IOWA CITY — Iowa lost by 28 at Michigan. This comes with a lot of qualifiers — No. 2 team in the country, on the road — but it’s also a measure of where the Hawkeyes are and where they aren’t.
It was the type of beating that can trigger a lineup change. That’s something Iowa coach Fran McCaffery is weighing going into Thursday’s matchup with No. 22 Michigan State (12-3, 1-1 Big Ten). That might mean fewer minutes for Iowa’s leading scorers Devyn Marble and Aaron White.
“It’s hard sometimes,” McCaffery said Tuesday. “Let’s say, for example, the two biggest culprits are your two leading scorers, which is arguably what the case was in our last game. That’s a dilemma. When Marble and White are struggling defensively, we still have to score. That’s our two leading scorers.
“That makes that decision a lot more complicated, quite frankly, but it may come to that.”
Marble leads the Hawkeyes with 15.5 points a game. White is next with 13.2. In McCaffery’s up-tempo system, points matter. He said Tuesday that he’s OK with high scores against his team — though 95 in both “true” road games this season is a bit much, he added.
But in a league with six ranked teams, Iowa needs maximum effort on both ends. That was McCaffery’s overall point.
“You can’t pretend it didn’t happen,” he said. “You have to confront what happened and you got to confront it in a very direct way, openly and honestly. When it’s all said and done, there has to be accountability across the board from our staff to the players, all right? You break down everything that happened on that trip and say, ‘OK, that can’t happen again.’ ”
McCaffery was asked about White’s performance against Michigan and was direct.
“He wasn’t as physical. He wasn’t moving the way he normally was,” McCaffery said. “He wasn’t running back. He wasn’t engaged. You’re playing the second ranked team in the country on the road, it’s a ‘total engagement’ game.
“You have to sprint back, turn and face the ball, get five guys under the best point guard in the country, figure out are they running their 2 3 high action, ball screen stuff, where is [Tim] Hardaway, where is [Nik] Stauskas? You can’t try to jog back and find your man because while you’re finding him, they’re scoring.”
McCaffery was quick to point out White wasn’t the only guilty party.
“Now, if he was the only guy, we could try to talk to him, but he wasn’t the only guy doing that,” McCaffery said. “That’s really disappointing. There’s no other way to put it. Had a chance to watch it and digest it. Can’t make excuses for it. It’s right there.
“Again, when it’s all said and done, they have a responsibility to themselves above all else, but most importantly to each other. You’d like to think they have responsibility to the coaching staff as we have responsibility to them to get them ready. But when the effort isn’t what it needs to be, then you got to look at your teammate and say, I let you down, I can’t do that again.
“I don’t think it will happen again because I think we have character in that room.”
White said Tuesday he’s pushed through the Michigan game. He knows he has a visible leadership role and he knows what comes with that.
“Obviously, he’s [McCaffery] is going to look at me and Dev and guys who’ve been around and use us as an example,” White said. “I’m fine with that. I view myself as a leader for this team. The way I play kind of dictates how the other guys play around us, so obviously, when you lose a game like that, he’s going to go to the guys who are on the floor the most and point out where improvements need to be made.”
The video knows
The editing of the Michigan video happened on the plane ride from Ann Arbor to Iowa City.
Many points were made during Monday’s video session, McCaffery said. It lasted about twice as long as usual, stretching from 20 to 30 minutes to just less than an hour.
It’s a classic “cookie” approach. Some good is sandwiched between the bad. Of course, after a 28-point defeat, there was more bad than good.
“ It’s not just the mistakes, so when they walk into the room, we’re not going to watch 67 mistakes, this guy is going to get yelled at,” McCaffery said. “It’s not that.
“We’re showing good plays. This is exactly what we want to do, this is exactly what we talked about doing, and you couldn’t have executed it any better, OK? If we do that, then why can’t we keep doing that? That’s kind of how we do that. We might have five positive phenomenal teaching points in a row, then there might be eight or nine mistakes in a row. It doesn’t matter. It’s how they appear in the game, so there were a lot more of those clips yesterday than there were before.”
A “clip” equals a sequence. McCaffery said there were sometimes three mistakes made, “teaching points,” in a few of the Michigan clips.
“It was mostly showing us where our effort was lacking,” forward Melsahn Besabe said. “If we don’t play hard with intensity, it’s hard to win against the No. 2 team in the country, especially on the road.”
Basabe’s ankles OK
Basabe played the Michigan game after missing the second half of Indiana with an ankle injury. That was the left ankle. He missed some time earlier this season because of problems with the right ankle.
Tuesday, he said the ankles are doing better.
“I’ve injured them a couple of times,” he said. “I’ve rehabbed them. You’ve got to play through injuries. That’s what it is. I haven’t let it hold me back. I’ve practiced well and I’m practicing today. That’s the only way to get stronger, to push it. There’s a little bit of discomfort, but no big deal really.”
No that the Big Ten season has started, a few Iowa players find themselves at home on the road.
Last weekend at Michigan, Marble and freshman guard Anthony Clemmons, Michigan natives, played in front of friends and family. Later this month, Iowa will travel to Ohio State, White’s home state.
In case you’re wondering, there isn’t any time built into the itinerary for family time.
“We got ‘em locked in,” McCaffery said. “We pretty much control the entire itinerary. Like the other night, by the time we got done, when you land, it’s eat, meeting, practice, shower, eat, meeting, dessert, lights out. There’s no opportunity for them to go anywhere.”
But hey, dessert.
Tickets for MSU available
Iowa sports information said Tuesday that 3,500 tickets remain available for Thursday night’s Michigan State game.
BTN2Go available to Iowa cable customers
Mediacom Communications and Big Ten Network announced today that BTN2Go, a live 24/7 multi-platform extension of BTN, is now available to Mediacom subscribers in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and parts of other midwestern states.
BTN2Go features a live feed of all BTN television programming, including live game telecasts, as well as Extra Football Game Channels, which are part-time channels only available during football season when BTN airs multiple football games simultaneously.
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