The Iowa State men’s basketball team will host Iowa on Friday night. The Cyclones will be looking for a little revenge against the Hawkeyes after Iowa beat Iowa State 73-57 a season ago. In that contest, Craig Brackins went 2-for-12 and six points, in one of the worst games in his Iowa State career. Don’t think that Brackins won’t have last year’s Iowa game on his mind this Friday. Here’s a Q&A that CycloneFanatic.com had with Brackins on Friday afternoon.
Do you think that this team needs to get tougher?
CB: We are tough. We’re not going to let somebody push us around. I don’t think that it is a toughness think. We need to play harder. That’s what I think that it is. When a team plays hard they look better. Maybe we need to outwork more teams.
Iowa got physical with you, individually last year. Do you expect that again this year?
CB: I expect them to do the same thing. That’s what Cal was trying to do. I think that is what a lot of teams will try to do. They’ll try to get in my head and frustrate me. If I just keep my head and keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll be fine.
When you look back at things, how did you handle that last year?
CB: Last year, I didn’t handle it very well. They pushed me and I’d do a little thing and get called for it. If somebody is doing something to you, you can’t go back and do it to them. You have to just keep your head and outwork them, outthink them and do something else that works.
How does this team get better at rebounding?
CB: I think that we are all pretty good rebounders. I think that it is more of us going to get the ball. I mean, I have seen on tape some occasions where we block the other guys out and nobody went to go get the ball. The Cal guy went to go get the ball or another opponent came in and got the ball. If you look at it block out wise, we are doing a good job with that but we didn’t come up with the ball so I think that we just need to hit and go grab the ball like we were doing earlier in the year. Now, we have some guys, competition wise who are just as fast, just as fast, just as athletic or even more.
They are going to try to slow you down. How do you counter that?
CB: Execute in the half court offense. That’s what we have done. We need to get back to being good at that again. A lot of teams aren’t going to let us score in transition.
You prefer to play in transition though right?
CB: Of course. All teams do. It’s fun. It’s up-tempo. You have fun. There are breakaway dunks. A lot of things like that happen. I mean, if you have to execute in a half court set then that’s what you have to do.
Have you talked to the younger guys about not panicking right now?
CB: It’s really early. We aren’t even halfway done with the season yet. We still have a ways to go until conference play. There is a lot of room for improvement. I think that talking to them and trying to help them out, keeping their heads right along with keeping our heads right. We are older and we are experienced but we get frustrated too so we have to find a way to come together as the older guys, stick together and help each other out too.