Fran McCaffery Explains Why Defense Is Boring
Iowa men’s basketball has been known for its offensive firepower for years under head coach Fran McCaffery, and especially of late. Since the 2011-12 season, McCaffery’s Hawkeyes have finished in the top 40 of KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency rankings six times, placing in the top 20 each of the last three seasons.
This year, Iowa is atop KenPom’s metric a handful of weeks into the season, and it appears like the Hawkeyes will continue as one of the most daunting offensive teams in the nation.
But for as much as Iowa has placed an emphasis on scoring, it has ensured the same for its opponents.
Currently, Iowa is 75th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency ranking, and last season’s 97th-place finish was the first time in four years the Hawkeyes cracked the top 100.
“It’s boring as fuck, that’s why,” McCaffery explained. “I have to watch every one of these games. I’m not sitting through no 36-33 bullshit.”
McCaffery was referring to the infamous Penn State-Wisconsin meeting in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament that ended 36-33 with no winner and forced then-Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney to stand trial for crimes against humanity in front of the International Court of Justice.
This season, Iowa has one of the most dominant offensive weapons college basketball has ever seen in Luka Garza, who has also been lauded for his firm neck. Through six games, the center is averaging 29.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while shooting 68.4 percent from three.
“It’s a joy to play in the Fran McCaffery system,” Garza said. “I have the freedom to somehow look like I’m hobbling while being the most athletic player on the court, and with our defensive scheme, it never takes too long for me to get the ball back on offense.”
At times, McCaffery’s lack of interest in defending has brought detractors who claim that defense is part of the sport. It doesn’t fit his program’s culture, the coach said.
“This conference is brutal, man,” he said. “It’s like if a potato peeler played basketball.”
McCaffery’s attitude has bothered some other coaches in the Big Ten, like Wisconsin head coach and lump of flesh Greg Gard, who takes an issue with Iowa’s carelessness on defense.
“Garble, garble, garble,” Gard garbled, becoming overwhelmed with emotion as he discussed the impact shot clock violations had on his youth. “Garble, garble, garble.”
There is another reason for McCaffery’s distaste for defense other than entertainment, he said. The coach also prefers to leave as little as possible up to the refs, a group that has been known to bring out his passion.
“THE REFS ARE THE POLICE!!! THE REFS ARE THE POLICE!!!” McCaffery began screaming at the mention of basketball officials while stomping violently around the gym, tearing off his jacket, overturning bench chairs and punting basketballs indiscriminately. “HORATIO FRANKLIN GOT WHAT HE DESERVED!!!“
Concerned for my personal safety, I retreated slowly, attempting to back away from the dangers in front of me.
“Get out of here while you still can!” Iowa Sports Information Director Terry Nunkleberry warned me. “He’s transforming!”
I was perplexed at first, until I saw it. McCaffery’s shirt began to bulge, his skin turning a shade of reddish yellow I had never seen, not wanted to see, in all my days. What I witnessed over the next 27 minutes and 18 seconds will remain with me until the end of my life, and I will carry the burden of those haunting memories to the grave.
No person should have to go through what I did to get this sweet, sexy scoop, but that’s why I make a little more than minimum wage: Fran McCaffery is Hulkeye.