Monday Press Conference: Bo Ryan

Men's basketball coach discussed Devin Harris, St. Joseph's undefeated regular season and the upcoming Big Ten tournament

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Can you talk about the things Devin (Harris) does other than scoring?

"When you are a point guard, there are so many things that you can add, if you are a good one. Because you are the spokesperson, the leader, the energizer and the creator. So if you have a good one, that can also score points, that plays defense and handles the ball and does all of the things that are asked of him. One through five, as far as positions, we just want complete basketball players. At the point guard position if you have people that can generate offense and defense in different ways, you are a much more valuable player. You can get that from the post and you can get that from the wing. But when it comes to the communicating and the leading and the directing on the floor, to get that out of your point guard is going to mean the difference in some games."

Do you think the Big Ten would be slighted if only three teams made the NCAA tournament?

"It is not up for me to decide. I am not in that room or the group that gets to choose. Again, the Big Ten doesn't bombard the airwaves the way some of these other conferences do. They don't market the way that some of the other people do. I have said that before and other coaches have said it. Midwest values, your play speaks for yourself. If you are good enough you get it. If you are not in, people thought you weren't good enough. So how many teams get in, we have to go along with it. I like our chances though. That is all I can refer to … I don't know how many teams are going to get in. I think very easily, going to the 128, considering all of the teams that make postseason play. I planted that seed a month or two or ago somewhere, but I guess it wasn't here. How many teams in football make postseason play? We did the numbers and if they took 128 teams in NCAA basketball, that would still be less than half. To make the postseason in Division I basketball with 300 and something teams . . .In football if you have a winning record period and you are playing in a bowl somewhere. That's good. That's good for football. I think for basketball and the money that is generated in basketball to pay for all of the other sports. Why in the heck wouldn't they have another game? Why wouldn't they have another round? It doesn't make any sense to me. Play another round than conference tournaments. Or get the conference tournament where only half the teams make the conference tournament or something like that. You guys are writing like I just said something that nobody else ever said. This has been floating out there for years. But it is the time of year where all of sudden it is, "What do you think?" Well here is what I think. I think more times ought to be in the NCAA tournament. (More teams) ought to be in postseason play in college basketball because of what it generates for the NCAA funded teams and schools. College basketball has to pick up a big part of the tab. So you see all of these coaches that get canned and see all of the pressure that comes on them at this level. If you add another round, there will still be another 100 and some schools that don't get to play. But at least they will be closer to the other revenue sports that pay for everything. Doesn't that make sense?"

Did you think you would ever see an undefeated team this juncture of the season?

"Especially the way the scheduling is done now, for St. Joe's to be able to do that. No in conference, I am not saying the Atlantic 10 is not a good conference, because it is a good conference, there are some teams that have come out of there. Massachusetts was in the Final Four a few years ago and Temple in the Elite Eight and some other teams. But the idea of a team to go undefeated in the games that are played now in the non-conference. . .with a shootout here, a tournament in Alaska, Hawaii or the Virgin Islands there. The way that everybody schedules, that is an unbelievable accomplishment and Stanford almost did it. That is hard. I am not sure if you are asking that because we had a chance to do that a couple of teams in coaching teams (at UW-Platteville). It is hard to do. You have to be creative as a coach with your players when you are 15-0, 18-0, 23-0. You have to keep them going and stay with the basics. Don't get caught up in all of the hype. We went from one reporter at Platteville to two that actually cared. So you can imagine what St. Joe's went through. But it became a lot more intense. At the barbershop there were more questions asked and at the diner it was tougher. What Stanford and St. Joe's just experienced in the regular season, that is special. And I am a little prejudiced with St. Joe's having a guy that played the same position at the same high school with a lot of similarities except (Jameer Nelson) was a heck of a lot better. I don't want anybody to ever confuse the two of us with our play. And the way Jameer had the chance to come out last year and he didn't. He stayed and his team did real well. That is a great story. I am really happy for those guys. I followed St. Joe's as a kid. I grew up across the street where I lived for awhile across from Jack McKinney who coached at St. Joe's. My feeling for St. Joe's goes pretty deep. For Stanford too in their league to come close to getting knocked off and then finding a way to win it. You can point back to certain times in the season when you can say, 'If this wouldn't have happened or if this one and one wasn't missed and this one was made.' That is special."

How disappointing was it to watch the Ohio State-Illinois game yesterday?

"I was pretty excited for. . .I am going to tell you, if you were around my house and just listening, what I was referring in my comments was that I wanted to see Wisconsin have listed again another conference championship. To have Zach Morley, Kam Taylor, Brian Butch, Sharif Chambliss and Gary Close get a ring. I must be different than a lot of people because that was all I was thinking about at that time. You can ask my wife, and (my son) Will would also be a part of that, but he has one from Platteville. Just anyone that is new in the program, for them to have a chance to say 'Well you know I was there in 2004.' That's why I was disappointed, I was disappointed for those people, not just a university, but for those other people that were part of this for the first time."


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