TRANSCRIPT: Otz on the win over Baylor in KC

The following is a transcript of T.J. Otzelberger’s press conference after Iowa State’s 78-72 Big 12 quarterfinal win over Baylor in Kansas City.

Q. Coach, Bridges got off to a hot start. I’m not sure he got a shot off the last 10 minutes or so. What did you guys do to prevent him from getting the ball in his hands?

COACH OTZELBERGER: He was tremendous. He was 9/9 at one point and finished 10/11. We switched more. We were more conscious with our effort, getting a stick hand up early, trying to make him play inside the three. He got going even early in the second half in transition off an offensive rebound. It comes down to being more intentional, sprinting off and finishing plays. He had a hot hand. We were fortunate in a last ten minutes or so we were able to do the job.

Q. Coach, comment on the rebounding. Jaren Holmes getting his own offensive rebound on the free throw in the second half, it epitomized your hustle play today. Can you speak to that and the importance of the offensive rebound?

COACH OTZELBERGER: We like for Jaren to make the free throws. That’s a good alternative. Really heads up play from him, tremendous effort and energy. That was an impactful play. That gave us that extra cushion. Those are the type of plays that, you know, you need to make if you want to beat a great team. It’s very well coached. And much respect we have for Baylor. We’re fortunate to make just enough of those plays.

Q. When you look at Baylor, number one team offensively in the Big 12, you have beaten them three straight times. How confident does that make you feel about your team heading into March.

COACH OTZELBERGER: We are fortunate. We have so much respect for the program. They have great coaches, great players, they have a winning culture. And so for us, we knew how hard it was going to be. We’re confident in our guys, the work they do every day. And you know, this time of the year you want to be playing your best. And you know, we’re going to need to keep playing our best. Fortunate, thankful for our guys for how they worked each and every single day. A lot of humility knowing what it’s going to take moving forward here and beyond this year how well we have to play.

Q. Coach yesterday you talked about in terms of what you wanted to see from your guys. You wanted them to tap back into the habits that made you guys so successful this season. And really just enjoy the moment. Do you feel that was the difference-maker today and why you were able to have the performance that you did?

COACH OTZELBERGER: I do. This time of the year, unity and togetherness, having a great locker room is very important. Want our guys to have fun, enjoy this . These are special times in their life. And we want to be in that moment. And really fortunate that all the guys on our team are stepping up and doing that. And that’s why we have been putting them all in the game, you know, getting everybody in and be part of that excitement and have fun and be together. So you know, credit to our players for really embracing that.

Q. Not every season is like this. There’s so much depth in this league. And I imagine it can be demoralizing. Every night you’re going out and it’s a tough opponent. You haven’t had an easy game in a long time. Does that get demoralizing when you are heading into a tournament like this? How do you flip out of that not letting that get you down when you’re going into these tournaments where like every one matters a little bit more.

COACH OTZELBERGER: It’s challenging because the league is so good. What we try to do is remind our guys throughout the season that you are playing in the best league in America. The other teams are really good. There’s nights that you can play well and still lose. And it’s how you handle adversity. Just like life. How you bounce back. Coming together in those tough times and, you know, we certainly had them. You know, we had challenges — we had lost four in a row. You know, had some stretches where we’ve had those tough times. Our guys have been fortunate through the work togetherness to come out and come through those. But what a good league. And you know, you just got to be so mentally tough because everybody had their challenges this year, and everybody is going to have them, but it’s out of respect for the coaches, players, teams are so good that you know it’s part of it.

Q. Coach, I’m sure you heard that Bill Self missed today’s game, in the hospital. And a team you could play. Stressors with the job and late nights and all that stuff. I wonder if that kind of news hits home for a fellow coach.

COACH OTZELBERGER: Yeah, Coach Self has always treated me well. Respect him and respect their program. Certainly want to wish him the best. Texted him earlier today and letting him know we’re keeping him in our thoughts and prayers. For all of us, it takes a lot out of everybody. There’s a lot of time demands. And you hope that everybody is doing everything they can. And you wish everybody the best. But you also know it takes its toll. We’ll continue to keep Coach in our thoughts and prayers and hope that he’s able to be healthy and return soon.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.