McCaffery: 'It's a Business Trip'

Nov. 25, 2013

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team had its sight-seeing opportunities during its summer foreign trip. When the Hawkeyes leave Tuesday for the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, it’s all about basketball.

“We’re not interested in sight-seeing, we did that in August, and we saw a lot of things,” UI head coach Fran McCaffery in a Monday teleconference with local media. “This is a business trip.

“I want our players to have fun and enjoy the experience, but it (will be more about) how we come out of the three games and how we have gotten better.”

The Hawkeyes have rolled through the first five games on their schedule, winning by an average of 38 points per contest, a margin that ranks second nationally. Iowa has downed 4-of-5 opponents by 30 or more points and reached the 80-point mark in all five games.

“We think we’re good. Let’s figure out how good we are and what we have to fix.”
UI head coach Fran McCaffery

“With all due respect to the five teams we’ve played, we’re stepping up in class with this group coming up,” said McCaffery. “You could look at the schedule in June and see that. We’re playing teams that expect to be in the NCAA Tournament every year. We’re playing a team in Kansas, if we play them, that expects to win a national championship regularly.”

Iowa opens tournament play against Xavier on Thursday at 6 p.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes will then play either Tennesse or UTEP on Friday before closing out the trip with a matchup against Villanova, Southern California, No. 2/2 Kansas or Wake Forest on Saturday.

McCaffery says playing this level of competition on successive days will be telling for the Hawkeyes.

“This is the caliber of team we’re going to see when we start league play,” he said. “It is going to be the caliber of teams we’ll see when we come home in terms of Notre Dame, Iowa State, and Drake. This is an opportunity to go and play three quality opponents and compete at that level.

“We think we’re good. Let’s figure out how good we are and what we have to fix.”

The Hawkeyes moved into the Associated Press rankings Monday, coming in at No. 23 in the poll. It is the first time Iowa has been in the AP poll since 2006.

“I am happy for the players,” said McCaffery. “In some ways, it creates more interest and more people talk about you. I don’t think about it very much, I am thinking about the next game.

“When you talk about the rankings, I get about why we talk about it in the process, but when it’s all said and done, the most important ranking that matters is at the end of the year.”

All three games of the Battle 4 Atlantis will be televised. Iowa’s opening round game and subsequent “winner’s round” games will be shown on the NBC Sports Network, while the losing team’s games will be televised on AXS-TV.