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Big Ten Notebook: McCaffery not worried about May's two points against Iowa State

BY IAN MARTIN | DECEMBER 14, 2010 7:10 AM

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Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery discussed the poor performance of Iowa's leading scorer in the team's Dec. 10 loss to Iowa State, saying in a teleconference on Tuesday that sophomore Eric May's two-point effort was due to his lack of attack.

"He had a couple turnovers in the game that were really tentative turnovers," McCaffery said. "When he's playing aggressive, we're a different team."

May averages 11.9 points per game, and he is the only Hawkeye averaging double digits. Yet he continues to struggle in stretches and will have the occasional single-digit game. McCaffery knows May is an excellent player and is now trying to get a consistent performance from him.

"What I try to get him to do is challenge him," McCaffery said. "He's been a guy who, from the beginning of the season, has affected the game on both ends of the floor."

McCaffery has been trying to teach the 6-5 guard to be more aggressive.

McCaffery has preached that turnovers from being too aggressive are fine in certain instances. This is now what he's trying to convey to May, hoping he can make a mark on the game even when having a night in which his shooting is subpar.

As a freshman last season, May had flashes of athleticism not usually seen in then-head coach Todd Lickliter's slower offense. Despite the grinding style, he still averaged 9 points per game.

Many predicted he would thrive this season, and while his points per game is higher, it may not be the noticeable takeover that some expected.

May is still arguably the most athletic player on the team, and McCaffery said the progression and even occasional setbacks will not just be fixed overnight.

"Forget about the last 24 to 48 hours," McCaffery said. "For him, [his coaching] has been ongoing."

Michigan school challenges Big Ten squads

Oakland University, a Summit League school located in Rochester, Mich., may be the best resource for scouting the Big Ten's top teams come conference play.

The Golden Grizzlies are just 5-5, but they have been competitive with the three Big Ten teams they've played during the squad's nonconference slate, including a 1-point loss to No. 14 Michigan State last week. And they still have two games against Big Ten teams left to play this season in Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State.

"They have a Big Ten-type team," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said in a teleconference, pointing out the team has two starting post players who are 6-9 and 6-11. "[And] they've got very athletic guards … this is by far [Oakland head coach Greg Kampe's] best team."

The Golden Grizzlies also put up good fights in earlier contests, such as a 15-point loss at No. 19 Purdue. The apparently-fearless team also played West Virginia and Tennessee this season, and only has one loss to a non-major opponent.

Illinois head coach Bruce Weber, whose squad defeated the Golden Grizzlies by 11 on Dec. 8, said there was no shame in a close game against a team that made the NCAA Tournament last season.

"I don't think we played as motivated as we should've," Weber said. "But Oakland is a good, quality team."


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