bit less space. We haven't gotten too much going in transition. We usually like to get him some opportunities in transition, and we haven't done that. We hope to get more stops, more consecutive stops, and then maybe try to get some running opportunity to get him the ball quicker, sooner. But teams are doubling him, too, so it doesn't matter if it's packed line or not. If they're doubling him, that's going to limit some of his opportunities.

Q. His free throws seem like kind of an indicator of how well your offense is doing. When he gets to the line, it seems like you guys are much better.

FRAN McCAFFERY: Yeah, the thing about him is he's very unselfish, so he's not going to hunt shots. He got nine the other night. I'd like to see him be more 15, 16. I told him that. But he's not -- there's nothing selfish about him at all. So if he feels pressure and he feels he's not in a position, then he'll move it on. He prides himself on his ability to pass out of the double-team. He's done well at that since he got here because they've been doubling him from day one. He doesn't put his head down and drive into a pack of people and make a mistake. He'll move it. He'll skip it, which is what you're supposed to do. But he's doing some stuff off the dribble, which is good, and that's typically when he ends up on the free-throw line, when he's driving, and sometimes that, again, is also in transition.

Q. When you mentioned them going against Jordan, it seemed like they were pretty set on --

FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, they were just locked into him. Everybody does the same thing. It was a little more effective the other night. I thought we moved him off the ball, and it got him going a little bit, he made some passes, made some buckets. He's crafty in that situation. So I think that was good. Hit that shot early. I thought he would get going.But the thing about him is he's not a guy -- I mean, he'll shoot it now. He's not afraid of that. Obviously he'll pull from anywhere, but he's not a guy that's constantly hunting shots thinking about himself. So if they're up on him, he'll move it, and that's what a good point guard is supposed to do. So they've rotated some guys on him, which is what a lot of people do. I'm sure they'll do the same thing tomorrow.

Q. Are you getting more comfortable playing guys with fouls, like two in the first half, bring some guys back in, the other night with three --

FRAN McCAFFERY: It all depends, it really does. There's no way I wasn't going to leave Luka in in that situation because he sat a little bit in the first half -- I don't want to sit him again. Now he's a non-factor in the game. And ultimately if you're a good player and you're a big guy, you've got to learn how to play with foul trouble. The reason we sit him in the first half is so we don't have to sit him in the second half. So go ahead and play. You've still got two fouls. I put him back in pretty early -- took him out when he got his fourth, put him back in, I said, okay, just try not to foul out. The hard thing then is can they still be physical. So if you've got two guys in foul trouble, are they just kind of standing there hoping you miss, or are they -- you've still got to be physical, you've still got to get your feet over. You've got to get to where at least you can try to keep the ball from going into the post, because once it gets there, then obviously it's problematic.

Q. Luka shows a lot of emotion, a lot of leadership qualities. Is that hard for you as a freshman to do that?

FRAN McCAFFERY: I would say this: I think you're seeing a lot of emotion. I don't know that he's fulfilling the leadership side of it. He just is a guy that he loves the game, he loves to play. He's emotional. There's times when I'm trying to get him to -- you always want him to be that way because that's what makes him great, but at the same time, sometimes you want to slow it down and have a little more pace to what you're doing. He's constant energy, motion. He's always moving. He's always banging. He's running. Sometimes you slow it down and wait and then go. He's trying to learn that aspect.But a lot of the talking that he's doing is not necessarily the same type of thing, say, that Adam Woodbury did, which is where we want to get him. You've got to really understand everything and how it all fits if you're going to be that guy on the floor. And right now, he's trying to figure it out for himself. He's only a freshman. He's going against some really talented guys every night, and he's getting better, and I think he'll get to that point, because as you saw, he's not afraid to talk. He'll talk and he'll communicate. But he's also smart enough to know not to be shouting out information that may not be exactly what's necessary.

You've heard me say this before: When you give a guy the green light to do that, you have to have complete trust in what he's saying is accurate, because if he's feeding information that's not accurate, then it's really counterproductive. You're better off not saying anything then.

Q. You've clearly had a leader on all your teams, Jarryd Cole, Matt Gatens. Is it tougher when your senior doesn't play a lot? Seems like there isn't one or two clear-cut leaders, or am I wrong?

FRAN McCAFFERY: You're right, like last year it was Pete's team. I think that's what you're kind of referring to; it was Gatens' team, Marble's team, White. It was sort of Jarrod's team, but he had a lot of help there with Woodbury, Gesell and Clemmons. That group was special.I think you have a lot of potential candidates. They're all young. The two guys, I mean, it's kind of like Tyler and Jordan's team. I think that's safe to say.

Q. Has your depth be the strength you thought it would be this year?

FRAN McCAFFERY: In some ways. We don't have the depth we thought we were going to have at the start of the season, obviously. Surviving Christian Williams' departure would have been easy with Connor, so now we don't have either of them, so that throws people into different positions. And we haven't shot it from three like we thought we would, even though we had plenty of three-point shooting, we're really not shooting it that well from out there. We've had our share of sickness and injury. That's why Ahmad didn't play the other night.So I guess in some ways, yes, in some ways, no. But it certainly hasn't translated the way I thought it would, in particular at the offensive end.


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