January 6, 2013

McCaffery: Wolverines are unselfish

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery likes Michigan's talent as much as anyone else who has watched the Wolverines. McCaffery insists what makes U-M special goes beyond a loaded lineup.

The Iowa boss certainly faced a bird's eye view of what John Beilein can put on the court in the Hawkeyes' 95-67 loss at Crisler Center. Freshman Glenn Robinson III cashed in 20 points and 10 rebounds, sophomore Trey Burke scored 19 with 12 assists, junior Tim Hardaway, Jr. notched 19 points and five assists, and freshman Nik Stauskas added 13 points.

The Wolverines kept their hot shooting hands, connecting on 58.1 percent from the floor and 45.5 percent from three-point range. McCaffery first acknowledged Beilein's stockpile and strategy.

"They have so many weapons, they're hard to keep under control for long periods of time," McCaffery said. "You really have to stay after them. They can score in transition, they can score at halfcourt, and they've got a lot of people they can go to.

"They've got you stretched out, both with John's offense and the fact that they have multiple three-point shooters. They execute extremely well and they move the ball."

Don't think it's all about talent, though, McCaffery quickly added.

"One of the qualities that is special is that they have so many weapons, yet they remain incredibly unselfish," he pointed out. "I think that is probably, in my estimation, the key to their success. A lot of guys could be going for theirs.

"There are a lot of guys that want to play in the NBA, want to put up numbers, but when somebody is open, they throw the ball to that person. They're playing like a team, and that's why they're undefeated."

The Iowa head coach was pleased with his team jumping to a 7-0 lead, and holding an advantage for most of the first half. He didn't like seeing the Hawkeyes crumble a bit defensively when the Wolverines got on a run to take an 11-point halftime lead.

He liked it even less when Iowa didn't respond defensively early in the second half, at one point subbing out the five second-half starters.

"We weren't as tough as we needed to be for 40 minutes," he said. "A big thing for us coming into this game was the start. So often, in their 14-0 start, it was 13-2, 19-4, those kinds of starts. I just didn't think we could have that kind of experience in their building.

"We handled that. We were up 7-zip, twice they took the lead, twice we took it back. So it was 27-26, and it was that point at which they really started to go and have some transition opportunities. We had a couple of near misses, and we put too much pressure on our offense at that time."

"We seem to be a team that tries to stem the tide, when the other team is making a run, with our offense. You have to do it with your defense … especially against a team of this caliber."

Make no mistake, he stressed - that caliber will have to be reckoned with all season long.

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