Morgan, Cyclones Talk Iowa

Instate bragging rights are on the line Wednesday night in Hilton Coliseum when Wayne Morgan's Cyclones take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. With his team just two days away from tipoff, Morgan and a few select players previewed the clash. Here is a complete transcription of Monday's press conference.

Morgan pre Iowa presser: On biggest concerns about Iowa: "I think Iowa is a good team. They just played a very good Illinois team at Illinois. I thought they did everything but win the game."

On first time of playing Iowa as head coach: "I know it's a big rivalry and a state rivalry. I think the biggest people it has to sink in with probably are our younger kids who have just gotten here or are freshmen. You can't understand the magnitude of a rivalry like this if you haven't been here or gone through it. It would be like when I was at Syracuse. After a while you really understood that Georgetown-Syracuse was an unbelievable rivalry, and if a freshman came in from another state he might not have understood the feelings involved."

On how season ended last year against Iowa: "For all of the kids that are returning from last year's team, I think they remember that and will want to play well. There's no question about that, just like the kids from Iowa will want to play well."

On Iowa's differences after losing Jared Reiner: "Obviously they're not as big without Reiner. But they're going to rely a little bit more on their perimeter guys, Brody Boyd, Pierre Pierce and Glen Worley. But the big guys that they have are still fairly formidable and understand their system."

On playing Iowa after Big 12 season has started: "You'd rather have some consistency in conference play, but the original date did not fall at a time that was conducive for the University of Iowa to play then."

On advantages of playing at home: "I'd absolutely rather play this here than anywhere else. It is an advantage and I think the crowd will help us and give us energy. I think that the crowd has helped us at various other times during the year."

On matchups that this game will feature, particularly in backcourt: "I think it will be Pierre Pierce guarding Curtis Stinson and Curtis guarding Pierre. All of the matchups are going to be interesting, whether that's Brody Boyd against Will Blalock or possibly one of our big guys against one of their big guys. All of the kids are going to play hard. It will end up being a lot of fun."

On differences between Stinson and Jeff Horner: "They are different, there are differences. I respect Jeff Horner, but I haven't watched them enough to discern the differences."

On where this game ranks, from one to 10, in terms of what impact he wants to make in building program: "Every game we play is a 10, because there is never a game that's not absolutely important. There is never a game, in terms of establishing our program or leaving an impression on an opponent, that we don't want to play the best we can. I wouldn't come out and say Iowa's a 10, but Kansas is a nine. I wouldn't say Kansas is a nine, but Texas is a 10. Every single game we play is important."

On what he remembers about 1987 NCAA Championship game: "In basketball it was probably the worst moment of my life. Most of the people that were there for that would say the same thing. (Keith Smart) misses that shot and we win. Going down the stretch of that game we were in complete command. Keith Smart pulled them out of a difficult place."

On Steve Alford's playing in that ballgame: "I thought he played very well, but I thought the reason they won that game was Keith Smart. If you look at the film, going down the stretch, he scored eight of their last 12 points. He basically just went one-on-one for those points. Alford played a terrific game and shot the ball terrifically. In the first half, Syracuse played real well and it was Alford's efforts that kept the game close. I think right at halftime he hit a three to give them a lead or make it real close."

On changing preparation for Iowa after loss to Colorado: "It's a different team so it's a different preparation. It's a different style and a different team. I don't think Iowa has a guy like (David) Harrison. Not too many people do."

On play of Jackson Vroman: "He means a great deal to this team, because he plays so hard and tries so hard. He gives everything he has when he's on the floor. At the end of the game the other day when I saw he had 20 points and 18 rebounds, I said ‘Wow' and didn't realize he had that much. That's the type of effort he puts in."

On what Pierce has added to team: "I think he is a good player. Obviously, he's one of their best players. Anytime you can add a player to your first five that's better it will improve you. He does a lot of things with his individual athletic ability, taking the ball to the basket and creating his own shot. He gives them an added dimension because of those things."

On his relationship with Coach Alford since he got job at ISU: "I know Steve and he knows me. We spent time around each other. We played once when I was at Long Beach and he won the game. John Calipari is a very good friend of mine and very good friend of his, and the three of us spent three or four days together when John was with the Nets."

On two or three keys for Wednesday night: "We can't foul them a lot. They've been shooting a lot of free throws. They've gotten a lot of points off the free throw line because of that. We've got to try not to give them too many easy baskets. If we can do those things it well help us. They've been able to get some stuff in transition that's helped make a difference in the games they've played."

On Reggie George's status: "I think Reggie will play. He had a concussion at the end of last week. He should be over the effects of that. I would anticipate that he would be available."

Jake Sullivan on playing Iowa after last season's NIT loss: "It's something that really drove me to get back from my ankle surgeries. I was 3-for-16 or 3-for-17 the last time we played them and they beat us. It's something that motivated me all summer and it's a game I'm looking forward to. But it's just another big game for us. It's not just because it's Iowa, but a game we have to win. It's later in the season. It's the last time I play them. So it's a little more important this year."

Curtis Stinson on importance of this instate rivalry game: "It's going to be a good game. Iowa's a good team and will battle it out. This is for bragging rights and everybody looks forward to it. Every year they talk about it. Last year they split one and one, and this might be the only time we play each other this year. Everybody will come out and play their heart out."

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