Iowa opens the Big Ten Conference Tournament in Chicago Friday against Purdue, a team they handled earlier in the season at home 78-59. Coach Steve Alford says that win came after a great defensive effort. Alford says they were able to handle the Boilermakers leaders scorers Andrew Teague and Carl Landry, which he says wasn’t easy as they’re both five-year seniors.
Alford says this game will be played on a neutral floor, and they’re working help the players find a comfort zone. Alford says only three or four of the guys have Big Ten Tournament experience, so he says they’re trying to make it as normal to a regular game as they possibly can. Alford says the team has come together well after losing several seniors. He says Adam Haluska had to step into the senior leadership role.
Alford says there were a lot of question marks coming in, but he says Haluska’s ability to elevate his scoring and his leadership were a big key. Iowa has won two tournament titles, and Alford was asked if that would help them this year.
Alford says he hopes it carries over, as they talk about the fact they’re had success in the tournament without trying to put pressure on. But Alford says they let the players know they are the defending tournament champs. Iowa plays Purdue at 1:30. The Hawkeyes are 17-13 overall 9-7 in the conference, while Purdue is 20-10 overall and 9-7 in the conference.