March 20, 2013
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DES MOINES, Iowa — University of Iowa senior 125-pound wrestler Matt McDonough and head coach Tom Brands met were part of two panels that met with media Wednesday in Wells Fargo Arena, a day before the NCAA Wrestling Championships begin.
Here is a transcript of responses from McDonough and Brands:
What do you think about saving the 165-pound match until the end of the 2013 NCAA Championships?
I’m always used to being the first match, so I already have to deal with that in a sense that you have to be ready right away. There is no watching a few matches and getting pumped up — you’re the first one out there. Being the last one out there would be kind of along the same lines — you’re the last thing that everyone sees. There is an exciting factor there that when everyone goes home, you’re going to be the last thing on their mind if you perform the way you’re supposed to.
Does home-mat advantage play a factor in this tournament format?
I think it gets you excited when you have that extra fan base and you can hear them roaring in the stands. With that being said, it really makes no difference where you’re wrestling or how many people are cheering for you. Once that whistle blows then the battle begins; you’re in the moment, and for the best wrestlers it doesn’t affect the outcome of the match or how you’re going to perform if you’re worried about the things you’re supposed to be worried about, which is your offense, your wrestling. It’s obviously something that brings extra excitement, even when you’re at an away arena and there are a lot of people cheering against you. That brings your adrenaline up, too. Being in a home environment where there are a lot of fans behind you is always exciting.
Should you get to the semis and face [Jesse] Delgado [of Illinois] again, what will you have to do differently to get to the championship match?
[I] just have to go out there and wrestle my match. The work has been done and the technique is there and the ability is there. He’s a tough competitor; we’ve wrestled five times or so. I’ve done what I needed to do to win that match in the past, in order to do that in the future I have to be in the positions that I’m strongest at. It’s just a matter of wrestling a smart match where you’re having fun, but you’re scoring a lot of points. Scoring points is always what you have to do to win, but scoring offensive points is going to make the difference.
Having the home event is good. When I say home, I am referring to the home state. It is familiar territory more or less. I don’t know how much of an advantage it is unless you go out and wrestle hard. That is simply what we have to do. We just have to take it one match at a time and everything else you are used to hearing from coaches. I am not going to give any predictions. We will have to have all nine guys go forward the way that they can go forward.
On Iowa’s up and down season and how you have gotten them ready for the tournament…
I think it’s an individual sport deserves and an individual approach to each guy. We have been getting them ready to wrestle their best tournament one match at a time. I could probably answer that longer if you wanted me to, but there isn’t a lot to do. You just don’t do a 180 and go a different direction. If you look at our rides at the Big Ten [Conference Tournament] and is that a concern? We have to have consistent performances to do well here, so it is absolutely a concern if you are trying to win the tournament. We believe in our guys though.
As a coach do you breakdown the potential points?
No and I am not sure that I have ever thought of it in those terms. The path is there at ten weights if you want to look at that. You can fill out your bracket or whatever. We know that we will have to do some damage along the way. It has to be damage in our favor. That would be nine guys doing what our nine guys can do very consistently. I had referred to an up and down season. We can’t have up and downs. It has to be solid upward movement.
On the “home field” advantage and how it will help the wrestlers
Can I tell you Saturday night? I mean seriously. You will either make it work for you or you don’t. I think a lot of times that comes down to sheer will power, toughness, smarts and mat savvy. A lot of things go into it. We have to go out there and make it work for us, then that would be the reason why. I have said it five or six times already that we have to have nine guys wrestle hard and consistently every round in every match.