McCaffery Stresses Opportunity, Not Rivalry
Dec. 6, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery isn't focusing on the rivalry, but instead he is stressing opportunity when the Hawkeyes take the court Friday in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series match-up against Iowa State.
"I really don't look too much at the rivalry aspect," said McCaffery on Thursday at his news conference in the Media Room inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. "I look at it as a tremendous opportunity to play a really good team. It's a tremendous challenge, especially for our young players, and it will be a great barometer."
The Cyclones enter the game with a 6-2 overall record; Iowa is 7-2, which includes a 6-0 mark inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa State has won the last three meetings in the series, but the two teams have split the last 16 meetings.
"Iowa State is a team that has a lot of weapons," said McCaffery. "It's rare when you find a team with this kind of athletic power that shoots it that well. You have a team that's leading the country in rebounding and averaging 10 3s a game."
The Cyclones average 45.6 rebounds per game and are +11.6 in rebounding margin in eight games. Iowa State averages 82.5 points and makes 9.5 long balls per game. Utah transfer Will Clyburn is leading a group of three players in double figures, averaging 16.1 points and 8.4 rebounds. Seven Iowa State players average at least seven points, including senior guard Korie Lucious, a transfer from Michigan State.
"When you think about your ability to defend a team with that many weapons, it's very challenging," said McCaffery.
McCaffery says the Iowa defense has made improvement from last season to 2012-13, but there is room to grow.
"I feel a lot better about it than last year," he said. "I feel like we've had great improvement in that area. I don't know if `pleased' is the right word... we still have a long way to go. This game, they'll challenge our defense big-time because of how they stretch the floor and the different weapons they have."
With five freshmen on the roster, junior Roy Devyn Marble is trying to keep the newcomers grounded and prepare them for what's they'll encounter.
"You don't want to make it too much bigger than what it already is," said Marble, Iowa's leading scorer at 14.4 points per game. "You still want to prepare and do the normal things you do before the game... keep it as normal as possible. It will have energy at the beginning from the fans and each other."
Growing up a lifelong Hawkeye fan, freshman Adam Woodbury has watched a lot of memorable moments in the series, now he's looking forward to being a part of his first Iowa-Iowa State showdown.
"It's a big thing for the state," said Woodbury. "There is going to be a lot of hype and anticipation because both teams are on the rise. You can ask any former Iowa player, and they remember their record against Iowa State."
Approximately 1,000 tickets still remain for Friday's game. Fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets online at hawkeyesports.com and select the print tickets at home option to avoid long lines at the UI Ticket Office window.
The game will be televised on the BTN beginning at 7:06 p.m. (CT) with Wayne Larrivee and Dan Bonner calling the action.