A Final Nonconference Test

Dec. 21, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery says Boise State will test his Hawkeyes and prepare them for the rigors of the Big Ten Conference schedule.

“What Boise brings in here tomorrow night is what is coming 18 more times after that,” said McCaffery during Wednesday’s media teleconference. “They have quality players at every position with a winning attitude.”

The Broncos bring a 9-3 record into Iowa City, winning all nine games at home and dropping all three road contests. Boise State lost at Long Beach State (77-62), LSU (64-45) and Denver (79-62).

“You can tell they have talent,” said McCaffery. “They have size, speed and shooters. They remind me of some of the teams on our schedule already. They have seven 3-point shooters, drivers and size in the post.”

Freshman Anthony Drmic, a native of Australia, is pacing the Broncos with 14 points per game, but his availability for Thursday night is questionable because of an ankle sprain suffered Monday night.

“He does everything,” said McCaffery of Drmic. “He’s a handful. You have to pay attention and know where he is. You have to pick him up early and stay with him. They’ll run stuff for him and if he scores, they’ll come back to him. He’s that good.”

McCaffery wants to see his Hawkeyes play well and continue building momentum before next week’s Big Ten opener against Purdue.

“We need to figure out how to win, figure out how to overcome stretches if we’re not playing well,” said McCaffery. “And overcome stretches when the other team is playing well. We have to do that against good teams, and we have a good team coming in here.”

Following Monday’s 105-64 rout of Central Arkansas, McCaffery told his players to “flush” the victory to get them focused on the Broncos.

“It really was a reflection of how good I thought they (Boise State) were,” said McCaffery. “I don’t know if our guys fully knew and understood we were playing a team that was 9-3 that has really good players. To get their attention, I needed to say that.

“Based on how we practiced yesterday, they understand that this is one of the best teams on our schedule right now.”

Freshman Aaron White has been solid for the team in victories over Drake and Central Arkansas. He scored 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting against the Bulldogs before making 8-of-13 attempts en route to 17 points in the rout of the Bears.

“What you’re seeing is a guy that has talent who is becoming more comfortable with what we need him to do and what our team needs him to do,” said McCaffery. “He’s going to keep getting better.”

Thursday is a women/men doubleheader inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The UI women’s team hosts Mississippi Valley State at 5 p.m. followed by the men’s game beginning at approximately 7:30 p.m. Both games will be televised on Mediacom Connections.

Men’s basketball ticket holders can attend the women’s game for free and vice versa.