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Fran McCaffery Press Conference Roundup: Drake Bulldogs

Plus other links of interest! Or at least, my interest

NCAA Basketball: Southern at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, y’all. Happy Wednesday. You’re halfway through the week, but that thought alone isn’t going to get you through the day, so that’s why I’m here.

Let’s jump right in.

Iowa basketball head coach Fran McCaffery had his weekly meeting with the media on Tuesday ahead of the Hawks’ matchup this weekend against Drake in Des Moines. A Drake team, I might add, that took Minnesota down to the wire on Monday night!

Read into it what you will what that says about both the current state of the Drake and Minnesota basketball programs.


Fran was watching too. But he wasn’t taken by surprise.

COACH MCCAFFERY: They've played like that all year. I've watched a lot of tape on them. They played really well against Wake Forest, really well against Colorado. Really impressed with their team. And they've got a veteran club. They're playing that way. They move the ball. They share it.

They've got a lot of guys making 3s, a lot of guys making plays. They play small, but it doesn't seem to affect them on the glass like you think it would.

They're in there battling. I've been impressed. So what happened last night was not a shock to me. I'm sure it wasn't a shock to Richard either.

I don’t know about you, but I’m suddenly way more interested in this game than I was on Monday morning. This went from a game that Iowa should win to a game Iowa will probably have trouble with... and could even lose.

Especially without the continued contributions of Cordell Pemsl, who seems to still be questionable for Saturday.

Q. How is Cordell doing the last couple of days?

COACH MCCAFFERY: He's still sore, yeah. Probably iffy for Saturday. But hopeful. He's not practicing today.

Speaking of Pemsl, check out the video below of him talking to HawkeyeNation yesterday:

He could see his tibia while he was lying on the ground! He got three layers of stitches!

That right there is a well-measured man, folks. His response to the whole situation is really mature, especially the stuff about the Iowa State fans (which I’m not going to get into, because it’s a whole lot of nothing to me). He seems realistic about his return and seems like he’s handling the whole fan situation with good humor. I have nothing but respect for that.

People have had differing opinions on Pemsl this season but I really liked what I saw from him against Iowa State before his injury. More of that for the rest of the season will put a lot of things in Iowa’s favor.

Q. When you come into a season, can you identify quickly what the strength and weaknesses of a team are, or does that develop as you get into competition with other teams?

COACH MCCAFFERY: Usually you can. We've had a unique start to the season in terms of, you look and say we're really deep, so injuries shouldn't affect us. But injuries have affected this team. Without Nicholas, without Connor, without Cordell, without Ryan Kriener, we've had -- our key guys are out there so everyone thinks they're fine.

But we're relying a lot on freshmen. Those two guys are terrific. And Connor was really good Sunday. So it takes a little bit of time to develop your freshman and sophomore class. You've seen Isaiah Moss be spectacular, and you've seen him play like a young kid. So the challenge there is to get him playing consistently well.

Fran makes a good point here. Assholes like me have really harped on this squad for performing below expectations, and I think that’s merited. But it’s also smart to sit back and look at the youth and WONDER about how it will develop. I’m done predicting how they will, because...look how that turned out for me this year.

Speaking of Connor, it’s sounding like the option is there for him to redshirt:

Q. By rule, I believe Connor could still redshirt. Is that still an option or is he full-go right now?

COACH MCCAFFERY: It's not my call, your call or anybody else's call, it's what the doctor's deem. They're monitoring his physical process that he's going through.

Q. He can play in four games, is that the rule?

COACH MCCAFFERY: He can play in ten. Has to be in the first half of the year. Really he's not anywhere near physically where he needs to be. We'll see if he can get that done over the next couple of weeks or not.

Q. Did he come out of Sunday's game okay?

COACH MCCAFFERY: Yeah, nothing major. He was pretty drained. But the way that game went in the second half with both teams in a 2-3 zone and the game pretty much decided, it was a little different. I don't think he would have played 17 -- I don't think he physically could have played 17 minutes otherwise.

Obviously nothing is confirmed about this yet, but this would be a blow to a squad that’s in desperate need of solid guard play. But the devil’s advocate on my shoulder also tells me that this season is basically a wash at this point, so why waste a year?

What do you think?


Should Connor McCaffery redshirt?

This poll is closed

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191 votes total Vote Now

Q. Have you gotten a feel for the lineups that work and the lineups that might not work, the challenge with all the injuries that you've had to deal with?COACH

MCCAFFERY: We're going to play a lot of guys. You've seen that. We're going to move some guys in and out, move them around -- had to move them around based on injury.

We were going really big. We've gone small. We did a little bit of that in practice where we're looking at one unit versus another unit. But then never really works that way because you put a guy in and he plays well. You put a guy in, he doesn't play well. And then who are you going to go back to? And are you going to shorten your bench in the second half or are you going to just kind of come at them in waves?

That depends on how the game's going. Is it close? All those kinds of things. So I don't know that we've really gotten to that point where we can say, okay, this core nucleus of guys is going to stay together. Probably won't work that way.

This is a little more of a non-answer than I would like, but hey, I’m just the blogger.

Quick Hitters

A concert is coming to Carver!

It’s a country concert.

I’ve never heard of Old Dominion (with Michael Ray, according to the Athletics press release I received today) but according to the release, they’re “country crooners” (barf), and our own Jerry Scherwin says they’re “good!”

They’ll be at Carver on April 27, 2018 with “up-and-comer” Brandon Lay, in an event benefitting the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Program. Neat! Here’s what Margaret McCaffery had to say about it all:

“We are grateful to be involved in a program that is focused on supporting those affected by adolescent cancer,” McCaffery said in the release. “After going through this with our son and losing one of his friends to cancer, we understand how crucial supporting this demographic is. This concert is going to be a fun way to raise awareness and funds to help more families facing this overwhelming hurdle.”

Tickets go on sale Friday at the link here for those of you who are interested.

I, for one, am not. I really wish that we could get non-country acts to Kinnick and Carver. If it was someone good, I would attend in a heartbeat. The Kinnick concert looked awesome.

Regardless, the fact that this show benefits what seems like a great organization is specatacular in my book.


Let’s check in on some Iowa football recruits:

Come on Ben, extend your arms all the way, man.

Now THAT is just impressive.

Chris Doyle thinks you two will fit in juuuuuust fine.

Iowa wrestler Alex Marinelli was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week. Congrats, Alex! I’m not even going to pretend to know a thing about wrestling, so click the link for more info.

That’s all I got. Have a good one, folks.