I have said this a number of times; offense is spacing in a lot of ways. Wisconsin has terrific spacing, they are skilled, they are efficient and unselfish. Now, you really have to be in tune. What happened to us is that we were behind plays a lot and we fouled because of it. I knew it would be a challenge. We did some good things in spurts. If we could ever do it continually, we could be competitive. But we ran into a really good team a well coached team and a tough system to play against. Hopefully, what you do is you look at it and you try to move forward and continue to grow. Hopefully we are better than we were when we started. I do think we are making progress. I don't know if we can make it fast enough, but we are making progress.
Q: You had worked your way back to even to start the second half, what changed after that?
Todd Lickliter: Wisconsin is really good, but we took some ill advised shots. We got anxious, took some shots that we can't make. So often, the things that get you close, you slip away from and that is what happened to us. Give Wisconsin credit, they defend, they make it tough. If you make a mistake, they make you pay for it. In no way am I minimizing their part in this.
Q: You have said you have a young team that plays well in spurts. What does it take to play 40 minutes the way you want?
Lickliter: I think that it's like anything else. A lot of repetition. A lot of teaching, going back into the gym and practicing. That is the idea in practice. What these games do, is they really emphasize how important it is to stay committed to principles. We struggled with it. It's not that they are not trying and that they don't do it. But it's relatively new. We will fight through it.
Q: Does Wisconsin play the game the way you want to play it?
Lickliter: I would think anyone would want their team to play with the kind of poise and efficiency that Wisconsin does. Are our systems the same? No. But they play with great purpose and I think that is a compliment to them. I thought we did at times, also. We will keep working and try to play our game as consistently as they play their game.
Q: Did Justin get up enough shots?
Lickliter: We would always like to get him some more good looks, and the ones he missed were probably shots that he shouldn't have taken. But the thing about it is that you can't rely on one individual to take the majority of your shots. People will figure that out. Justin can shoot, people know that. He needs to be our best screener, and I believe he is. We have to find ways to get shots for him. We will find more shots for him if the rest of us stop taking shots we can't make. That is not a good formula for winning, taking shots that are hard to make.
Q: What about your defense today?
Lickliter: I thought we were behind. They are very patient, and you need to be very active against them and we were not active enough. We got behind, and that is why we foul. When we were active and ahead of the play, and defended with some purpose, we were pretty consistent. But the problem was that we did that the first half and we couldn't get them off the glass. In the first half, we had 10 turnovers and they had seven, and with offensive rebounds, it was a six point game. We had the ball in the last minute down three. It's easy to see we need to take care of the ball better and keep them off the glass.
Q: Talking about progress, you have said that you are seeing it…expand on that and what you are seeing day to day, with eight weeks to go.
Lickliter: I have also said I wish we would see more progress. But so much of it is just having an understanding of making winning plays. Understanding that the game is played a possession at a time and you can't hurry up and win a basketball game and where your focus is. That is a part of it, and understanding technique. We are getting much better there, of understanding the principles and techniques required to defend. We need to keep working on the poise and consistency and focus.