"This is on Alando (Tucker) and Jason (Chappell); they've been cleared to begin practicing today. They will be monitored closely by our sports medicine staff throughout practice. We don't have the timetable for their return to game action; we just want to see how they respond to practice conditions. There's really nothing else I can tell you right now. We just have to observe and evaluate them as the week goes on. With that I'll be happy to take any questions you have on our games this week. They'll be on the practice floor starting today and don't ask because there isn't anything else I can say. We'll see how it goes."
Bo can you talk about the uniqueness of this portion of your schedule the next two weeks with the three games against the other Wisconsin schools?
"Well I get a lot of feedback from other coaches on different things. They think I am absolutely, certifiably…that I've lost it to play the three state schools in a row. Because in Iowa the three games are very emotional games. To play the three state schools at this time in some people's minds is not very good. Well, it's pretty simple. When you don't forget where you came from and you don't forget the important things, I think it's safe to say that playing the three state schools is what's good for the game of basketball. Fortunately we have all three of them at home. But I think most people would not do this with these types of games. Because look at games like this throughout the country and if, for example, Bowling Green goes in to play Cincinnati or Ohio State or if Miami of Ohio goes in…you know what you'll get if you play three fairly local schools back to back to back. In my mind I see it as when you play in your league, what are you playing every night? You're playing really good teams, very good competition and they're all rivalry games now in the conference. The Big Ten has been around long enough that every game is a rivalry game, even with Penn State even though they're the newest member. So what's going to happen here? Three intense games, three good games against guys who know one another pretty much from top to bottom, guys that have played against one another. Now I think that's good for basketball, especially in the state of Wisconsin."
When you look at these three games coming up, do you view it as a situation where Wisconsin has only something to lose when you're playing, I guess in particular a UW-Green Bay or a UW-Milwaukee which people would say would be from a "lower-major type conference?"
"I think if you guys save these tapes that you do, when have I ever referred to the other conferences as lower? And every time I've ever used the term mid-major, I always preface it with ‘what some people call mid-major.' You've never heard me or the teams that I've coached ever differentiate that way. Because it's Division I college basketball, it's college basketball and there's tough D-2 and D-3 teams. Nobody has more respect or been around that environment more than me as far as around here. So, it's a game and I don't look at it any differently than playing Detroit, playing Penn, Maryland. It's the next game, Green Bay happens to be. When you say we can only lose, I don't know what that means because I've seen a lot of programs take a bump in games that they've recovered very nicely, thank you, from in games when the state schools in Iowa play. If a Drake beat an Iowa State or Northern Iowa beat an Iowa, it's one game. So when you say everything to lose, I think we have something to gain. I think we're going to play well-coached teams with scrappy and tough players that will make every possession tough and starting with Green Bay. I see it as a plus, I don't look at it as losing anything."
With what you talked about playing against Green Bay and Milwaukee and Marquette, you've been asked this certainly before but just to bring it up again, why isn't there just a two-day tournament with the four schools either in Milwaukee or in Madison rotating through the cycles so that the state fans can all come together to one venue over two days?
"Well, let's see, why did the ACC presidents add those other teams? When you answer that question, you'll answer the one you just asked…because it will be about money. Why doesn't everybody in the state just play everybody? That's what most people ask me, but that's not what you asked me. The most obvious question is, you can get more bang for your buck if you just play individual games with everybody. Then, where's it going to be played? Do you rotate it? I can't answer that, but I think I know where the answer would come from."
What has to happen before Alando (Tucker) and Jason (Chappell) are cleared to play in a game? Is this now your decision to see how their stamina is?
"Once they're cleared to practice…they wouldn't let them
practice if they weren't capable of playing in a game or they would say a
limited practice. But in basketball, those guys might not have helmets on or
pads, but basketball is a physical game for anybody that's ever played it and
especially if you play it the way it should be played. It's a physical game so
they wouldn't be cleared to practice if they weren't capable of being in a game.
But there's accountability on whether or not they're ready to be out there and
get minutes based on where they are right now."