Ryan Notes: Teaching, Appreciating Toughness

Bo Ryan was asked by Bret Bielema if he could borrow Mike Bruesewitz after the sophomore forward showed his grit while playing on a sprained knee. Ryan respectfully declined.

MADISON — Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema paid Bo Ryan the ultimate compliment Monday.

He said he wanted Mike Bruesewitz to throw on some pads and play tight end for the Badgers.

Ryan probably won't give up Brueser that easily, but he appreciated the message all the same.

"Well, Frank Martin already made an offer for him that would be tough to refuse," Ryan said. "Of course, not for football at Kansas State, but, Mike's a great competitor. They come in all sizes and shapes, I guess. You know, Jordan Taylor a pretty determined guy too. Between Jordan and Bruesewitz, we don't lack for guys who are afraid to stick their faces in."

It is an attitude that pervades Ryan's program.

The Badgers set the goal every year of making more free throws than their opponents attempt — a goal they accomplished once again this season.

Josh Gasser became only the third freshman ever to start under Ryan because of his physical and mental toughness. Tim Jarmusz has played for three straight years despite long shooting slumps because of all the intangibles he brings to the team. The way to earn minutes under Ryan isn't that difficult to discern, even if it is difficult to perform.

"Josh (Gasser) isn't afraid to stick his nose. We have other guys too. Tim Jarmusz," Ryan said. "Some guys are just a little more aggressive than others and play with a little bit of an edge. I don't want to rank them, but I think it's pretty obvious, when people watch us play, guys who are a little bit more physical than the others. Those kind of guys can usually find time on the court for me."

Dome Effects

Like most of the NCAA Final Four games over the past few years, the semifinals will be played in a dome.

While some have complained that it throws off the shooting lines of players and makes for a more sloppy game, Ryan added his own unique perspective on the presence of domes for basketball.

"Just think of Hoosiers when they go in and measure," Ryan said. "People talk about sight lines, this, that, the other. It's a game they love, bunch of guys in shorts and t-shirts running around. That's pretty good stuff. It won't change."

Difference Makers

After two straight exits in the second round, their were whispered doubts among fans about Ryan's ability to win in the NCAA Tournament.

With two straight more-than-impressive wins, those doubts should be allayed for a while.

Still, it begs the question what made this team, so much different from last year's squad? After all, both had Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer, not to mention a couple of decent four-year guards in Jason Bohannon and Trevon Hughes.

Ryan served up a whopping cliché as an answer — but at least he acknowledged it was a cliché.

"They just wanted to be a good team. How corny is that?" Ryan joked. "They just wanted to work hard, be a good team, and continue the tradition of getting to the tournament and competing for the Big Ten and all that kind of stuff. It might sound like one big cliché, but these guys were just bound and determined to do something, and they have. It's a good group of young men who have come together for a purpose. But not just coming together now, but they came together a while ago."

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