Fran McCaffery News Conference Transcript | Nov. 28

Q. What did you want to stress to your team or what did you stress to your team after they came off the court Saturday night?

FRAN McCAFFERY: We did some good things in that game. It got away from us there in the second half, and I thought our decision making in terms of shot selection and so forth wasn’t what it needed to be. Probably needed some longer possessions.

But I thought we had some guys that I thought played well. Some guys didn’t play well. It’s one game, and we’re on to the next.

Q. Dasonte Bowen took a step forward in Florida; how would you assess him?

FRAN McCAFFERY: He’s a really good player. I’m giving him a pretty good amount of playing time and would like to play him even more. I just think he’s terrific, and it’s great to watch him grow. He’s still learning, but he plays with an aggressive mindset, which is exactly what we want from him.

Q. Are there games where you look back and you just miss shots and there’s really not a lot you could have done strategy-wise?

FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, that was part it. There are always games that stick out where we shot 3 for 17, I think, and you think back to the Richmond game last year, Jordan made a couple and Patrick made four and nobody else made any. We had some pretty good shooters on that team. It’s one game, it’s one day. Sometimes it’s the team you’re playing, you don’t make any shots and you win, and you look great, but you didn’t make any shots. You try to make sure you play really good defense so they don’t.

They got after us pretty good, but we had some clean looks that didn’t go from good shooters. It’s another thing you say, all right, learn from this. It wasn’t a happy experience; we got beat. But learn from it and stay focused on the next one because every game plan is different. Georgia Tech plays differently than TCU played differently than Clemson.

Q. What do you see out of Georgia Tech?

FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, they change defenses. I like their team. They’ve got a lot of different players in the sort of 6’4″ to 6’7″ range that can score, can get their own shot, can switch. They can play man, they can play zone. They’re active. They’ve got some depth. They’re really a quality ACC team, as you would expect.

Q. The wrap on the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, how did you feel about that? How do you feel about that?

FRAN McCAFFERY: You know, I don’t know that I feel strongly one way or the other. It was something that I think we appreciated, and we have great respect for that conference, and the series was competitive. I think it provided what we were looking for at the time. You had marquee match-ups early in the season, but there’s any number of different ways you can accomplish that task. We’ll find some good teams to play. Won’t be a problem. Who knows how many league games we’re going to end up playing down the road. Everything is changing.

Q. Looking at the schedule as a whole, playing back to back (indiscernible)?

FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, I think that’s the important thing, that you understand you go on the road and you’ve got to lock in to the first scout, play a really good team, play a hard-fought game, go back to the hotel and be really professional. We had a meeting, it was probably 12:30 a.m., and get them up the next day and you’re trying to put it all in in a very short period of time. That’s what tournament play is like. I think it’s why a lot of — well, all of us really want to play in a tournament atmosphere at some point if we can, because obviously we’re playing a Big Ten Tournament but also the NCAA Tournament.

I think it was good for the young guys in particular. I think everybody thinks, wow, it’s great, all these tournaments are in sort of destination locations and the weather is nice, and it really doesn’t matter where the games are for the players. It’s good for the fans, the families that go. We’re just pretty much locked into the hotel, going through walk-throughs, going to shootarounds, locking into film, reading the scouting report, processing it, and then getting ready for the game.

Q. How was the preparation between Saturday night flying back here and then —

FRAN McCAFFERY: Yeah, we got back pretty late. I think we landed around 1:00. Kids probably weren’t settled until closer to 2:00 by the time we got their bags off and back on the bus. But that’s part of it.

We got together yesterday, obviously, and it was a long day. Not in terms of running them but processing and showing some clips from the games in Florida, start of preparation for Georgia Tech, get some shots up, get the blood flowing, and we’ll practice today.

Q. Filip looked very confident with his pull-up jumper Saturday night. Do you expect to see a continuation of the offensive progress —

FRAN McCAFFERY: I thought he was really good defensively, too. I thought he was terrific down there. Really fought defensively, made some adjustments from Friday to Saturday. But you’re right; he was looking for his shot. He was making 3s. He was making pull-ups. He was getting to the rim.

I’ve said this, we saw that last year in him, and then when he got hurt, he was just having trouble with his pull-up and his finishing, and it wasn’t his fault. He had that wrist injury, and he couldn’t finish. He was doing that for the better part of last year, as well, so now you’re seeing that continue. He’s playing with great confidence. I’m very happy with him.

Q. You got a bit of a break after this game; do you use that, and does it come at a good time?

FRAN McCAFFERY: You know, I think it’s nice to have a little bit of a break at some point. We’ve always sort of had one somewhere sometime around finals. They are students, so you want them to focus a little bit academically, which is hard because it’s such a grind. It takes great maturity and professionalism on their part, and it’s also some understanding on our part to make sure we handle that time period properly. But they all know we have a tough stretch coming up after this game, as well.

Again, we talk about it all the time, but that’s what we sign up for, so we’ll get them ready.

Q. Two-part question on Tony: How did you assess how he played, and how did he come out of the weekend?

FRAN McCAFFERY: Yeah, I thought from a health perspective he looked like himself. He didn’t look like he was struggling with his explosiveness or his athletic power. I think you’re right, I think he was sore, and I was pretty pleased with the fact that he could play back-to-back. I was concerned about that, quite honestly, could he go back-to-back and still be effective.

He’ll go through some stuff today. He came through it okay. Again, we saw him yesterday, obviously, and he was with Brad. I think he’ll be fine for tomorrow.

Q. University of Iowa is partnering with the V Foundation helping to raise money for Iowa’s AYA program. Can you talk little bit about the AYA program and the importance of raising money for cancer research?

FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, it is exciting for us as a program and I think as an institution, and it’s something that obviously Dick Vitale has been so great in all the things he does for the V Foundation, but to have our Center For Advancement and the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center work in conjunction with the V Foundation in particular for the AYA part of the cancer center — AYA of course is adolescent young adult cancer program. We’re one of the few in the Midwest that has one at our hospital.

Those cancer patients in that age range from 13 to 31 that have not had the same outcomes as others, and the program really started because Margaret and I were at the front end of starting this program here with Dr. Weiner and Dr. Villas at the time, has made a great impact on not only the patients themselves but their families. There’s a lot of money that’s needed, so I’m really hopeful that folks will step up and help because we were obviously in that position with Patrick.

When you have a child in that range, you want to be able to know that you have the ability locally to pretty much have everything that you need, and it’s not just the treatment itself. It’s everything that comes with it, because there’s a dramatic change in the life of the person that is diagnosed in that age range. We’re just thrilled to be a part of it and thankful to be participants in this incredible event.

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