"Not much has changed as far as our preparation. Any time you win or lose, you are always going to look at what you did well and you're always going to look at what you didn't do well. It's all about making sure you absorb it and you make corrections. At the same time you have a better understanding; I think that's where improvement comes from. Practices are a big part of making sure that not only are you learning from film and applying it, but are you continuing to work on what you're good at. It's a constant balancing act in making sure that you're improving and at the same time and never getting away at what your strengths are, so eventually by the end of the year you don't have a whole lot of weaknesses.
"We had some weaknesses the other night, but at the same time, we had a lot of strengths in that game. Obviously there's no question that we didn't do the job on the backboards. They were averaging 48 shots in the last five games and they got 63. They were making 17 shots they made 27 (against us). So anytime you give up 10 of 15 on extra shots in a game, you are not going to win the game. We were still within seconds of being able to come back and get it. We gave them too many possessions, bottom line. We didn't take advantage of some of the ones we had, but we did do some really good things. Any time you lose and you take it as hard as these guys take it, you have to keep reminding them of why you are in the position that you are in in the first place and what it looked like inside the game.
"The thing about this team is no matter what's happened inside games, they've answered the bell and showed up every night, we just haven't always played great. Even when we've won, we haven't played great but that's part of building your team. The other night there's no question that we did not do a good job of blocking out in man or zone. We did not answer the physicality bell, really with Trevor Mbakwe then anything else. Some other guys made plays but the bottom line is the physicality and the 50-50 plays and we didn't do that. When you get 70 percent of the 50-50 balls you're going to win pretty much most of your games and we weren't even close to that.
"We did a lot of good things. We are not even remotely close to "bouncing back," it's all about how briskly can we move forward. This program is not moving at a snail's pace, its moving at a very fast pace. That's why I know we have really great people, it's one thing to be a really good player, it's another thing to be a really good person and we're full of them. That's why they're working the way that they're working and I know they can't wait to play.
"With that being said, the home stretch that it is right now, we're going to need an incredibly aggressive, energetic crowd, and we always do. We've played in some of the toughest arenas lately when you look at Michigan State and you look at Minnesota. Those were very hostile aggressive places. Ohio State was also like that and we need our crowd to be like that big time tomorrow night. Really, with two games left, we need it every night but we definitely need it tomorrow night. So we're looking forward to a great home crowd on a Saturday night, playing against, what I've always thought and I think the players think the same way, one of the best teams in our league. It has been and will continue to be as long as Fran's there."
On stressing rebounding more in film or in practice:
"I don't think it's the drills, we could have maxed out on drills. It's a little bit of technique, it's a little more awareness, and then it's a lot more of being the first hitter. You've got to have first contact. It
s a physical game, it really is, and it's a very physical game. I look at Cody and the free throws that he's shooting; there shouldn't be anybody close to Cody when it comes to free throw attempts. It just is what it is. It's a physical league, and you just have to keep working with it. You can always improve your technique and you can always improve your mindset and its always that much better. But we've had some great rebounding games. It wasn't like we forgot, we just didn't make first contact and we didn't get the 50-50's."
On how difficult it is to change levels of physicality and intensity during a game:
"I could have used the bench better in the sense of going to the bench earlier than I did. You try to let players go through it, but sometimes that's not the answer, we didn't have a great start and it was never about the scoreboard (when we were trailing 8-2), it was more about the start, because we had great preparation.
"Any time you win, you spend some time looking at what you just did, but when you lose you put a microscope to it. There's nothing I could go back and say I wish we would have done this better, we just didn't get off to a great start. We never established the aggressiveness that we had to play with in that game. But did it get better in the game, absolutely. There are far more really good clips that we showed them than really bad ones. It just so happens that the bad clips turned into baskets, they're more results oriented. We had energy, that wasn't the thing, we just weren't as physical as we needed to be."
On what they can take from the New Years Eve game:
"We watch that some, but it is a little different now. You have to watch Mike Gesell in. We prepare for Mike Gesell, but I've heard that he's out. I saw him sitting on the bench but until the game starts, it's just the way that it is. We don't talk a lot about injuries either. They're better, they're definitely better, but so are we.
"But going back and watching that game, there's no question that both teams are significantly better. Roy Devyn Marble is on a roll right now. In his last three games he is shooting 50 percent from three. Aaron White is playing tremendous as well. Aaron White is one of the best forwards in America, let alone the Big Ten. They are deep, they're really deep. Even without Gesell, they're deep and Marble is at a high rate; Oglesby is fearless. We can go down the line ... Adam Woodbury is playing well. They're better and they're doing a lot of things. They are a really hard preparation because they will run their sets, they will run their motions and they are extremely good on the break.
"They want to run on us and we want to run on them. So we have got to do a great job in that area. We are very even on the foul line department in the league. They are really good. This league gets a lot of credit, and rightfully so, but sometimes some of the teams don't get enough credit nationally and they're one of them."
On how they're different without Gesell: "They're very balanced and they throw a lot of different lineups. This is going to be the biggest lineup we will have seen, even bigger than Minnesota's, when you look at the point guard position and things. But they have to match up with us too, so its just one of those things. I don't know if I could say there is a big difference, because Gesell was scoring too. He was the third leading scorer, now they have the leading scorer at the point."
On how the team has reacted in practice following Tuesday's loss to Minnesota:
"The thing about a loss is, with this team now, we take it very personal. If we don't come in the night after we lose, we are in the next day working out. I had class yesterday, but I heard it was one of the toughest, yet most fun practices this year. That is the thing this year, after a loss, the next practice is the most physical but that's just what we live for. We want to get right back in here and start working to get better. You hate to lose, but you love to see that fight and anger come out in the next practice."
On rebounding being the key moving forward:
"We have to be ourselves. Coach Crean said when we were watching film that we didn't come out with that energy (against Minnesota) that we usually have. We had more energy as the game went on but those first four or five minutes were just dull and lacked energy. Those are some of the most important minutes of the game. And then down the stretch, there were communication errors and some lack of awareness. Had we come out with the right energy in the first five minutes, those mistakes may not have mattered as much.
When we come out against Iowa, as long as we have that energy and that fight the that we have had the last couple days I think we should be fine."
On more of an emphasis on rebounding the ball after a loss:
"A lot of it was rebounding but a lot of it was battling. If you watched the game, a lot of that was the ball coming up and they would end up with it. We work on that with our 50-50 drills that we do. A lot of it is also just battling in the post. If you battle, you are in position to rebound anyway, so we focused a lot on that."
On the difference between Iowa now and first time the teams met this season:
"They have a lot more confidence. I think both teams are coming out and playing a lot better. Early a couple guys on both teams didn't have the shooting percentages that they do now and they were not as aggressive as they have been recently. This is going to be a battle game. They are the type of team, they don't care about our ranking and we know that they are going to give us their best shot and that's what we expect."
On Iowa's recent big lineup with Mike Gesell injured and how that makes them different:
"We know that Basabe is playing a lot more now than he was when we played them in December. We know that he has come in here in the past and beat us up pretty good. It is going to be a toughness game. Basabe has come in and done well and (Josh) Oglesby has done well in here in the past. For the new guys on this team, it is going to be a battle. Us older guys know what to expect because we have seen it before. Everyone is going to have to come out and fight for 40 minutes because we know that's what Iowa is going to do."
On only having two more home games in his career:
"I was coming to practice today and I parked in the lot and walking into the gym and seeing my face on the sign in front kind of took energy out of me a little bit. I can't believe it has come this fast."