Take care of the ball...
What do you see on film about Iowa State?
They’re very good. They’re good for a lot of different reasons. They have a lot of weapons who can score. They take care of the ball and don’t turn it over. At times they don’t play a big team, yet they’re still a tremendous rebounding team. They’re very athletic and go after the ball. They have a good blend of experience and some young guys that are playing well. They are playing well together and with a lot of confidence.
What goes DeAndre Kane bring that they didn’t have in the past?
I don’t know about years past, I can only tell you what he brings to them now; he’s a really good player who can do a lot of things. He can score, post, play more than one position, he can have the ball, has great vision, he finds people and plays at a great pace. He affects the game when he’s out there.
You and the Iowa players are extremely complimentary of Iowa State and vice versa. Is the rivalry different among the competitors than the fans?
I think in this case it is. I’ve been involved in a lot of different rivalries and they’re all different, but no less intense. Everywhere you are has a rivalry game. Often times it’s another conference opponent. It’s a rivalry plus we have to go through you to get there and you have to go through us to get there. We don’t have to go through them and they don’t have to go through Iowa to win a conference championship. So it’s a little different that way. What you have to be able to do is recognize what they’re doing. They’re undefeated -- they beat Michigan and then fly to Utah to win in a difficult environment, maybe one of the toughest places in the country, and they win again. Also, they’re down 18 points with 16 minutes to go against a very good Northern Iowa and come back and win with no panic. So those things get your attention. You respect the players you played against in years past. Our guys know Georges Niang, Ejim and those guys. They have a lot of different players that we respect. We appreciate they respect what we’re doing. I have tremendous respect for Fred and how’s he’s built it. I consider him a friend and we’ll try to beat each other Friday night.
This will be new environment for Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok, having not played on the road and at Hilton before --
It’s going to be an unbelievable atmosphere. It was like that two years ago when we went over there. Our guys are used to that. Jarrod and Peter haven’t played in that type of environment yet but Jarrod doesn’t seem to be affected by anything like that to me. I haven’t noticed that and Pete’s going to shoot no matter where he is.
Any update on Josh Oglesby?
Josh is working hard. He worked hard yesterday. I’d say he’s doubtful for this game, but he’s getting closer. We have to be careful how hard we push him now and make sure he doesn’t have a setback. He’s progressing just like we would like him to.
Is Zach McCabe playing the way you thought he would?
He is playing exactly like I thought he would, based on how he prepared this summer. We saw it in August overseas -- he was in the best shape of his life and playing with great confidence. His game has really matured. He’s not afraid of a challenge. I’m really happy for him. He’s at the peak of his game, no question.
Rebounding is always a key, but is it more important in this game?
They really rebound offensively. When you have a point guard who’s rebounding offensively that changes a lot of things. Hogue’s a guy who will make anybody concerned because he’s been so spectacular with his rebounding.
All four Iowa-Iowa State men’s and women’s teams are ranked right now. What does that say about the state right now?
We have good teams. I don’t often talk about the men’s and women’s game in the same way because it’s a lot different. Knowing our program and knowing their women’s program there -- both have been phenomenally consistent. That’s hard to do. With what Lisa Bluder lost, I don’t think anybody thought they’d be 10-1 right now. That’s a credit to her and her staff, and what the players. I think Iowa State is undefeated, so that’s pretty impressive. Our route and Fred’s has been a little different.
Both teams being ranked, does it add to the hype?
It legitimizes everything. You have two really good teams going at it. When you’re a player, you want to play in meaningful games. You want to play in a game that means a lot to a lot of people, and this game means a lot to a lot of people. It’s an important game. It’s why you work so hard. It’s an opportunity you cherish, you’ll remember, you want to play and prepare your best, and that’s what we’ll try to do.
What are some of things you have to do Friday going into a hostile environment?
You have to take care of the ball. You can’t guarantee that you’re going to shoot a high number. They’re going to try to shoot a high percentage, we’re going to try to shoot a high percentage, we’re going to ultimately compete on the glass, you hope to not get out-rebounded, you can’t control that. You want to stay out of foul trouble, you can’t control that. You can’t throw the ball away. If you throw the ball away, with their speed and quickness, that is going to be layups. It’s hard enough to stop them from scoring, if you give them layups, it’s going to be tough to win.
Is it more a mental mindset going into an environment --
It’s mental, you have to play through contact. When it’s that loud, sometimes the games are more physical. You don’t hear a lot of things. You have to play through it and try to not let it affect you.