Fran McCaffery likes the Iowa basketball team he has seen play at home this season a lot more than the one he has seen on the road.
The Hawkeye coach said during this morning’s Big Ten teleconference that Iowa has seemingly taken on a different personality when it takes the court away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“We have not played well on the road this season and hopefully, we can get that turned around,’’ McCaffery said.
Iowa has had just two true road games during its 11-4 start to the season and losses at Virginia Tech and Michigan share a common trait.
Both games have been a struggle defensively for the Hawkeyes.
They are the only two games this season opponents have shot better than 50 percent from the field against Iowa, and in both instances the opponent piled up plenty of points.
The Hokies routed the Hawkeyes 95-79 while the Wolverines handed Iowa a 95-67 loss on Sunday.
Virginia Tech shot 52.5 percent in its win, while Michigan blistered the nets at a 58.1-percent clip in its lone match-up this season with the Hawkeyes.
By comparison, in other games Iowa has limited opponents to 38.4-percent shooting.
With three freshmen in his starting five, McCaffery expects some inconsistency in the Hawkeyes’ play but he felt he watched two different teams within Sunday’s game at the Crisler Center.
“When we were up three, up four, we were fine,’’ he said. “We crumbled a bit when they made their run. Those are the times when you have to be the most mentally tough. We’ve had a tendency to rely on our offense to try to stop a run when we need to become a team that relies on its defense to stop a run.’’
McCaffery said a review of tape confirmed what he saw transpire as Michigan pulled away late in the first half and early in the second Sunday.
“We didn’t lock in defensively the way have at home, we were not good in our transition defense,’’ McCaffery said. “It’s always much easier at home when you have the crowd behind you, but you have to be able to overcome mistakes and become tougher mentally on the defensive end on the road when the opponent is making that run. We’ve got some work to do.’’