COACH McCAFFERY: I've been doing this a long time. I've coached in a lot of games. I've coached in a lot of tournaments. I've coached favorites; I've coached underdogs. This team deserved a better fate tonight.
Devyn, just talk about the last possession, last shot.
DEVYN MARBLE: We were trying to get Josh [Oglesby] the ball. He kind of got stuck in the corner, so thought dribble handed off to him, probably would have faded out-of-bounds. It was a position I didn't want to put him in. So I just turned and knew I had to get the shot over Keith [Appling], he's like 6-0, 6-1. It looked good, and sometimes they fall and sometimes they don't.
Just asked the Michigan State players; how physical was that game compared to the Big Ten and other games you've played in your career?
ERIC MAY: Yeah, Michigan State is always a physical game. We knew that coming in. The key is to match their physicality, and I think we did a good job of that. They are a tough team, but you have to really sustain that the whole game, though.
DEVYN MARBLE: I played this team freshman year in the Big Ten Tournament. That was the most physical game I'd ever been in until today with the same team. So usually when we play each other, it's a very physical game.
Seemed like Michigan State kept coming up with dagger after dagger, big plays, turnovers, and you came back and responded late in the half. What was going on in the second half and what was your mind-set like as they kept seemed to get a nail-in-the-coffin-type play over and over?
DEVYN MARBLE: We just tried to keep our poise. We knew they were going to make a run, they are a really good team. The goal for us is to try to limit the runs and cut it to like 8-0 runs and like that, you don't want it to go 12-2 and 14-0, stuff like that, so just try to limit their runs.
Plus, we had the lead so all we had to do was keep our poise and try to make plays down the stretch, also. But they knocked down the shots and we didn't.
ERIC MAY: I mean, kind of like Coach said, they made some big shots, and we had some shots that looked like they were good, but the key is to just stay calm. I don't think we ever -- there's maybe a minute or two we got a little riled up but we held our composure and had a chance there.
Obviously you don't know your fate until Sunday in terms of the tournament, but you were so close to getting this one, one shot short.
ERIC MAY: I think we deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament. I'm really proud of my team. We are a really good team and we have fought all season long. Whenever we are playing, we are going to play our tails off next week, wherever we are playing.
Not sure how much you do want to talk about this, but the play where Harris got a foul call, was able to go to the line for a free throw, is that what you're talking about with deserving a better fate?
COACH McCAFFERY: Yeah, that's part of it.
I'll take that onus off you about the referee; I saw what you saw, as well. Is there another reason that stuck out in your mind why this happened tonight beside that?
COACH McCAFFERY: We turned the ball over too much. We had 19 turnovers. We felt like coming in, we needed to turn it over less than we did the last time we played them; we turned it over 18, and turned it over 19 and we needed to limit their offensive rebounding and they got 16.
So the two areas didn't happen like we had hoped. But, I thought our defense overall was really good. And I thought we were able to run. Thought our execution was pretty good. In the second half, we had a little more difficulty running our stuff, a little harder. But overall, you know, proud of how we kept fighting.
You led for most of the game, did you sense maybe your team's youth caught up with them down the stretch?
COACH McCAFFERY: No. Had nothing to do with it. Absolutely nothing to do with it. Nothing at all to do with it.
Seemed like some of their shots were short, do you think there was any fatigue today having to play back-to-back days, or no?
COACH McCAFFERY: I don't think it was that, no. I think there were other factors involved.
When Appling, hit the 3 to give them the lead late going into that time-out, what did you say to the team in that timeout right after they took that lead?
COACH McCAFFERY: You know, I just challenged them. You know they are going to make some big shots. They are good players. They have a really good team. We were still right there. It was not time to panic. There was plenty of time left. Just don't panic. We have got to get a shot, get a stop, okay.
You turn the ball over against this team and it's usually two points. So it's get a shot, get a stop, is really all we were trying to do.
Might be off my number, are there 48 teams better than Iowa?
COACH McCAFFERY: No, not at all. I think when you analyze it, you look at all of the factors involved. Starting with the quality of our league, which is phenomenal, top to bottom. You're seeing that this week. You've seen it all year long. You've seen it with the number of rankings we have and the way we have played against all the best teams, how we have fought when we've lost, how we've fought when we've won, how we've continued to improve. I think it's clear with what we have done that we should be in the NCAA Tournament.
I respect the job that the committee has. I know it's difficult. I know there are a lot of other folks that feel the same way. But I think, you know, when you look at all the numbers, I think they bear out that we should be in. I think if you want to lock into any one particular number, you look at all of them. I think if you do that, you'll see where we stack up.
After a game like this, what do you say to your team? Tom Izzo sat up there where you are sitting and said Iowa deserved to win the game; we stole the game. What's your message to your ballclub after a game like this?
COACH McCAFFERY: That would be hard to say right now.
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