Iowa Hoops Head Coach Fran McCaffery Following the Iowa State Loss

Fran McCaffery speaks at his weekly presser.

Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery's team will head to Des Moines on Saturday for the Big Four Classic with a 7-3 record. It has been a tough slate. 6 of the 10 games so far have been against the likes of Florida State, Marquette, Wichita State, Notre Dame, Dayton, and Iowa State. Their next opponent is Drake and McCaffery spoke earlier on Wednesday about the Iowa State loss and looked ahead to the showdown with Drake.

ON DRAKE...

"They've continued to improve; they run good stuff. He's got three very talented scorers. He's got a couple big that kids that are impressive. He's got some athletes on the wing, so you can see him kind of putting it together piece by piece. He plays 11 guys, so he's had some really good recruits. It's a team that's been impressive. They had a tough overtime loss at Tulane, a game that they played tremendously well in, and then an overtime win over Western Kentucky, a big-time win in a tournament situation. This is a team that has really impressed me on film.

ON WISCONSIN'S BO RYAN RETIRING...

"He's done a fabulous job there. It's hard to do what he did once, one year, and to do it consistently well in this league is very difficult. And I think that's what has been impressive to me because I've watched him from afar before I came into the league. I coached against him once when I was at UNC-Greensboro. He came in and put his style in place, and they've been consistently good."

"Like I said before when we talked about it at Big Ten Media Day in October, they said, what do you think about it, I said, well, it's really not my position to think about it. I want him to be able to retire when he wants to retire and go out his way. I think we would all like to do that, and we don't always get the chance to do that."

ON MOVING ON FROM IOWA STATE LOSS...

"I would like to think (we'll be better moving on becuase we are experienced), but I don't really look at that to be honest with you. I look at the situation. It's the next game on our schedule. We have to play well. We want to win to get better. We're playing a really good team that we have a lot of respect for in an excellent environment. Whether you win or you lose, you've got to move on, and that's how I look at it."

"There's positive and negative in every game. You cannot let one game define you, so if you win the game, you run and jump on  top of each other in the locker room and everybody is telling you how great you are when you walk to Jimmy John's, and now nobody wants to look at you. But you can't get emotional one way or the other, and I get it, it's hard. Everybody is writing about it. Everybody is tweeting about it, and they're attacking you or they're loving you. But it's such a long journey, you can't get caught up in that. It's easier for me because I've been doing it for 32 years. It's harder for a guy who's young and in the moment, so fortunately we have some older guys, I think, that can handle that."

ON JARROD UTHOFF'S HOT STREAK...

"They get into him more (in the second half). I think fatigue could have been more of a factor on Thursday than maybe in some of the other games. Maybe not so much the Dayton game. Those I games I shorten my bench in the second haf, so it could be a factor. It's something we looked at as a possibility. And then you break it down, can we get him shots in different locations, can we get him the ball more, do other people have to do more things to open things up for him. There's just so many things to look at."

"But I haven't seen too many performances like that in a half. I don't think I've ever seen any. So I know he feels bad about what happened in the second half, but I feel worse because I feel like, okay, what could I have done to help him. We went to him a few times, like I said, should we have gone to him more? Should we have tried to post him up more, tried to get him to the foul line, things like that. I probably feel worse about it than he does."

ON LATE-GAME SITUATIONS...

"There are times when you can take a time-out where it might make more sense to take a time-out. You're giving them an opportunity to change personnel, change defenses, so you have to in a time-out give them multiple play-call options, which is really complicated. So if you know who's on the floor and what defense they're in and you have play action called, why do you have to call time-out? You're just going to come out and run what you just called. Everybody always says, what did you diagram, what ingenious thing did you come up with. Typically you have action, but ultimately somebody has got to make a play because they might take away that action. Now, in the case that you're talking about, we've got the exact shot we wanted or the exact guy we wanted to shoot it."

"So if it gets fumbled or there's a charge or something, you feel we should have taken a time-out, but I'll always let my guys go. We already have it called, and there's no reason to have to take one, plus you might need it later. You say, Fran, there's only nine seconds to go. If ever there was a good time to call it, it would be now. As long as I know that we can get into our stuff and I know what exactly what defense they're in and I've called multiple things, I'm going to keep doing it that way."

ON AHMAD WAGNER NOT PLAYING AGAINST IOWA STATE...

"Yeah, that was a mistake. I should have played him, especially in the second half. Just get his athleticism out there, get him some experience. It was just kind of a funny game that way, and I just kind of trusted the more experienced guys. Obviously, I only played seven experienced guys."

ON PETER JOK'S STRONG PLAY...

"Yeah, he was tremendous (against Iowa State), and he has that capability. I'm just continuing to be pleased with his development. He's a terrific kid. I enjoy coaching him. He's a guy that came in, obviously as you know, as Mr. Basketball, and struggled in the beginning, was our leading scorer on the foreign trip because nobody guarded him because they don't know who he is and he's making every shot, now all of a sudden people are guarding you, and then you've got to figure out how to guard people who are really good who are juniors and seniors, and he couldn't do that, and he was getting outplayed in practice."

"And there's two ways to handle htat. You can run and hide and transfer, or you can battle and get better and work at it, and I'm just really impressed with his work ethic and the ability to get better in the weight room and get extra shots up and figure out what he needs to do defensively and cut down on his mistakes. I told him his game as a freshman, he had a sloppy game. He would fumble and stumble and run around and just try to shoot jumpers and make that the cure for everything. He needed to become a really good basketball player. I'm really proud of him because you do that when you have character."


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