Coach Alford Pre-Indiana Press Conference

Iowa Coach Steve Alford and Star Forward Greg Brunner met with the Media on Monday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Among the topics of discussion were Tuesday's game with Indiana, how they handled the Michigan State blowout, how they intend to handle the Hoosiers inside force, Marco Killingsworth, a review of ESPN's The Season, Tuesday Gold Rush game and more. Read all about it in this Premium Press Conference transcript.

Coach Alford

Why is Indiana shooting the 3-point shot so well this year?

They made them last year when D.J. (White) was on. A maturity comes into play. Vaden was a freshman. Ratliff was a freshman. Strickland was just a junior. Monroe wasn't there. Calloway wasn't there. D.J. presented that inside presence that Killingsworth is presenting, but now those guards are a year older so they understand a little better what good shot, bad shot is. They're really getting a lot of open looks. When you get that many open looks and they're good looks, your chances of knocking them down just go up. That's what's happening. And Killingsworth is drawing such big attention defensively, that it's opening up an awful lot from the perimeter.

How do you handle Killingsworth?

Well, it's almost pick your poison. He's capable of giving you 40. You try to do things to him and the guards can give you over 40 from the 3-point line. We've just got to do a really good job from the standpoint of team defense; be aware of where Marco is at, continue to run different people at him whether it be Erek, Bru, Doug, Seth, just keep trying to keep him off balance. Then, Make him work at the other end as well. That's going to be a big key as well. Then, don't lose track of the guards. I've never been a real big double-the-post guy. So, you get to doubling the post and you're going to be in a constant closeout drill to where it's really going to allow a lot of freedom for those guards to get baskets. It's going to have to be a good team defensive effort, not just the big that's guarding Marco.

Is there anything you do with Erek in terms of keeping him in the game and away from fouls?

No. We've already forgotten it. (Sunday), we met at 5:30 and at 5:40 we no longer talked about the last game. That's really the only game all year that he's been in foul trouble. He'd be the first to tell you that they were really bad fouls that he hadn't been getting. We just marked that one up and we move on. We don't anticipate a lot of teams winning in (The Breslin Center). It was an opportunity to get one up on everybody else and that didn't happen and that's really the only thing that was lost with that. As of 5:40, our whole attention was directed at Indiana and Ohio State. What Erek has done on a whole this year has been very, very good. That's what we want him thinking about.

So, do you think your team still has confidence?

I think so. (Monday) was a very good practice. We went at it, not long, but pretty hard for an hour and 15, an hour and 20 minutes. They got a lift in and the spirits were good. It's just kind of how you handle it. We met at 5:30 and that's what we talked about. It was an opportunity that you're going to have. There are going to be six other teams that go into the Breslin Center. If somebody gets them, then that's the team that gets one up on everybody else. You look at past history in the Breslin and not a lot of people win in there. If they play the way that they played against us, I don't think that anybody is going to win in there. They had a whole week to prepare for us. We had less than 48 hours. It's not an excuse. On that given day, they were a much better basketball team than we were. But we've got to move on from that and know that we're still in very good shape. More important than that road game is these next two home games.

Does it put pressure on you knowing that you want to avoid a losing streak?

No. We got beat at Wisconsin and then won three in a row. We're the first team in the league to have a three-game winning streak this season. Now, we've dropped one and we've got to start another streak. We come back home and play a team that's a game ahead of us in the standings. There haven't been a lot of key road wins out there yet. That's what they're fighting for. If we're able to get Tuesday night's, then we're even with the team (Ohio State) we play on Saturday. That's the importance of this week.

How different are they without White?

You look at last year's team and instead of White you get Killingsworth. The guards are more mature. They're very similar to a year ago, just more mature as a basketball team. If you've got White and Killingsworth in there, then there are differences. With that said, White, as good as he was, was a freshman. We're talking about a fifth-year senior in Killingsworth.

Do you need to get more offensive production from Mike Henderson?

I don't want to just keep hammering on Saturday, but Mike played nearly 50 minutes against Minnesota. That was his career high. He played very well. He's always been able to get key baskets for us. But he's really been a defensive force. The offense we get from him is just going to be a plus. More important is his defense. The thing that I was discouraged with is that he didn't control Neitzel very well. Neitzel was really good in that game. I would rather Mike's offense come because of what happens with what he's doing defensively. He, like a lot of our guys, struggled with that quick turnaround playing a career high in minutes.

What does wearing gold do mentally for the team?

Oh, I don't know. If it does something mentally for them, I hope it's positive. It's a marketing deal. We're just trying to paint Carver gold. It was pretty impressive in Kinnick being black. That gave it a whole different kind of feel in there. It was kind of an eery feel and a neat football atmosphere. We're trying to do the same thing on Tuesday night with ESPN in here. We want to highlight our building as much as we can. A lot of that has to do with the Students. The students are in gold just about every game. This gives the typical fan the chance to dress like the students. Hopefully we can get as much going as we can in there.

When you're in scoring droughts, is there a play or an area you go to break out of it?

You can go a lot of different ways. We talked about that (Sunday). When we have an empty possession, we need to make sure that the next time down it's trying to get fouled and get to the free throw line, attack the basket, get a paint score. You can't have an empty possession and come down and shoot a 22-footer or take a shot off of one pass. You've got to really try to work that defense. If you have a second empty possession, you have to concentrate on that even more. Hopefully we can work on that going forward here.

Kobe had 81 (Sunday) night. What are your thoughts on that?

I'd have questions for the D-coordinator in Toronto. (Laughter) It is amazing. It's a pretty remarkable feat being a swing guy. With everybody being so big now, that's the different between now and 40 years ago. When Wilt played, there weren't a lot of guys his size. Now, you've got guards that are 6-7, 6-8 and 220 and 225 pounds. For him to do that in this era is a phenomenal feat.


What do you think of Killingsworth coming in here?

The whole Indiana team is amazing. They have a great shooting team which helps them out. Killingsworth has a lot more chance to have 1 on 1 on the block with a team that shoots like that.

What do you do to rebound from a loss like you had Saturday?

Play a lot better, I hope. From what I read after the game, Coach Izzo said that that's the best they've played in two years. It's not very fun when they do it against us. But it was one of those situations where they didn't miss and we didn't make any shots. We've moved on and we're looking forward to playing Indiana.

Was it a matter of them being more intense than you guys in the second half?

They made six of there first nine shots. On a couple, we had our hands in their face and it didn't stop them. We've just to live with it.

How do react when you guys are going through a scoring drought?

We struggled with that last game. We'd have an empty possession. They'd come down and hit a three, and then we'd just jack up another 3. We'd come down and have another empty possession and they'd score another big basket. It hit us all at once. In situations like that, especially being a senior-oriented team, you have to know that you can't do that. We got into trying to bring everything back with one or two baskets instead of getting some easy things and slowly progressing that way.

You haven't lost at home yet. How critical is it this week?

You always want to go undefeated at home. I don't think any team in history as gone undefeated in Carver. (Tuesday) should be a fun game. We have a great environment and hopefully a lot of fans come out for this Gold Rush Game.

What are your thoughts on the Gold Rush?

I'm happy they‘re starting to do a lot of these things. They're making it more fun for the crowd. I'd like to see just a pure yellow arena. It looks a lot better for ESPN. It's intimidation, also.

Have you seen The Season?

I haven't seen it yet. I'm waiting for my copy from Weick, but he just keeps putting it off. I heard it's pretty good, though.

They've got a shot of you guys playing poker and watching CBS-2 when Kevin Hall calls you guys pathetic. What was your thought when you heard him say that?

I think I won a lot of chips in that hand. I'm happy and hopefully I can continue with my poker playing going up like it has

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