ISU men’s basketball follows Hoiberg’s lead into Iowa matchup


Photo: Jordan Maurice/Iowa State Daily

Coach Fred Hoiberg gives his team instructions during the second half Tuesday, Dec. 6. Iowa States victory marks a season highs in free throws made (24) and attempted (36).

Jeremiah Davis

Disagreeing with officiating is part of the culture of college sports. In college basketball, coaches interact with referees constantly and do it in different ways.

There’s the calm, reserved approach, in which a coach may argue a call, but he or she isn’t going to fly off the handle. Then there’s the coach who gets fired up and animated with officials and draws his or her fair share of technical fouls.

ISU men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg is the former, while Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery is the latter.

“I don’t mind either [approach] and I say that because I see benefits in both,” said forward Royce White. “I think on a 31-game basis, the way that Hoiberg does it is probably more efficient just because, you know, 31 games of yelling becomes taxing. And eventually it becomes a routine instead of something pure.”

Hoiberg’s icy demeanor stands in stark contrast to McCaffery. Both are in their second seasons as coaches and will face off for the second time on Friday night in Hilton.

The Cyclones will be coming off a convincing win against Prairie View A&M, while Iowa enters the game after losing to Northern Iowa 80-60 on Tuesday night.

During that game, the Hawkeyes (5-4) had a stretch in which they were called for three consecutive technical fouls — five total on Iowa in the game — and McCaffery was ejected after receiving his second.

The flurry of fouls helped Northern Iowa to a 20-2 run. ISU guard Chris Allen said he’s played for fiery coaches in the past and that a fired-up coach can be a detriment as much as an advantage.

“When I heard [there were five technical fouls], I was like, ‘That was the difference in the game right there,'” Allen said. “I just feel like whatever the coach needs to do to get the job done, that’s what he might need to do. For [McCaffery], even though they lost that game, it might’ve been a turning point for them.”

Players said that Hoiberg stays pretty calm in the huddle too, and his demeanor works in tandem with them as players to keep a level head during games.

“He tells us [to] never get too high, never get too low,” said guard Chris Babb. “He’s encouraging, but at the same time will get on us when he needs to get on us. But it’s never to the point where he’s attacking us or yelling to where it brings down our demeanor during the game.”

Hoiberg didn’t want any part of comparing his coaching style with McCaffery when asked about it Wednesday, saying simply that “everyone has their style.”

The Cyclones (6-3) beat the Hawkeyes 75-72 in Iowa City last season, in a game where McCaffery became livid with officials on multiple occasions.

With Allen taking over point guard duties for senior Scott Christopherson —who said Wednesday he’s happy to be back in his natural position — the players and Hoiberg know they need to focus on themselves and not what Iowa’s coach may be saying or doing during the game.

“We’ve got to come out playing hard and be ready for this game,” Allen said. “Regardless of what their situation was, we can’t worry about them, we’ve gotta worry about us.”

The Cyclones tip off against the Hawkeyes at 7 p.m. Friday at Hilton Coliseum.