NC State on Wednesday night. What are your thoughts on the Wolfpack?
They're a very good team, a very deep team. We haven't done a scouting report on them yet. Not quite sure how they play but I've heard they play like Northwestern. We better be ready to defend for 35 seconds and be on our toes.
They've got some size. You're probably going to go up against somebody that's a couple of inches taller than you.
Coach told me today that I was guarding someone that's 6-7. So, it's going to be a lot of fun. I have to watch the post. I'm just pretty excited to get the chance to play them and get back into the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. It should be a good one. I saw today that they're ranked 21st. It should be a good match-up and should draw a good crowd.
How nice is it to be back in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge?
It feels good. I don't know how many years it's been that they've beaten us and we haven't been able to take part in it. Hopefully we can be part of getting back on a winning track for the Big Ten and show people that we're a quality conference.
Is it a big deal for you guys or not?
It is a big deal. Last year, I watched a lot of the Big Ten teams play in the challenge and I was rooting for the Big Ten teams because everyone says that we had a down conference. Then, we send two teams to the Final Four. It's tough to rate a conference early in the season.
Is this a way for the Big Ten to get national respect?
I think so. I think a lot of analysts made a big deal about it last year of the ACC whipping up on us. If we can do that to them this year, it will be big for us.
What part of your game are you looking to improve after five games?
I've struggled shooting. I'm not hiding it. It will come. We're getting wins and that's all that matters right now. I juts need to relax a little bit and just calm down and get my feet set.
Is the way out of it to keep shooting?
I'm going to continue shooting the ball. This team needs me to shoot the ball. If stuff isn't going down, I need to create plays in other ways for other guys to make shots.
Coach said it's your balance. Is that what it is for you?
Yeah. The two shots that I made the other day I was straight up and down. The couple shots that I took that I missed I'm falling back. I'm just wondering about getting my shot off too soon, a quick release. I've got to quit thinking about it and just go up for a straight shot every time.
How's your health?
It's been pretty good. I've been in here the passed two days non-stop. I've got a pretty bad thigh bruise on the upper left leg. You can still feel it right now, but I've just got to work through it. Hopefully in these next two days we can see where we're at.
What are your thoughts on the ACC-Big Ten Challenge?
It's a great competition. You have two of the tougher conferences in the nation. If you're the conference to pull out a win here, it's going to help you in the long run. We've lost two in a row, maybe even more than that, but it's been a struggle lately. Hopefully we can get the Big Ten back on track.
Is the event just about winning the game or is it conference pride also?
It's a little bit of everything. You want to win as many games as possible. It's going to set you up in the long run. Of course, you always want to represent your conference as best as you can. That's one of your main focuses. We're playing in a conference that's had such great history that you want to make sure that continue to improve that.
How hard is it to balance all these games with school work?
We have five games in the next 10 days up until finals week. But a lot of teachers like to give finals during the week before. So, we're gone Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday that week. So, you have to mix and match with your teachers to make sure you can get everything in and try to focus on basketball but still maintain enough interest in academics that you can get the grades you need to get.
Is that hard?
It's difficult. But as a senior you have learned tricks that will help you. But it's hard. Athletes have to put a lot of time in their sports and a lot of time in academics.
You guys have played a lot of prestigious programs already this year and you have more all the way through the season. What's it going to take to get Iowa to the level of some of these schools?
Our goal is as it always has been, which is to continue to get better, especially this season class. We want to make sure that we hand everything off in the right direction. In doing that, you've got to win crucial games. To play these programs, it's an amazing feeling because you know get to play great competition every night.
You guys jumped to 14th in the AP poll. Does that sound right to you that you have a Top 15 team?
We want to keep getting better. I'm never going to be happy with where we're at. As long as our team continues to improve, it's going to benefit us the most. This team has the work ethic and the determination to do that.
Why do you think the ACC has had the upper hand against the Big Ten?
We haven't really played well in the non-conference season. When you get into the postseason, that's where we've usually played well. I don't know. They've had great teams. Our goal is to just go out and represent the Big Ten the right way.
How's your health situation? You're all wrapped up on your ankles.
It's just old age, you know, bumps and bruises. That's all what it's about. You get used to it.
NC State comes in with a lot of size. What do you do different defensively?
Our guys are all hard-headed and determined. They're going to come out and
fight as hard as they can. I know that NC State is going to do the same thing.
It's just going to be a situation with whoever plays the hardest and outworks
the other team.