Iowa is in first place after the first day, with a meet high seven wrestlers still on the championship side of the bracket, plus Morningstar in Conso's. Dan Leclere, who was an 8 seed, lost his first two matches and is out of the tournament. Iowa has 29.5 points after Thursday's first day of competition. The Hawkeyes hold a three-point lead over second-place Nebraska, and Iowa State is in third with 25. ISU has 6 on the championship side and three in conso's. Questions are in bold, Tom Brands' answers follow in regular type.
Q: You won 15 of 18 today, you have to be happy with that?
Tom Brands: I guess I didn't look at it like that, that is a good stat to know. We won 15 of 18? Leclere lost twice, so that is the one that sticks in my head. You know what? This sets this up. W e have seven in the quarterfinals and we have some firepower in the quarters and we have to be ready to go tomorrow morning. Really, it starts all over again for those seven and Ryan Morningstar, I think he has two matches in the morning, but one at a time. We are at Day Two, and it's more critical. But we put ourselves in a decent position even though you are not nine for nine.
Q: Is today about putting yourself in a position for the rest of the tournament?
Brands: There are no honors to wrestle for today, you keep yourself in the championship match one round at a time, picking up bonus points. I think we did a decent job of that, we scored 10 bonus points. We have to keep thinking domination. Slaton, he comes to mind, he is out attacking. We are getting caught with our hands high, impatient a few times and not wrestling complete matches and we have to eliminate that. We have to wrestle hard and smart the entire time. Otherwise, I feel real good about Jay Borschell, he looked very sharp. Especially the first match and the last two thirds of the second match. Perry, I wasn't in his corner. I was looking from afar and that is not fun. That is scary, and you are living vicariously there a little bit. I think he went out and got his first takedown. That is the first time he shot a real hard shot in a while where he got on top, since he has come back from the injury. Everything had been defensive. He has to keep hitting holes.
Q: Did you feel like you could have or should have gone nine for nine?
Brands: For sure. The Leclere match that just happened, can you win that match? We beat the guy earlier in the year. That particular moment, the guy got him. This is what I am talking about. Finish the match all the way. The way that this program has been put in a position to where we can compete like we are competing, you have to attack the whole time. Our guys did that all year. We need to do that tomorrow. Where we had let ups, we didn't do it today. Where we got beat. Morningstar's first match, you have to finish. That has been the key words for him the last six weeks. We have to make things pay off.
Q: Quarterfinal matches are generally big, do you say anything special to them or do they know that?
Brands: These guys have been wrestling for honors…These guys know it and they are getting ready. We have guys that are confident that are winning, too. They are confident in their ability and those are the seven guys that you are seeing in the championship side of the bracket.
Q: Where do you think Fields has gained more confidence?
Brands: I think we had some outside help. Some good outside help. That has helped him to believe. His offense is a little bit more diverse, you could say. It's not just one sided. He can go left or right. He is good defensively, he has a lot of tools to score with. He has always had those tools, but I think he has opened up his head a little bit.