Iowa is coming off two powerful wins against #1 ranked Michigan State and Big Ten power Purdue. While they prepare to move to 3-0 in Big Ten play with a win over Nebraska tomorrow, Hawkeye boss Fran McCaffery sat down with the media to discuss the upward shift of the season.
ON ANTHONY CLEMMONS' HEALTH...
"I think he will (play). Hasn't been determined yet. He's feeling a little better today than he did yesterday. It will be a game-time decision."
"It changes things. Obviously we're one man less. It will increase the importance of (Andrew) Fleming and (Christian) Williams, also the other three, (Dom) Uhl, (Ahmad) Wagner and (Brady) Ellingson."
"What matters is what the doctors tell you. Can he play? If he can play, he'll play. If he can't, he won't."
ON THE WINS OVER MICHIGAN STATE AND PURDUE...
"I think what you're seeing is a team that understands how you have to compete, how you have to prepare, how you have to stay together and continue to believe in each other. But, you know, it just makes the next game that much more important. In this league, everybody's good. Everybody has really good players. Everybody has a really good coach. So you can never relax based on anything you've done."
"We always say, you can't let one game define you. You feel awful after we lose to Iowa State after having the lead, but that can't define you. Then you have a big win, big two wins. That can't define you. It's on to the next one. It's such a long grind, the maturity that you need to continue to prepare the right way is really what's critical."
ON BAER AND UHL'S CONTRIBUTIONS OFF THE BENCH...
"Well, the great thing about Saturday's game, it was 26-0 on bench points at halftime. Those two guys really stepped up in an incredibly big way at a point in time when we really needed it. Baer's three out of the corner, turnaround jumper, but Uhl's two threes were huge in that game based on the timing of when he made them. He shot them without hesitation. That's what you want."
"Maybe another time it will be Wagner, Ellingson, Williams or Fleming. But we just can't continue to rely on a small number of guys. We had 20 points in the first half. Uthoff had 16. You need others to step up. You knew Gesell and Jok, Woodbury, Clemmons, would play better in the second half, which they did. Others had to step forward or we wouldn't have won the game."
"I think we're beyond (taking a team lightly). You can't take anybody lightly. By virtue of how we challenged our team in the non-conference with pretty much every team coming in here with a winning record except for, I don't know, maybe one, you don't have the right mindset, you're going to get nipped early. We really I thought played well in those games. We lost to really good teams. We were in a position to win. We didn't win. But I thought in those game we played well in various parts."
"Our guys know Shavon Shields (of Nebraska). He's a terrific player. He came in here last year and got 25. We know what he's capable of doing. White is averaging 17 points a game. Jacobson is stepping up. Watson has been terrific. Webster and Benny Parker are playing better than they did last year. They're playing like veterans, like you would expect. McVeigh had 16 against Indiana in the last game. They've got a lot more weapons to go with two big-time scorers, both of whom are 6-foot-7. Our guys know what this league is. Every time you take the floor, somebody's got guys who expect to play in the pros. They got two of them, maybe more."