Lickliter : Tate Ready to Play

The Iowa Hawkeyes, fresh off their 70-60 overtime win against Michigan, will travel to East Lansing to take on Michigan State on Wednesday. Fresh might not be the best choice of words, as four of Iowa's five starters logged 45 minutes on Sunday. Todd Lickliter talks about his team's depth, provides an injury update and more...

Q: Can you provide a medical update?

Todd Lickliter: How long do we have? We have more guys on the mend than we have healthy, don't we? Cyrus is going to be a go from here on out. I think we are past that. That is a coaches feeling now; I am not a medical expert, but he told me yesterday he felt really good. That is encouraging. I don't think Cyrus is 100 percent, but he is close enough to where he doesn't have the pain to the point where it will hinder him. Jeff is day to day, making progress. Jermaine is day to day and I think those are the only ones. We haven't practiced yet today, and that could change with our luck. But we are OK other than that.

Q: In Cyrus' situation, what kind of minutes are you looking at him playing?

Lickliter: I think, as I am looking at it, I am hoping we can start where we were at Northwestern, maybe seven minutes a half. But I am not going to limit him. We will have to watch his conditioning. He has been in the bike and pool, but there is a difference in playing. We will have to watch that. We have a few more guaranteed games, so we have to work him back in.

Q: Are you worried about the team recovering physically after your starters played so many minutes against Michigan?

Lickliter: I am really not concerned. Part of what we do is try to be efficient as far as our non-competition days. I really believe they will recover and be fine. That is kind of their conditioning day, when they play. Then we do a lot of mental work and preparation work and try to save their legs in between. I am not concerned. With that said, Michigan State is one of the fastest teams I have witnessed and they are one of the most physical, so it will take a lot of energy.

Q: Do you expect Michigan State to try and do anything differently with Jake at the point?

Lickliter: I would have to speculate and I am not good at that. We have to assume they are going to play the way that they have been playing that has been successful against nearly everyone, so they will play that way and that is the way we will prepare for it. I can't imagine them making an adjustment for us. With that said, the way they play is physical, aggressive, fast, there is good executi9n and there is a reason why they are at the top of the league.

Q: How is Michigan State different than the last time you played them?

Lickliter: They have added a few sets and Morgan is playing some for them. With Tom (Izzo), as you have watched, his teams continue to grow. They emphasize things that are important to them and to anybody, the way they play. They are going to keep getting better because of the way they approach the game. I do think that playing there is tough; their students are down around the floor which I think is conducive to helping your team. I think it's a great environment to play in. We should look forward to it, but it's a good environment for the home team.

Q: Will you go deeper into your bench because of Michigan State's speed?

Lickliter: It will be interesting. We will have to take a look. The thing about it, and I have said this, I am old enough to remember before there were media timeouts. It's four minute spurts right now, and that is if you don't have timeouts or stoppages. Hopefully you can play at a high rate of speed with a lot of energy for four minutes and take a couple minute rest and go back at it again.

Q: What about staying out of foul trouble?

Lickliter: We are not going to do that (laughs). We were able to play without fouling the other night. I think a lot of it is being in a stance and being in tune. What happens a lot, the reason you foul is because you are behind, because you are reacting rather than involved. The teams we play, they will have your attention.

Q: Playing a team like this, do you expect your defense to play the way they have, or do you not want to take any unnecessary risks because of your lack of bench?

Lickliter: We try to play without fouling anyway. If we can play the right position and be in position, you can avoid a lot of fouls. I don't think fouling is a good thing. Hopefully we can play with our feet and keep our hands off and play a game where we can contest without fouling, no matter who we are playing. But Michigan State is very aggressive and that puts a premium on your positioning.

Q: You talked about student seating; would you like to see the students at Iowa closer to the court?

Lickliter: I have been really impressed with the venues where the students have been really close. I think we have a great student section, but some are pretty far away. I would like to see them down close, giving us that boost, where you can feel the energy. Like at Illinois, their students are wrapped around the floor. Michigan created some bleacher seating a few years back, and they are right on courtside behind your benches. I think it creates a good environment. I like fans to be close. I think Carver is a great venue. If you came to a game and sat anywhere in this building, you would have a good seat as far as being able to see the game and feel the action. It's good seating. The students seem to have a lot of energy and enjoy being physically involved. At Michigan, they are jumping up and down. At Michigan State, their involved. They are moving with the game and there is an energy there that you can't deny.

Q: You have at least five more guaranteed games. Have you given much thought, if you play well, to some of the post season tournaments that are out there?

Lickliter: I really haven't thought about that. I read somewhere it said don't build bridges you may never have to cross. We know what is out there, but we are taking care of today, trying to get better today, prepare well and the thing about it is; Michigan State demands every bit of your attention. We want to be a better team. We have had to make a lot of adjustments. Somebody showed what we were missing the other day as far as guys out. We have not dwelled on that and our players have not used any excuses, but I don't know that there is a team that has had to make any more adjustments than we have. Our leading rebounder, our leading scorer, our backup point guard and our point guard. It's demanding for us to be involved with the task at hand.

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