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Fran McCaffery downplays Auburn's proximity to home

Kaiden Smith03/16/23
Article written by:On3 imageKaiden Smith


(Thornton/Getty Images)

Iowa and Auburn‘s first round matchup in the NCAA Tournament will be played in Legacy Arena at BJCC in Birmingham, Alabama around 2 hours away from Auburn’s campus. Hawkeyes head coach Fran McCaffery was asked about the Tiger’s proximity to their neutral site ahead of the game.

“Yeah. I don’t think anybody is going to think much about that. Obviously, from a fan’s perspective, fans want your team closer,” McCaffery said.

It’s clear that the Tiger’s distance from their tournament venue is the least of McCaffery’s worries, but maybe it should be. The Hawkeyes head into the tournament with a 19-13 record, but on the road and in neutral site games this season they’ve gone 5-10. Legacy Arena may be louder than usual when the Hawkeyes and Tigers tip off, but it’s nothing Iowa isn’t used to according to McCaffery.

“So for them, I’m sure they are excited about it,” McCaffery said. “But as far as how we look at this game and how we prepare will be the same. We see a lot of hostile environments in our league. Okay. Thanks, guys.”

We’ll see how hostile it gets for the Hawkeyes soon, as they tip off against Auburn on Thursday at 6:50 p.m. ET in a game airing on TNT.

Bruce Pearl reveals what makes Iowa’s offense hard to stop

Iowa is well-known as one of the best offensive teams in the nation. If there’s one thing that Fran McCaffrey’s Hawkeyes do well, it’s put up points. They’re actually so good at it that, although Bruce Pearl and his Auburn Tigers will be playing them in the NCAA Tournament, he has a lot of respect for what they do on that side of the ball.

Pearl applauded McCaffrey and Iowa’s offense ahead of their Round of 64 game. He says their up-tempo style allows for a lot of freedom and confidence. However, he recognizes how efficient they also are with that freedom considering their passing and a lack of turnovers.

“A real commitment to up-tempo basketball. A lot of fans or people that profess to know the game think the only brilliant offensive minds are the ones that control everything. That’s a good shot. Wait? They got it to both sides of the floor? That’s a beauty,” Pearl said. “Fran gives his players freedom and gives them confidence. And I think great offensive coaches that are willing to play with some tempo don’t get enough credit for being good coaches.”

“We know sometimes they are going to take a bad shot or early, whatever. It’s that commitment to the break. It’s the spacing,” said Pearl. “He does a great job utilizing his personnel, putting his personnel in positions to be successful. They play unselfishly, they don’t turn the ball over. They will get a shot off before they turn it over. He’s been doing it a long time. He knows what works.”

On3’s Sam Gillenwater contributed to this report