Lickliter Talks About Iowa's Win over OSU

It's hard to believe that Iowa could beat a team that it had lost to by 31 points just 24 days ago, but that is what happened in Carver Hawkeye Arena on Saturday as the Hawks beat Ohio State 55-49. It was a proper celebration of CHA's 25th anniversary, to boot. Read with Todd Lickliter had to say in this complete Q&A

Todd Lickliter Opening Statement

There are times in athletics that are not so much fun, but as I said, when we went over there, we really weren't in that game. It hurt. I thought we responded well coming back and playing Michigan State, playing a good game. But we could have been deflated, it drives you one way or another. These guys responded well. I think they are proud to be Hawkeyes, they want to represent Iowa in a positive way and compete with a lot of spirit and I respect them for that. This was a big challenge for them. That really wasn't a game over there.

Our guys prepared well, they worked hard and sometimes things go well for you when that happens. I think we defended well, but they went 3-21 from three, so you have to be fortunate, too. I thought our guys understood their assignments and helped each other and competed together. That was really big. For the most part, we were fairly poised. We started the second half offensively a little bit shaky. For the most part we were poised and patient and it paid off. Guys have to step up and make shots, and Justin and Seth did. Guys were content in doing what they had to to be successful. I am proud of our guys and its always tough to play a friend.

Q: Did Seth find a hole in the zone tonight, or did you see it on film all week?

Todd Lickliter: (The OSU loss last month) wasn't Seth's fault. Over there, we went with a different alignment. It was a coaching error. I would say something smart and you would write it and people would think I was bragging. That wasn't the first mistake I have made. I did make a calculated error in that I thought we were more focused on the baseline over there. Then we came back and said that we were better served if we put Seth in the middle and have him reverse it. He does a great job with that. It as really a coaching error over there, it wasn't Seth's fault, it was mine.

Q: Can you expand on Justin Johnson's night?

Lickliter: He will tell you that I have been tutoring him, and working with him. No. I believe shot selection is the most important part. I have never doubted Justin, he is a terrific shooter, he has to be set and shoot really good shots. He got anxious a few games. This game he was poised and we found him, and good things will happen when we do that. He has shown he is capable of making those shots.

Q: Is that the loudest the crowd has been since you have been here?

Lickliter: I can't gauge that. I appreciate the crowd that was here. They were really good. I think you would enjoy watching this team, and I think they got their monies worth. I am glad they were here, I enjoy having a big crowd here. We see that on the road, and it's nice to pay them back.

Q: Your passing was crisp in the first half. Is that the best example of your system we have seen?

Lickliter: The one thing is they were zoning, and you have more freedom to pass. You have to make decisions. A lot of time its vision and decision, not technique. We can be better than what we have been. I think Ohio State had one turnover in the second half; that is well done. We played all man except for one possession. I think it can be done, I wish it had been done last Wednesday. To respond and do it today was all that we had in front of us. That is the way that the guys responded and I am proud of them.

Q: Most of Justin's shots seemed to come late in the shot clock. Is that breaking down a defense?

Lickliter: I always think that defense is less energetic, effective, towards the end. The less dribbling we did, the better off we were. I like dribbling as long as we are doing something with it. I think that Seth's reversing it, guys finding them, I thought we did a better job of finishing plays when we got in the middle of the zone. We had two or three were we dropped it down where we didn't convert that were really nice plays.

Q: What a way to honor the 25th year celebration of Carver Hawkeye Arena?

Lickliter: I don't have anything to say for that. We were trying to concentrate on Ohio State. It's a great building, with a great tradition, great players that have played here and we are honored to be here, but Ohio State was our focus.

Q: How much has Seth improved from a month or two ago?

Lickliter: I sure hope we all get better as we go through life. Seth has been a guy that has focused every day he has come in. One thing is that he realizes that I am comfortable with him playing the way he is comfortable playing. That is two comfortable guys, you know? I think that leads to him being able to make plays. Let's face it, he is 7-feet, he faces well, traditionally you might say go down on the block. But he is better at facing. He threw one skip pass today that was terrific, to Justin. He is capable of that. I am a firm believer in letting guys playing to their strength.

Q: Is he better getting more minutes?

Lickliter: No, the other way. The better he is, the more minutes he gets.

Q: On the teleconference this week, you said you were going to give them more looks against the zone…

Lickliter: I probably said that so you'd think I was coaching. We probably did and Seth helped us on that. Most of it was making plays, being patient, getting shooters spotted up. It looks better when they are shooting it in. Jake hit a big one, Jeff hit a big one. You have to play Tony. They have to go out and play him. There were questions about Justin. If they have to play Tony, and he is at 28 feet, that opens up things for Seth. That is the way a team works. If we look at the end result only, we won't always see the benefit of the individual. If they don't guard Tony out there, he will shoot it in, so he is a real plus to us on the floor.

Q: You did a great job of defending Butler tonight.

Lickliter: I thought when we went over there last time, I made the adjustment offensively. I take full responsibility for that. But defensively, we did not execute. We didn't adhere to our assignments, and that cost us. Today, they were more focused. Give Butler the credit for that, he is so good you had better be. I thought Tony did a good job, but he was not alone. That last possession, Seth switched and defended. That is the way it should be. We need our defense to be a team effort.

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