Iowa men’s basketball team hoping to use early season lessons in second shot against Michigan state
The #19 Iowa men’s basketball team has its first second-look at a team this season, hosting #6 Michigan State on Thursday.
But head coach Fran McCaffery feels his team is a little different now than it was the first time they played, a 22-point win by the Spartans in East Lansing on Dec. 3. McCaffery, speaking during the All Hawkeyes.com show on KCJJ on Wednesday, said they will go back to the earlier game in East Lansing to find ways to be better this time.
“We didn’t execute our offense the way we need to and we didn’t stay connected and stay calm in that stretch where they made a run,” McCaffery said. “So, you learn from those mistakes and you remember some of the things that we did well in that game. And you go back to last year’s game here – which was a really good game – and what did we do in that game that enabled us to get 93 points, which is hard to do against them. But, also, what did we do allow them to get 96 points, which is way too many. So, it’s constant learning and growing.”
Iowa enters Thursday’s game on a five-game win streak and has won 10 of 11. The Hawkeyes also already have five conference wins, topping last season’s entire total.
McCaffery says he sensed early in the season – citing the 2K Empire Classic championship in November – this team would be able to weather the season better than last year’s squad.
“When you go through adversity it brings your team together in so many different ways,” McCaffery said. “It forces you to evaluate yourself, it forces you to evaluate your group collectively – players, coaches, strength and conditioning staff – we re-evaluated everything.
“And you have to remain a sort of band of brothers because it’s so much different today than when I was playing or even 15 years ago. The attacks that these kids get on social media are, quite frankly, unacceptable. But that’s the world we live in.”
Thursday’s game tips off at 6 p.m. and is being aired on FS1.