Monday presser: Bo Ryan

Wisconsin men's basketball coach discussed Wednesday's game against Ohio State

Audio file 1 (4:34)

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Just wondering, you know, obviously Ohio State, they shot the ball well when you played them the first time, and it seems like they've really kind of taken off since then. Are they maybe especially unique in terms of being able to have, you know, five guys on the floor who can kind of stretch the defense, you know, with their ability to shoot and then open up things inside for Dials?

"Well, I wouldn't say that they're unique, but the way they're playing is they're getting results. So whenever you get results, you tend to look unique because you're winning more than the other team. So they're doing a lot of that. And by being able to hit the 3 and you've got Dials inside, that's that inside/outside attack that grade schools, CYOs, high schools, college, pros, they're all looking for it. We're all searching for that, and Ohio State has it going now."

You complimented your perimeter defense in the second half of Penn State. What, after viewing the film, what was particularly good about it?

"Well, I thought defensively not just on the perimeter, but also inside, but we got some help on the hedges, which comes from the bigs. Commenting on perimeter defense isn't just the perimeter guys. I mean, you get hedges. You get people that can disrupt routes, that guys are taken off of screens, maybe blow up their reads sometimes, make their reads a little more difficult. It's a timing thing, which pretty much any sport with a ball is. And if your timing is disrupted, then you've got some positive things happening. You keep the offense guessing a little bit, and I thought our guys did a good job of that. It's work."

Bo, when you look at the way Brian (Butch) played Saturday, just a good game or do you think he's maybe taken another step or kind of taken more of a challenge with some of the other guys out?

"It's probably a combination of everything that you mention because, usually like everything else in life, it isn't just one thing that puts somebody in a position to be noticed and for good or bad, in this case for something positive on what he was doing around the glass. Penn State is thick but not long. Purdue was thick and with (Matt) Kiefer was a little longer. Indiana, with (Marco) Killingsworth, thick, 6-8, 6-9.

"But he, not playing that many minutes against Indiana I think helped him because at practice he was a little better on Thursday than he is after some other Wednesday games because he didn't have the pounding. And the only reason I say it is they showed his ankle about, I don't know how many times. There was only two injuries that were shown more than that and that's Joe Theismann, and our good buddy, Tim Krumrie, and then Brian Butch as far as an injury, and this, it didn't break, but it bent. And, okay, so it's tender.

"For those that have ever played on a sprained ankle, you know what that's like, and getting some rest in there in the middle of the week, as I mentioned before, gives it more like the football look, where you have a whole week to recover. So I think that helped him. And then when you experience success and you can do it again, keep doing it until they stop you, and Brian did a pretty nice job of taking advantage of the circumstances."

Audio file 2 (3:40)

Have you pushed him to take a larger load?

"Well, we don't take an individual and say, look, you have to do this necessarily, where it's as practice is going on, ‘hey, Brian, that's an area where you can help us,' sure. But we say that to everybody pretty much. I've seen some teams run into some problems where the head coach will bring a guy in and then when he leaves the meeting one-on-one, goes back and tells his teammates, well, I'm the one that has to, that Coach has asked to step this up, do that, do this. I like to make any, those statements in front of everybody else. So it wasn't anything privately, but it's always in practice encouraging guys to do things in front of their teammates. I think it has a better effect that way. I'm not a meetings guy."

How much bigger, stronger could Brian get? Is there an ideal weight for him?

"Well, I don't know. You don't see people talking about people's weights or anything else. It's, you know, because of some sensitive areas, so right now he is what he is, and then what you are a month from now or next year, we'll see. But, you know, I think my idea in life is we can all get better tomorrow and next year. I don't see why not.

"You're educating yourself and learning things, being more street smart, more book smart, more intuitive, more whatever, more physical, more this, more that. I'm hoping that when you say how much more does he have to go, I don't think there's a limit. And it's going to depend on what he does in the off-season. It won't happen right now."

Coach, was last week the perfect week with what you guys did, with some losses for some teams on top of the Big Ten?

"You know, it is what we kind of expected when we were at the press conference, for those that were down there (at Big Ten media day in Chicago), four, five losses could win the Big Ten. And I know they say that every year. It sure made a lot of sense to us. But, again, the two teams that had the most players back, with Michigan being a close third, but Iowa and Michigan State, pretty much true to form where they are as far as where they sit in the league.

"Ohio State with a post like Dials and the perimeter playing the way they are, that puts them right into the mix, but everybody knows they had (Matt) Sylvester and all those guys back too. So, again, we were one of those schools that was an unknown as far as experience, and our guys are trying to be known by their play. So we'll see what happens. But as far as a perfect week, we're still waiting to play that perfect game and still waiting to have that perfect week."

Audio file 3 (4:48)

Is the strength of the league really coming out now with Purdue beating Michigan, beating you, Minnesota, winning some games, and, you know, the bottom is coming up and making some noise in the race?

"There's another team, Minnesota, I forgot to mention with the experience. They had a lot back. Yeah. And there's no security in the, well, look, they beat this team or they lost to this team. You can't look at anything on the Big Ten schedule and say, make that statement. Everything is still wide open. And Purdue is playing better. Penn State is playing better.

"So we, you know, for when you can get on the road and you can get it done, and even at home now, it's not just on the road, I mean, there are now some home teams are taking bumps, this is where the separation takes place. All we know is we're playing one of the hottest teams right now coming up Wednesday."

You mentioned playing one of the hottest teams coming up on Wednesday. It seemed before the year a lot of people were talking about how good Ohio State was going to be, projecting it out to next year. And a national commentator last night said he thought they were the most underrated team in the Big Ten. Do you think they were underrated, snuck up on some people or surprised anybody this year by what you've seen them do so far?

"Not really, because when we talked about Ohio State in October, when people ask questions, well, they have this, they have this, and Dials is in great shape, playing tough in the post, and we all know what Foster and the rest of the guys are doing from 3. So from a coach's standpoint and people who looked at Ohio State, people talking about next year doesn't do anything for this year. And all we knew was that we thought the Big Ten was going to be pretty good because it was more experienced than it had been in a while as far as returning players for some teams."

Coach, would you like to see Kam Taylor maybe increase his assists as the season winds down, maybe get, you know, all season you guys have been looking for that consistent third scorer, and maybe trying to get, you know, him to get his players more involved?

"Well, Kam is what he is because of the way he has always played. And he'll have better assist games sometimes against certain kind of defenses and certain teams and how they play him than others. So I just want him to, whatever he does do on each possession to have it be a positive, whether it's him attacking, whether it's him kicking, whether it's him throwing, a catch and a shot on dribble penetration and somebody kicks it out to him. There's a lot of different ways that you can make a contribution. I just want him to make contributions. And if assists are going up, great. Just take care of the ball."

The second half of the Big Ten season is always more difficult obviously than the first half. You're seeing teams for the second time, for the most part. What's the most difficult part in terms of getting ready for these games that have scouted you and, you know, taken the first, second, and third moves away from each guy, and just talk a little bit about the survival techniques of the second half of a Big Ten season.

"Well, the best way to survive on a camping trip is make sure you prepare and take the right food and clothes. I mean, so you take care of yourself. As coaching staff and our players, take care of yourself, prepare, do the things, get ready to keep practicing the things that you've been working on and keep trying to get better at those things. And obviously we throw in what the other team is doing, but there's no other way to prepare for it. The main thing is be ready yourself."


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