Craig Brackins will go head-to-head with the UNI Panthers for the third time in his Iowa State career on Wednesday. That was just one of the hot topics that Brackins discussed with reporters earlier today. Here’s a Q&A with Iowa State’s leader on the state of Cyclone basketball.
Brackins is averaging 17.1 points per game and 7.6 rebounds over Iowa State’s first seven contests.
What did you learn after watching tape from this weekend?
CB: We looked at the tape. We reviewed it. We went over it. We saw what we did. They were a lot of mistakes that we can correct and we know that so it was just some breakdowns that we had that we kind of let slip.
You mentioned that you needed to get tougher. How is that?
CB: I have been watching film of myself after all of the games that we have played and it is just little possessions where I take it to the rim. Then, I settle for whatever they give me. Either it is a jump shot or a fade away or something. I just need to get more aggressive. When I go towards the basket aggressive, good things happen. It’s something that I need to start doing and keeping in my mind.
Is that injury related?
CB: No, I think that it is a rhythm thing. Just get my rhythm and my timing back. It could be a lot of things but I think it is just me, not doing what I think I should be doing.
Your timing seemed a little bit off. Do you know why that was?
CB: I don’t know. I think that my timing is off just from me. It is a lot different this year. A lot of teams throw a lot of different things at me. Trying to adjust is a little difficult. It is something that I knew was going to happen this year. I just need to be patient. My teammates are doing a great job of scoring and doing everything that they are doing. When you have a team like we have, I don’t really have to do that much. Everybody else can do so much.
What is the biggest challenge in facing a Northern Iowa team that pretty much brings everybody back?
CB: They were a good team last year and they didn’t really lose anybody. It is going to be difficult for us, for the new guys, in a rivalry game. They know how intense Drake was. This is just is big if not bigger. It is going to take a lot of us older guys over the next few days to focus and lead the team to bring a positive attitude to practice after this loss that we had. We need to bounce back from that.
Do you have more of an appreciation of the Iowa State-UNI rivalry than you had when you first stepped on campus?
CB: It is a big deal. Coach coached there before. One of his good friends is the coach. It is always a great battle when we play against UNI. Just the atmosphere that it brings when you play on their court or our court. I have played here and at their place so I know how intense it gets. I know how important the rivalry games are.
Why were you able to have such a good game against Northern Iowa last year?
CB: I was aggressive against them last year. I guess I was comfortable. If I stay aggressive, I feel like I do a pretty good job when I am aggressive. I’m sure that they’ll double me or something. I need to be prepared for everything. In practice, I’m sure that we’ll do a lot of things. I just need to stay locked in and pay attention.
What kind of defense are you primarily seeing this year?
CB: I think that I get a little bit of both. They’ll let me go one-on-one sometimes. They’ll double or they will wait until I dribble. They always mix it up. I think that makes things hardest. When they mix it up, I’m thinking ‘is the double coming, is it not coming.’ It is something that I need to adjust to.
Have you become a better passer?
CB: I think that I have. The double-team can make you a better passer. You are always aware and are always looking for options and who is open.
How quickly were you able to move on from the loss?
CB: Fairly quickly. When the game is over, you let it go. It hurts. You never want to lose. I hate the feeling of losing. In the locker room, I told the guys that we’ve felt like this before, especially us older guys. We couldn’t hang our heads low and let the young guys see us like that. I went in there and talked to a lot of them and said that we need to get ready for practice on Monday and it’s a loss, we’ll let it go and move on to the next game.