What do you think Iowa needs to do to get itself in the Big Dance?
Win. That's really what they have to concentrate on that this point. They need to secure that No. 4 spot in the Big Ten (standings). I have no idea, but they say that the Big Ten might only get four this year. Then, maybe you get in and win the Big Ten Tournament and not have to worry about the selection process. I have no idea what they can do to get their RPI in the 40s where you're almost guaranteed an at large bid. You don't know what's going to happen when you're in the 50s, 60s, 70s. They just need to keeping winning. And I like how they've been playing. They have four games left, two at home and two on the road. I think that the players believe that they're all winnable games. We've just got it going right now. Bru and Glen and battling inside. Brody is shooting the ball tremendously. Pierre is unstoppable off of the dribble. And Jeff is just clutch. He kind of holds it all together. He's the glue.
What has been the key or keys to Brody Boyd's growth as a player?
In looking at and talking with Brody, it think it's physical maturity and conditioning. Whether it's the amount of minutes he's gotten or just his desire to be in the best shape of his life, he's just able to go hard all of the time. I don't know if that was there in the past. I just know that it's there now. He is always moving and never lets the defender rest. He has a great bounce in his step during the first part of the game, and pretty much keeps going throughout. My dad gets a kick out of him. He says that they can't see the little guy, and he just sneaks in there and gets all of those steals, swatting the ball away from the big guys or getting into passing lanes. He and Glen also have done a great job as seniors leading this team. The conditioning is the key for Brody though. He has more quickness now.
Sometimes it can be said that it hurts a team on a roll to get some extended time off. Do you like the break coming now for Iowa?
Yeah. It's a perfect time. They can step back They just laid it all out there against Ohio State. This allows the coaches to get out and do some recruiting. The players get a chance to get off of their feet and rest up a bit after a tough stretch. They can rest their minds and their bodies. They can get healed up kind of. They also get some action on the court probably staying away from a lot of physical contact but also staying sharp. The coaches and players can prepare for the stretch run.
Iowa played right with the Illini in the first game. What do you anticipate and what do you look for on Wednesday?
A great crowd and a soldout building to start. I hope people really come out and support this team because they deserve it. Come out and wear your school colors whether it be black or gold. We have been seeing a lot of the coordination of colors in the crowds on the roads. We need to market that kind of thing at home. Get the crowd all together and energizing a team that's real exciting to root for.
As far as Illinois, you've really got to stop Deron Williams. He really makes them go. Roger Powell also had a big game against us the first time. He's a lot like Greg (Brunner). He's not a big guy. He's like 6-7 or so. But he's very active around the basket. And maybe we can get Erek Hansen in there to match up with Nick Smith. We can't put Smith on the foul line. He was 10 for 10 in the first game.
Speaking of Erek Hansen. What are your impressions of his game and his progress at this point?
Tremendous. He's a force in there. He really changed things around in there against Ohio State. Radinovic and Dials were tough in the early part of that game. Greg and Glen were battling in there, but the size was a problem. Erek came in and swatted a few of their shots and you could see them looking around the rest of the game wondering where the big fella was. He's really a difference maker in there. He's a good athlete. He runs the floor. He changes how other teams play.
It seems like the statisticians have missed some of his blocks the last few games.
Yeah. Maybe it can be like football where the coaches go back and fix the stats once they look at tape. We said something to the people in Columbus. I didn't like the explanation, but a secruity worker said that the last game that they played, Radinovic had three blocks and didn't get credit for any.
What was the explanation, if you don't mind me asking?
You'll have to ask (Iowa Associate Sports Information Director) Steve Roe. It was something like that Erek was getting them before they were shots. They were considered deflections or something like that. I don't know. I had him for four blocks.
Minnesota seems to be playing better. Do you anticipate a tough game next Saturday?
Yeah. They have a good coach. Dan has been fighting it all year. I heard something the other day after Humphries had 36 points and 12 rebounds. Somebody added that he also had a career-high one assist. He's probably a one-and-done kid and then off to the NBA. They're playing the role of spoiler right now, and seem to be doing a good job of it. Humphries is the key. You've got to take him out of it. We did a good job of that the first time.