Steve Alford Postgame Presser

Steve Alford spoke with the media following Iowa's win over Maryland-Eastern Shore Monday night. Read what the coach had to say about his team's performance in this premium update.

Steve Alford: I thought this was really a good way to start the tournament. Obviously we're in a tournament situation, not an opening situation, so it's a little bit different feel than what Maui was, because in Maui we had played an opener. This kind of combines and opener/tournament deal. I was very pleased with what we did, I felt we were really consistent in both halves. There wasn't one half that was good and one half that was average, I thought it was two halves of pretty good basketball at both ends. The things we had set up, I thought our guys really executed a lot of the things we wanted to do.

Q: Talk a little about the tournament atmosphere, in the huddle they announced the Kentucky score, some Oohs and Aahs, it's got to be difficult, just because you don't know what happens on the other side of the bracket.

Alford: That's the nervousness, from a coaching standpoint. We prepare and break down so much tape, you don't have that coming into games like this. You really rely heavily on your leadership. I thought our leadership was tremendous, the start of the game was very good. The start of the 2nd half was very good, you really rely on your leadership among your vets. I thought they did a nice job.

Q: What did you think of Tony Freeman's pass off the glass to Doug Thomas?

Alford: I waited till halftime, I asked Coach Neal if that got deflected or if he really honestly threw that off the backboard. He told me he threw it off the backboard. I said, "I guess I'll address that afterwards." Tony came up to me and said, "I apologize on the pass, because I know if Doug wouldn't have gotten a nice dunk out of that I probably would have been on the bench." And he's right. He's a freshman and there's a fine line there of the balance of the personality. I love his personality. He gets after it at the defensive end. We've not had a freshman that has been able to be as disruptive defensively as what Tony has the capability of doing. He's going to be a lot of fun to watch. He's really doing a nice job for us. I'll give him a little bit of leniency, but that's probably not a pass I'd like for him to throw.

Q: What's the situation with Carlton?

Alford: He's hurt. He just came down hard on his tailbone. He's just got a pretty good bruise to his tailbone area. He hasn't been able to practice the last day and a half, so we felt like we needed to sit him out, get him healed. That's why Justin moved into that spot.

Q: Any information on Angle or Bohall?

Alford: Dan Bohall's a walk-on, and he's talked about the possibility of red shirting as a walk-on, and obviously when you're a walk-on, that's going to be totally your decision, so Dan might end up doing that. Kurt definitely, we recruited him as a red shirt, and that's what's going to happen with him. We'll get a full year with him, and JR's kind of a wait and see situation. We wanted to go through this weekend without playing him and just continue to do more evaluation.

Q: So that's a possible red shirt situation?

Alford: Yeah.

Q: Any concern about legs tomorrow?

Alford: I hope not. I would hope that's what you do with the preparation. Our first exhibition game against Brock, the next day we practiced very hard for 2 hours, took the next day off. We played Wartburg, they really pushed us, the next day we practiced really hard for 2 hours, took the next day off. It's kind of a format we've tried to do, so we need to play hard again tomorrow for two hours, then take Wednesday off. They're prepared for this, we've done this kind of practice regimen now for 2 weeks. We got a lot of good minutes, nobody got 30 minutes tonight, we got a lot of guys in the game, so we should be pretty well rested.

Q: How would you feel if you got to Kansas City and it is Kentucky, Texas, and West Virginia?

Alford: Well, we've got 40 more minutes of basketball. Our approach right now, we knew that part of this tournament was, you had to win 2 home games to have the opportunity to play in Kansas City, so right now our focus is that this is another home game, Colgate is a very experienced team. That's a big concern for us, because tonight was a very young team. Coach has got Iowa ties and does a great job, but he's got almost 10 new faces. We don't see that tomorrow night. We're playing a very experienced team that finished the season very similar to what we did, on a high note, winning a lot of games late, and returning most of their team. Our whole hope is that tonight in scouting and obviously tomorrow is going to be about Colgate.

Q: Talk about your bench.

Alford: I thought our bench was terrific. At halftime we shut their bench out, I think they ended up scoring a little bit at the end there, but I thought our bench was very enthused. I thought they were ready right from the beginning. We missed a lot of lay-ups early in the game, I think just being the opener and the excitement of playing. To finish the game still shooting 51 percent and probably missed anywhere from 8-10 lay-ups, I thought our offense had a lot of efficiency to it. Another game where we forced 20+ turnovers, and hold a team down. 27% shooting and less than 50 points is pretty solid defense.

Q: Erek gets in a little bit of foul trouble, maybe Adam's shooting was a bit off, what are the things you monitor with those two things?

Alford: Adam's shooting, he's 2-5 from 3, ends up 3-9, it's not awful shooting. it's the first game, he makes all his foul shots, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, he's got a pretty good stat line for 26 minutes. Then I look at Erek, he gets in foul trouble. Last year when he gets in foul trouble and plays 4 minutes in a half, he was almost done for the night, he never responded. Part of his maturation is going to be, "Can I get in foul trouble, can I have a tough half and rebound?" I thought tonight, he ended up playing 9 minutes in the second half and gets 5 points, 2 rebounds, blocks a shot, I thought he really responded to being in foul trouble. Obviously we don't want him in foul trouble all the time, but if he does, how does he respond? I thought tonight he responded well.

Q: You guys really pushed the tempo, was that part of the game plan?

Alford: I think that's one of our strengths. I think we can play 9, 10, 11 guys, so we want to try and wear on your, we want to try and pick up full court, play 40 minutes of man-to-man defense with some man pressing. I thought our defense was very good, I thought our transition game, for the most part, was pretty good offensively.

Q: What about your play on the boards, has it improved from the exhibition?

Alford: I think so, we still give up 11 offensive rebounds. Obviously we don't like giving up more than 5. It's a hefty goal, a lofty goal, but I thought we did some nice things. Parham's a very nice player, he's a double-double guy, he got another double-double. I thought we made him earn it, 14 shots, made 5, I thought we made him earn what he did. You look down our stat line and a lot of guys are getting rebounds. Not just Bru and Doug, we had a lot of guys rebounding.

Q: Does Doug have the potential to be a Reggie kind of rebounder?

Alford: He looks like that. I think he understands, it's a comfort level. You come in here, your first year, regardless of whether you're a junior college or a true freshman, it's hard. Players don't understand how hard it is to play at this level. I think last year was just that unfamiliarity, not really knowing what's going on. He's much more confident, he's had a great summer, he's healthy, he was not healthy this time last year, he's got great bounce to him right now, he's much more comfortable in how to play at this level. I think we're seeing that right now.

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