Jan. 14, 2011
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PARDON OUR PROGRESS! As friends of the University of Iowa and fans of the Hawkeyes know, the UI Athletics Department is well into a multi-million dollar revitalization of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. This important and exciting project has reduced for this season the number of ticket windows that are operational on game nights. Fans attending the home events of the 2010-11 UI men’s basketball, women’s basketball and wrestling teams are invited to avoid game night delays by purchasing their event tickets online or in advance of game day. If your schedule doesn’t allow for an advance purchase, we recommend you consider arriving at the Arena a little earlier than originally planned. Go Hawks!
IOWA CITY, Iowa — How does the University of Iowa men’s basketball team bounce back from Wednesday’s loss before playing its fourth top-25 team in five games?
“There’s only one thing that’s going to take care of that: we’ve got to have a better game,” UI head coach Fran McCaffery said Friday at a gathering of media inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “We’ve got to play better. We can teach and we can break the film down and we can make teaching points and we can get them out there and work them hard. They’re good kids. They’ll bounce back.”
Iowa’s next opportunity to bounce back is Sunday, Jan. 16, at No. 25 Minnesota (13-4 overall, 2-3 Big Ten Conference) in Williams Arena. Minnesota is 12-1 at home with six straight wins.
“They have pieces,” McCaffery said. “You can get up and pressure (Al) Nolen, but if you do and you hop off of (Blake) Hoffarber, he’s going to kill you. You’ve got a shooter, you’ve got a point guard, you’ve got a high flier, you’ve got two big guys and then you’ve got a beast. And then you’ve got freshmen that come off the bench who can play.”
The Golden Gophers average 5.2 more rebounds a game than their opponents and they are led by Trevor Mbakwe, who pulls down 10.4 per game.
“There’s only one thing that’s going to take care of that: we’ve got to have a better game. We’ve got to play better. We can teach and we can break the film down and we can make teaching points and we can get them out there and work them hard. They’re good kids. They’ll bounce back.”
UI head coach
The play of point guard Bryce Cartwright was a bright spot for Iowa against Northwestern on Jan. 12. Cartwright, who made 2 of 10 from the field three days earlier at Purdue, bounced back to score 25 points with five assists and just two turnovers in 38 minutes.
“I felt like he would come back,” McCaffery said. “He’s learning and he’s becoming a much better point guard day by day.”
Cartwright is one of two Hawkeyes who average in double figures in scoring (11.0 in 16 games). He leads the team in assists (4.6 per game) and is third in steals (1.2).
McCaffery indicated that sophomore forward Eric May is “not 100 percent (recovering from a groin injury), but he’s pretty good.”
During three Big Ten games, May is averaging 5.0 points and 1.3 rebounds a game, while making 4 of 15 field goals.
“Now he just needs to have a bust-out game and I think he’ll be fine,” McCaffery said. “His confidence is clearly struggling right now, but he’s my starter, he’s in the starting lineup and I’m going to give him the minutes that he needs to play through it.”
Iowa is trying to snap a four-game losing skid and McCaffery said the Hawkeyes didn’t respond the way he thought after a 23-point loss at Purdue, a game he termed a “wake-up call.”
“Some of it is the fact that we played two really good teams (Purdue and Northwestern) who outplayed us,” McCaffery said. “Losses in themselves would not have been unpredicted by some, but we shouldn’t be losing by that many points in my opinion. I think we’re better than that.”
After losing at home to undefeated Ohio State by five points, Iowa turned around and lost to Purdue and then by 19 at home Jan. 12 to Northwestern.
“It’s hard to win when you give a team 10 3’s in the first half,” McCaffery said. “The focus and concentration necessary to beat a good team wasn’t there, so we have to get that corrected.”
The Wildcats made 10 3-point field goals in the first half and 14 for the game Wednesday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes return to the road Wednesday when they face No. 2 and undefeated Ohio State in Columbus. Iowa’s next home game is Sunday, Jan. 23, against Indiana.