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McCaffery stays cool, talks big picture after one-sided loss at Michigan

[ 0 ] January 6, 2013 |

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery kept his cool Sunday at Crisler Center. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – On his previous trip to Michigan with his Iowa basketball team, coach Fran McCaffery slammed a chair onto the Breslin Center court in East Lansing, Mich.

It happened during a time out in a team huddle (see video here), when his team was playing with no toughness in what turned into a 95-61 loss to the Spartans on Jan. 10, 2012. A video clip of the chair slam, which earned McCaffery a public reprimand from Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, went viral on the Internet. Iowa recovered from that embarrassing performance to beat No. 15 Michigan in Iowa City four days later, 75-59.

McCaffery was back in Michigan Sunday, this time at Crisler Center. And again, his team lacked toughness in a humbling 95-67 loss to No. 2 Michigan.

GAME STORY: Michigan 95, Iowa 67

McCaffery didn’t slam a chair, even after the deficit grew to 35 points in the second half and his team was guarding no one.

Fran McCaffery didn't slam any chairs

like he did in his last trip to Michigan, a loss against the Spartans in East Lansing last season. (USA TODAY Sports)

Asked after the game which troubled him more, his team’s lack of defense or lack of toughness, McCaffery voted for toughness.

So now the Hawkeyes return home, and have No. 18 Michigan State waiting for them Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. McCaffery had no Internet-viral tantrums Sunday, and took a big-picture approach after the game.

“Any time there’s a game like this, we’re going to break it down and show it to the players,” McCaffery said.

The purpose is not to criticize a certain player, or throw anyone under the bus.

“It’s all about teaching, growing, learning,” McCaffery said. “And we’ll look at the good things…we did a lot of good things. We only turned it over seven times on the road against a really good team, that’s great…it’s not going to be a terrible thing. It will not be fun to watch. But it will be something we learn from. Hopefully, when we play Thursday, we’ll be better.”

After the game, McCaffery was asked if he thought things would get easier after starting Big Ten play with a four-point home loss to No. 5 Indiana and Sunday’s beatdown by No. 2 Michigan.

“They’re not getting easier,” McCaffery said. “There’s a few other teams that are pretty good. I just hope that we keep growing. We had three freshmen in the starting lineup, but you can’t say inexperience was a factor because they’re just as young as we are. Hopefully, we’ll start to play better on the road.”

According to StatSheet.com, which tracks experience per minute, Michigan has the youngest team in the Big Ten and is 16th youngest nationally. Iowa’s team is the second-youngest in the Big Ten and tied for 44th nationally.

White out. With Iowa trailing, 31-29, and about 3 minutes remaining in the first half, Iowa’s Aaron White went up for a dunk. It was blocked by Michigan freshman Mitch McGary.

Asked after the game if he’d had a dunk rejected before, White said, “I don’t remember.”

Asked if he was humbled, White said, “Good play by McGary.”


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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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