What do you think of Illinois?
They're a young team. They've got a lot of juniors, a lot of sophomores. Hopefully we can use our experience over them.
Do you think they might be a little mad like you guys were after losing to Northwestern?
I would suspect that they would be. But we just know this is going to be a dogfight, regardless of if they won or lost because it's Iowa-Illinois. It's a rivalry game.
What is the key against them? What did you guys work on today?
Basically handling their pressure (defense). It's something we have to do. They do some nice things. They have some nice guards and some post players that can really play. We just have to get on them early and try to use their youth against them.
Do you guys feel better about the Northwestern loss after seeing them handle Illinois?
You don't feel good about any loss. We let one slip away. You can't let too many games go at home. But we did a good job on the road of fighting back.
Do you know where you are in the Big Ten standings today?
We're first. We know where we're at every day. We were definitely watching that Purdue-Wisconsin game. We understand that we have a big chance to maintain first place and keep it going.
What does it feel like to be in first?
We were in the same position last year. So, it's not something that's going to go to our heads. We still have to come out with emotion. We understand that this is a 15-game grind. The real season starts in February.
What's it going to take to stay there?
At this point, focus and a lot of enthusiasm and a concentrated effort on the road.
The 2-3 zone worked well for you guys the other night. Is that something that you guys feel like you can go back to?
It's something that we really don't want to go back to. But it seemed to work a lot. We'd rather run man-to-man defense, but the zone seemed to be working better than our man-to-man defense. We looked at tape today. We've just got to step it up a lot more on our man-to-man defense. We can't rely on the zone to get us through.
Do you know before each game which Iowa team is going to show up?
You don't know until you get out there. Hopefully it's the team that came out with a lot more enthusiasm verus Minnesota. But we still had some letdowns in that game. The final six minutes. we were up 20 and wound up winning by 15.
Can you talk about Illinois' guards? Does that concern you at all?
They're strong. They're physical. They're quick. Dee Brown is extremely quick. It should be a lot of fun. It's going to be a great game for us to show where we're at as far as guards go. They're the quickest in the league.
Is it a cause for concern that they've lost two in a row?
They're going to be hungry just like we were after our loss to Northwestern. We've just got to be ready for them. We have to go in there mentally focused and physically ready.
Is the key to keep their guards out of the lane and from penetrating?
Right. That's a key to our defense is keeping them out of the lane, keeping Dee Brown from penetrating and kicking. They've got some big guys that they're going to dump it down to. If we can keep them out of the lane, we should be in good shape.
Do you guys feel comfortable going back to the 2-3 zone?
It's kind of a matchup zone that we run. We've always had success with that. I like that defense. I like it a lot because you can get some steals. That's going to be something we'll probably run (against Illinois) because it helps keep their guards out of the lane.