Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery hopes improved defense will help the Hawkeyes avoid another late season collapse. The Hawks were cruising with a 19-6 record a year ago before dropping seven of their last eight games to finish 2013.
McCaffery says that lack of defense hurt them in the stretch run. “The reality is we didn’t defend the way we needed to defend to consistently win. That’s why we were 9-9 and not better than that. And I think that’s got to be the challenge for this team,” McCaffery says.
McCaffery does not feel the Hawkeyes “wore down” at the end of the season or got tired, he says they were relying too much on the offense and were not good enough defensively. McCaffery has taken the program from the bottom of the Big Ten back to the NCAA Tournament and the goal now is to keep improving. “I feel really good about where we are, but you never develop any level of complacency… we’ve never arrived, you are constantly trying to improve what you already have and improve what’s here,” McCaffery says.
McCaffery says senior forward Aaron White is the leader of the team and he says they 7 upperclassmen, so he expects others to also show some leadership.
Iowa opens against Hampton on November 14th.