Jan. 12, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — When 13th-ranked Michigan visits Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday afternoon, the University of Iowa men’s basketball team is chalking it up as another opportunity.
“We’ve got another chance,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery at his weekly press conference Thursday in the Media Room inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “We’ve got another chance to play against a team that is ranked, and play better and focus harder.”
Michigan comes to Iowa City with a 14-3 overall and 4-3 Big Ten record. The Wolverines posted a 66-64 overtime victory against Northwestern on Tuesday night in Ann Arbor.
A pair of underclassmen — Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Trey Burke — are leading Michigan in scoring, averaging 16.1 and 14.1 points, respectively. Burke, a freshman point guard, also leads the team with 5.1 assists.
“I expect us to play better. I expect us to play better in a number of different facets of the game. We have to. We have a really good team coming in here.”
UI head coach Fran McCaffery
“They’ve got a great point guard who can penetrate (Burke) and one of the best players in college basketball in Hardaway, who can drive and shoot,” said McCaffery. “They have other great shooters on the perimeter and a legitimate big man who is not only rebounding and being physical, but being physical, rebounding and scoring. That’s going to test your defense in a lot of ways.”
“We have to make sure we rebound and the defensive intensity has to be a lot better,” said sophomore guard Roy Devyn Marble. “The focus has to be on the perimeter because they shoot a lot of 3s.”
McCaffery looks for the Hawkeyes to toughen up following a pair of losses to No. 6 Ohio State (76-47) and at 10th-ranked Michigan State (95-61).
“I expect us to play better,” said McCaffery, who will be coaching his 50th game with the Hawkeyes on Saturday. “I expect us to play better in a number of different facets of the game. We have to. We have a really good team coming in here.”
McCaffery said a change to the starting lineup could be on the horizon. He made the switch coming out of the locker room in East Lansing, electing to start Bryce Cartwright for Eric May and Aaron White for Zach McCabe. He could follow suit on Saturday.
“There is a good likelihood there will be a change, but I haven’t discussed it with any of our players yet,” he said. “I haven’t definitively decided if we are going to do it.”
McCaffery commented on the video that has gone viral of him slamming a chair to the floor during the loss at Michigan State.
“If anybody thinks I’m going to sit there with my hands crossed when we’re down 40, they got the wrong guy,” he said. “I was brought in here to change the culture. I’m going to coach with passion, and my players know that. They also know I’m going to fight for them.
“I have no regrets, I have no apologies, none whatsoever. I’m going to continue to coach the same way, and we’re going to keep working, improving, battling and fighting until we’re up by 40.”
Saturday’s game will be televised on the BTN with Eric Collins and Shon Morris calling the play-by-play.