Iowa basketball coach Steve Alford opened his teleconference this morning by reading a statement that said, “My entire focus and energy is helping my team win a Big Ten Championship and get ready for the N-C-A-A tournament. This is my only concern.” Alford did not want to discuss the speculation surrounding him and the opening at Indiana. He read the statement again when asked about the Indiana situation. Hoosier coach Mike Davis resigned on Thursday but will coach the remainder of the season.
Alford’s Hawkeyes are 9-3 in the Big Ten and take the outright lead into a game at Minnesota on Saturday. The Hawks won the first matchup in triple overtime and Alford says the Gophers are playing better after an 0-6 start in league play after beating Michigan State. He says Minnesota has changed with the personnel they’re using and he says his team knows they’re going to have a fight on their hands.
Alford says the Hawks don’t need to do anything different now that they have the lead. He says they control their own destiny, but it’s not about being “superhuman,” just doing what they’ve been doing. Alford says the Hawks know that if they keep winning the championship is theirs. He says they’re paying attention and he says it’s kind of like Sunday at a PGA event, as they’re looking at the leaderboard. Alford says they’re excited about what is ahead.
Minnesota center Spencer Tollackson says there was some good to come out of last month’s triple-overtime loss at Iowa. He says they saw that they could play with Iowa and could beat them. He says they weren’t able to pull out the game on the road and hopefully they can do it at home. Tollackson says the home-court advantage should help out as they seem to play with more emotion and intensity at home.
Gopher coach Dan Monson adjusted his lineup after a slow start. Monson says it hasn’t been easy for some of them, but he says they’re part of a team, not an individual sport. Monson says the triple-overtime loss at Iowa took a lot out of the team.