IOWA CITY — With one game remaining in the regular season, the Iowa basketball team is at the bottom of the Big Ten standings, and you don’t need to look very far on social media to find Hawkeye fans suggesting that the team has the wrong coach.
That coach hasn’t noticed. Fran McCaffery said he hasn’t felt any pressure at all as a result of his team being 12-18 overall and 3-14 in the Big Ten.
McCaffery, whose team closes the regular season Sunday with a home game against Northwestern, went on to add in a stern exchange with a reporter at his Friday news conference that he doesn’t feel his job status should even be a topic of discussion.
"It shouldn't affect anybody," McCaffery said. "You shouldn't even be bringing it up, to be honest with you or anybody else."
McCaffery said the reason he hasn’t felt any pressure is not because he received a contract extension from Iowa in November.
"It has to do with body of work," he said.
"There is a lot of things to be evaluated," he added. "Maybe you should look at that."
McCaffery, now in his eighth season as the Iowa coach, recorded his 400th career victory a few weeks ago, and coming into this season the Hawkeyes had played in some sort of postseason tournament six years in a row.
They’re not likely to do that this season unless they can find a way to win five games in five days next week to win the Big Ten tournament.
But McCaffery said he has not seen any signs that his players have given up on this season.
"It does not appear to me that way," he said. "They've been engaged in scouting sessions. Scout team has been great; the starting group has been great. The other guys are locked into what we're teaching. The practice has been intense. They've been professional in our game prep, and we've played really well at times.
"Obviously, you look at the game the other night (an 86-82 loss at Minnesota), we were great for 32 minutes. We were horrible for eight minutes. You have to eliminate that."
The Iowa players are as baffled as their coach over why they have played in spurts all season. At Minnesota, they gave up 19 consecutive points in the first half to fall behind by 20, then nearly pulled the game out with a 63-point second half.
"If we had that answer, we would have stopped it a while ago," sophomore forward Cordell Pemsl said. "I can’t figure it out. But every day we come in here, we’re trying to figure it out, we’re working. The season isn’t over. We’ve got a game Sunday and we're going to do what we can in the Big Ten tournament to make a run."