Bob Sundvold Q&A

This week, ISU assistant coach Bob Sundvold told our publisher on KXNO that Wednesday night's loss at Missouri actually had some positives, despite it being the 22nd consecutive road loss for the Cyclones.

Deace: I know you're above moral victories, but you really did play hard and played tough in that Missouri game for 40 minutes. I couldn't help but come away thinking that had you played that way against Baylor and Kansas State you might have won those games.

Sundvold: I think without a doubt if you want to come out with positives you could say our effort was better, our execution was better for the majority of the game, but not the whole thing. That's why we were in the predicament we were in at the end. Basketball is a funny game. With a young team with new players, you've got guys maturing at different rates. You've got guys that are hitting walls and bouncing back a little bit. We're just trying to get them all going in the right direction. That will be the key.

Deace: One of the things I liked last night was that Coach Morgan had a quick hook, especially where Jake Sullivan and Jackson Vroman were concerned. We saw Reggie George, Andrew Skoglund, and John Neal getting excessive minutes. I also liked the way Jake bounced back from that benching and played well in the second half.

Sundvold: One of the things that is typical of Jake's career is that he relies on his jump shot to judge if he's having a good game. The problem with that is that in this game of 40 minutes, if you're only going to rely on the eight or nine times that you're going to release a ball, you're missing out on a lot of basketball. What we're trying to do to help Jake on the road, since his shooting hasn't been very good, is we want to get him back to where he's thinking about defending and rebounding. In our zone, one of the things that the guards have had to do for us to be successful is they have to seek out guys to block and help our big guys. That's one of the things that we're watching. We're not taking Jake out because he's missing a shot. We anticipate that he's going to miss a few, but we also know as he keeps shooting that he's also going to have a chance to go on a run

Deace: Will Blalock came off the bench and really gave you a spark after struggling the past couple of weeks.

Sundvold: Yeah, he did. The fun thing for us was that early in the game, he came in and finger-rolled the ball at the basket and hit underneath the rim. After that move, we had a conversation and a time out and we've talked to him about taking it hard to the rim and dunking the ball and being more aggressive. Two things happened, Missouri closed the lane on him and he also became more aggressive and got it to the rim a few times and that helps his game. I think what happened to him is that he got a little less aggressive with the basketball and wasn't driving and penetrating which is really the best part of his game and he gets away from that and that really affects his confidence. I think there were some great times in this game that Will can look back on and say, ok, I can finally go for the final push in the season.

Deace: Are you guys ever going to run into a road game when the home team is hot from the perimeter and nailing three-point shots?

Sundvold: That's the glory of home court. We find that at Hilton Coliseum also. You have a tendency to shoot better at home. When you look at this game, I don't think it was the threes that beat us. I think it was the missed shot that we didn't get the rebound and they got the uncontested offensive put-backs that beat us. If you're in a zone, or in a match up and playing man-to-man, they're going to get some three-point shots and they're good enough to make some. The ones that you can't allow to have are the offensive rebound that gets tipped about three times and now they've got a wide open look at it. Those are the ones that break your back. I think they really take away from a defensive effort.

Deace: If nothing else, your team can take from the Missouri game that if they play that hard and tough for 40 minutes they can at least hang around until the end in these remaining road games.

Sundvold: I think that's a key point. I think that hanging around is very key if you're going to win on the road. Going in to anybody else's home arenas and having a fifteen-point victory is really hard to do. You have to have the ability to play forty minutes. One of the things that we talk about is that if you take a possession off as a single player, it might be your guy that gets the rebound, it might be your guy that makes the drive to the basket. You can never tell when the momentum will shift and that's why it's really important as a young team to understand that possession by possession it's a 40-minute game, especially on the road.

Deace: Doesn't Jackson Vroman just have to play smarter from a fouling standpoint for you to win one of these games?

Sundvold: He does. The thing we talk about with Jackson is that you're a senior, and you've got to be smart enough that the blocked charge call doesn't go against you or that you're not reaching for a ball that's loose on the floor. Those are the little plays that take him out of the game. The other thing from a coach's standpoint is that we've got to do a better job of making him have an impact on the game. I think there are very few guys that can guard Jackson one-on-one. He's going to encourage a double team. What we've really got to do is get our players to understand that on the road, that inside/outside play is more needed than it is at home.

Deace: Curtis Stinson had a great game for you, didn't he?

Sundvold: You know, he got on the plane afterwards and I think he was miserable. He looks at seven turnovers and he understands that there were some shots he didn't need to take. This kid is really competitive.

Deace: What are some things you must do to pull the upset of Kansas on Saturday?

Sundvold: I think two things. I think that they pride themselves on their rebounding and their ability to create second shots. We've got to do a great job of rebounding the basketball – maybe the best job we've done all year. Then, I think the other thing is offensively try to gain some level of control in the tempo of that game. I don't think we ever made Missouri feel like we were handling them when we had the basketball. If we could do that to Kansas, and maybe make them feel like they were playing defense a little bit longer then they like to, I think we'll have a chance. I think our guys understand the effort that it takes. I think they know after we beat Texas last week that we're certainly capable and trying to get that same effort and confidence that we play with at home transported on the road to Lawrence.

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