Iowa basketball head coach Fran McCaffery met with the media on Thursday to discuss the team’s upcoming matchup with No. 1 Purdue at the Mackey Arena. Here’s the full transcript of everything he had to say about the Boilermakers before the game.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – No. 1 Purdue basketball welcomes Iowa to Mackey Arena at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday. The two teams met three times last season, including two in the regular season.

Prior to the game, Hawkeyes head coach Fran McCaffery met with the media to discuss how the team will prepare for the top Boilermakers, who will be led by star center Zach Edey alongside freshman guards Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer.

Here’s everything McCaffery had to say before the game:

Q.Fran, can I assume the media will probably make a bigger deal with you versus the number 1 team than with you and your preparation? Is it even common?

McCaffery: Not really. I think at this point everyone who plays Purdue has tremendous respect for that team and Coach Painter and the players they have. Everyone knows who they have. Tough place to play; everyone knows that too.

We’re just trying to prepare.

Q.Aside from what Zach Edey has done, which is enough, what made them a team that is 22-2?

McCaffery: They are a very connected group. You can see it. You have two freshman guards who play really well, and you have some veterans who come off the bench, accept their role and excel in their role. You have a close-knit team. They are big. They have a large number of 3 point shooters. They are not a foul team. They defend. They always have.

It’s a team you have to beat.

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Q.How much has Edey’s game grown over the past year?

McCaffery: I think it helps that he doesn’t divide the time. He’s more comfortable there. They always went to him. Even if he only played half the game, they would go to him when he was there. He has gotten much better at playing in traffic and playing.

When he first got there he wasn’t very good at that, and now he passes the ball to the cutters, he jumps across, he goes fast, and that makes him much harder to guard.

Q.How do you beat this team?

McCaffery: You have to make sure you defend every possession, don’t turn around and get a good chance. You can’t let them dominate the attacking glass and take second shots. They are really good at that. Not only him; he is number 1 in the country. But Furst and Gillis and those other guys, Morton and those guys are winning players. They go after it on the glass.

If you give them more than one or two chances, it’s going to be hard to beat them.

Q.At what point do you sacrifice shooting for size when playing against such a team?

McCaffery: I don’t know that you sacrifice anything at any point. You take what’s there. You need to be careful; you can sell him out, and they can make 15 threes on you. You have to be able to monitor the paint. You must be able to guard the perimeter. You must be able to guard the drive if you want to beat this team.

Q.I know the game, players are a lot younger now, but they have two freshman guards like them and to keep it up like them, how unusual is that?

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McCaffery: Well, those guys don’t play as freshmen, so I think it starts there. You see more and more experienced teams now with the transfer portal, but if you have really good freshmen, you play against them. They’re ready to go. Sometimes they have boys in front of them. We’ve got two really good freshman guards, but they’ve got guys in front of them, so they’re playing, but they’re probably not playing as much as they’d like. I would like to play them more, but the other guys are playing well.

They lost Thompson and Hunter and Ivey, so there was a chance for those guys there, and like I said, Jenkins scores 2,000 points and he comes off the bench happy. It works for them. Those two men are special.

Q.Given what you’ve seen of him, is there any difference between how Purdue played with Haas and those other greats as opposed to how they play now, or is it about the same deal?

McCaffery: It’s kind of the same. The difference was they had two big ones then and two big ones the last few years. They had the other boy, the Haarms boy, and he wasn’t — he didn’t want to split time, so he switched. So they brought in Edey, so they had Edey and Trevion, and they were a handful because they both played 20 minutes, and they were both fresh all the time.

So I think Zach’s stamina, knowing he was going to play more than 30 minutes, I think he’s in a good spot there. But it’s also more comfortable, like I said.

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Related stories about Purdue Basketball

  • Meet the Iowa Hawkeyes: Purdue basketball looks set to shake off its most recent loss in a game against Iowa on Thursday at Mackey Arena. The Hawkeyes are led by forward Kris Murray, who ranks second in the Big Ten behind Zach Edey. CLICK HERE
  • Zach Edey named Big Ten teammate of the week: Purdue junior center Zach Edey earned his sixth Big Ten Player of the Week award, tying Caleb Swanigan for the most in a single season in the program’s history. He averaged 25.5 points and 15.5 rebounds per game for the Boilermakers over two games. CLICK HERE
  • Purdue Remains No. 1 in Latest AP Top 25 Poll: Purdue maintained the No. 1 spot atop the Associated Press Top 25 college basketball poll despite losing to rival Indiana 79-74 on the road. The Boilermakers, now 22-2 and 11-2 in the Big Ten, were among four teams to take first place.CLICK HERE
  • Purdue Comfortably Above Big Ten Stand: Despite losing for the second time this season, Purdue is still in the driving seat for the Big Ten regular season title. Indiana has won six of its last seven games en route to a huge game against Rutgers, and Maryland is on a four-game winning streak with a favorable schedule ahead. CLICK HERE


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This story was originally published on February 8, 2023, 6:00 AM.

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