Well, Bo, is this a game sort of like the Northwestern game where you maybe need a smaller lineup, where maybe this time it could be your bigger guys that you're going to need a little more from?
"You don't know but I know this. I've watched a lot of film now on Ohio State. I don't remember seeing a game where they shot it as poorly from 3, and that's the scary part because usually you don't do it two times in a row when you shoot it as well as they do. And as we've always said, it's always a combination of the shooting and the defense. So it's going to depend on the flow of the game.
"But (Terrance) Dials can play inside. He's got a left hand. He's got a right hand. He seems like he's in his best shape. So he's a force inside, and obviously you know what they can do outside, because going into that game yesterday, they were one of the top teams in the country in shooting the 3 and they can do it with so many guys. So that's the dilemma. So we've got to figure out how to guard them."
What was the key for Ray to find more consistency and put more games together like he did the other day?
"Just keep playing. Just sometimes the opportunities are there more than others. And when you're a player, you figure out the things that you can do to contribute and sometimes it might be more points, sometimes it might be more rebounds, sometimes it might be better defense or more of it on the player that you're guarding. But just as long as he's working on his total game, and he's been trying to do that every game, so that's all we want."
Coach, you've touched on it a little bit this year, but can you talk about what it's like having a player like Tanner in practice every day and how rewarding, not only for him, but for you as his coach it was to see him get some real good burn during the Minnesota game?
"Tanner would say the same thing if he was sitting up here, is that, you know, it's no big deal. He is a player on a team. He works hard. He knows there's a lot of other guys who are just like him. Doesn't like to be singled out, doesn't like to have a fuss made over, you know, what he does or doesn't do. And he just comes and practices and gets ready to play if he's on the floor, and that's all you can do when you're a part of a team.
"I'm as happy for him as the hundreds of other players that I've had that have been in those types of roles. You've got to give them all the credit in the world, because not everybody can be people getting major minutes, even minor minutes, to some extent. But they love the game, they love the school, they love what they're doing, and they're always looking for an opportunity. So Tanner is just, as I said, like a lot of other players, all the other players that we've had that understand that."
You addressed your bench on Saturday, and your depth was a topic of conversation during the Big Ten coaches' conference this morning. And can you just talk a little bit about how important it is not just in a game but over the course of a season?
"Well, I don't know. There's a lot of teams that come in to the season with X number of players and sometimes injuries, other things happen that, you know, make it difficult to have everybody ready all the time. And we just try to go into each game each week with the idea that here are some options and we're no different than anybody else.
"It's just probably with three out of four games at home this early in the year, we've taken advantage of our opportunities. You've just got to look at the course of the whole season, and I didn't know we were the topic of conversation. But I'm looking at some of these other teams and looking at their benches and looking at who they can play, these other teams have players. They're not lacking for players.
"There are guys sitting on the benches at some of these other schools by all these so-called experts that rate recruits and all that other nonsense that are pretty good players, it's still about what they're doing on the court. It never matters unless they're between the lines and contributing. So no matter who we have out there, we just hope they're contributing."
Coach Ryan, after the Northwestern game, Kam Taylor had mentioned that a lot of people may be surprised at where you guys are already in the season, but he said that the team isn't, that the team isn't surprised that they're 4-0 in the Big Ten. Do you think that's a consensus of how the team feels and is that how you feel, that you're confident that you're not, I mean, you're not surprised at where you're at?
"There's not a player that competes at this level that doesn't believe that they should win every game. I haven't met one yet. Now there are realists that know that that's tough to make happen. But you have to remember that competitors and the environment that a lot of these guys grew up in, having to prove themselves all the time, and can you imagine a Kam Taylor looking you in the eye and saying, ‘my God, I'm shocked that we're 4-0.'
"You can't do that as a young man out of Minneapolis in the Big Ten and do anything but act like, yeah, this is what we're supposed to be doing. You know, you could ask a hockey guy, a football guy, a volleyball player, I mean, how many of them, their eyes get real big and go, ‘I can't believe this.'
"So do I know if that's a consensus? All I know is at this level you have high-caliber competitors that believe that every time they play a game they think they're going to get it done. Would you want it any differently? Now you don't have to trash talk. You don't see our guys doing that. They don't, if their heads get big, I haven't seen it. They understand what competition is all about and it's always about what you're trying to do.
"You're trying to compete at the highest level in every contest and knowing that sometimes it isn't going to happen your way, but it's called like in Texas hold ‘em, you want to make sure you're not giving yourself away. So I hope that our guys feel that they've prepared themselves, that they're working hard, that they can compete against this next team, and then if it doesn't, pick up the pieces and run for the next one."
Bo, do you get a sense we're nearing some resolution on DeAaron's status at this point or is there an update there?
"No. And, again, those are all privacy issues. Again, we've got a great group of guys that are working hard. That's what our focus has to be."