TRANSCRIPT: Wisconsin Post Game

Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, along with senior Michael Flowers and junior Joe Krabbenhoft, address the media after Wisconsin beats Michigan to open the Big Ten Tournament.

Wisconsin Post Game Audio -

COACH RYAN: I'm impressed with the way our guys hung in there and got acclimated to playing here with the game starting at Noon. We had the energy, but we just didn't execute as well as I thought we could have, and then they caught themselves. They got to the free throw line. They did some very good things defensively and helped pick each other up, and then hit some shots when we needed them. I think it was a great effort by the entire team. All the guys picked up Brian Butch in thelocker room, and told him he'll be okay tomorrow,right guys?

Q: Talk about your defense. You held Michigan to 20 percent shooting for the entire game.

MICHAEL FLOWERS: The scout team did a great job of preparing us for this game. Last time we played them at home, they out-rebounded us and they were physically more dominant than we were. We wanted to come out here, put our foot down and play Wisconsin basketball – and that's hard, in-your-face defense.

Q. You talk about Marcus Landry, especially the way he played in the second half and what he's meant to this team?

MICHAEL FLOWERS: Marcus Landry is an underrated ABA player. He can score with his back to the basket. He can take you off the dribble. He showed his athleticism on some drives to the lane. He's an all-around player. He creates some matchups to our benefit. We give him the ball down low so he can do his thing. He also has good court awareness and sees the open man and passes the ball really well.

Q: You said [Manny ]Harris caused you a lot of trouble in Madison. Did that give you motivation today?

MICHAEL FLOWERS: Winning is pretty much my motivation. I go out there and work hard just like everybody else. I do things, I get on the floor, I take charges for my teammates. Nobody ever wants to get scored on, and I pride myself on stopping my opponent and causing him havoc and disrupting the flow of his game. Doing that ultimately benefits my team.

Q: Joe, you led the team in points, but you had five scores. Your team had five players score seven points or more. Could you talk about the total team effort today to get the ball in the hoop?

JOE KRABBENHOFT: That's the way it's been all year. This team is so versatile. Everybody can put it in the hoop. We're not worried about who goes out and is the leading scorer. We're just worried about the team being up at the end of the game. It's been like that all year. We've had great contributions from everybody. Everybody who played today did a great job, from the starting five to the guys that came in at the end. It was another team victory for Wisconsin.

Q: Joe, since Michigan played yesterday, you guys obviously didn't. That being said, can you talk about the importance of the start you had to the game today?

JOE KRABBENHOFT: It's very important to come out every game and try to build some momentum and get an early lead. I thought we did a good job of that today. Michigan stayed in it, but our defense, which is what we've been hanging our hat on since the beginning of the year, took us all the way in this one. I credit to our defense and everybody for stepping up and playing really hard.

Q: Mike, talk about your defense on Manny Harris. What did you do differently this time? Were you a little bit more physical with him this time than you were at the Kohl Center?

MICHAEL FLOWERS: I started focusing on the little things – making sure I got over to the screens, and if he caught the ball, it was more toward half court and away from the basket. We took care of the ball, which eliminated any transition points that they could have. I know at the Kohl Center they had a good amount of transition points. We took care of the ball, took good shots and rebounded well throughout the game.

Q: Joe, you've played with Mike[Flowers] for three years now. Have you seen him more focused maybe defensively than he was today?

JOE KRABBENHOFT: Mike's been focused since the day I stepped on campus. He's the most intense player, whether it is in the weight room, up in the practice facility, shooting around, playing pickup ball when we're in practice and especially out on the floor. He gives 110 percent every time. I admire him. I respect him. Obviously he's a lot quicker and more athletic than I am, but hopefully I can keep trying to play defense like Mike. We all look up to him, and he does a great job of leading this team and teaching the younger guys how to play with your heart and play hard. It's just a joy for me to play with Mike.

Q: Joe, you mentioned it didn't matter how many points you scored, just that the team won. Can you remember, though, the last time you led the team in scoring in a game, and does this mean you can lobby for more shots now?

JOE KRABBENHOFT: Maybe in high school. You can ask anybody on this team the same question – we really don't care. You're not going to get anything out of us because this is a total team effort every time we go out, and we're just focused on winning. I'm not trying to get more shots. I miss too many.

Q: Coach, I asked the players the same question, but if you can talk about Marcus Landry, the way he played the second half and what he's meant to the team overall?

COACH RYAN: Michael [Flowers] said it better than I could. He is an inside and an outside player who has gotten better in his all-around game. That does cause some problems for the other team. Not that the other teams don't have guys that are similar. I like what Marcus is getting out of his opportunities. I love coaching guys that are opportunistic, and he's one of them.

Q: Bo, yesterday Michigan really packed it in the lane and kept Iowa on the perimeter. Were you guys more conscientious of trying to get inside early and just open that up for your outside shooters?

COACH RYAN: Well, I told the 1972 junior high school team I put out on the court that we had to touch the post. What is this, 2008? Before this game, I said that we have to touch the post. That never changes.

Q: From your experience in the Big Ten Tournament, what impact does it generally have on the NCAA Tournaments? Does it tend to help you, hurt you, or what do you think?

COACH RYAN: When you used to ask me that question in the first couple of years I was here, I said, well, we got beat the first game both times and we were home getting rest and getting ready for the NCAA Tournament. We went 1-2 and then2-1 in those two years. In the next year, we played in the championship game which a very physical, tough game against Illinois in 2004. Then we lost to Pitt, which was probably the best No. 3 seed that ever played in the NCAA Tournament, according to a lot of the experts.

The following year we got to the finals again. We got beaten by Illinois, so we were 2-1 and then we went in the NCAA Tournament and lost to Carolina in the last minute. Do you want me to take you through the other two?

In 2006 we played well enough to make the NCAA Tournament because of our strength of schedule, the RPI, and a winning record in the Big Ten that year. Then we lost in the first round to an Arizona team that got their best player back after being suspended for some incident, so Arizona was the better team. Last year, I can't really give you an estimate because Brian Butch went down and it's very hard to say.

Every time you get a chance to play a game, I think it's good. But if you get the opportunity to play on Sunday, you just hope you're not playing Thursday. A lot of coaches in the conference who aren't in the Big Ten anymore,say they hope that if they get into the Sunday game, their first game is Friday, for obvious reasons. These are tough, physical games.

Q: What explanation did you get on the technical foul? It looked like you were yelling at the fact that the lay-up was missed. Is that what happened?

COACH RYAN: That was frustration at a player. Maybe it's age discrimination because I don't think officials think I can move as quickly as I do. I think I fool them (flinching) because they catch me out of the corner of their eye. I don't know. I really don't know. I wasn't real happy that we didn't finish on the play, I was frustrated with my player. It didn't have anything to do with anything else.

Q: How do you continually get kids to buy into the defensive mind-set that you have, because it doesn't always lead to pretty games or gaudy offensive stats?

COACH RYAN: I think Michigan spent more time running the shot clock down than we did, so that's an unfair statement. Michigan wanted that type of game. They felt they could win that game. If we play good defense and the other team's taking a lot of time off the shot clock, what's that have to do with our offense? I like Jason Bohannon's behind-the-back pass and Marcus Landry filling in the middle. We can do that when we get opportunities. In the Big Ten, how many easy shots do you get at the other end? It is so hard. It's hard. Try it sometime. It's hard.

Q: [Manny ]Harris got 26 up in Madison on your team. Do you think Michael [Flowers] took the challenge today and maybe had a little bit extra motivation?

COACH RYAN: Mike played hard at our place. I looked at the film a couple times, and Manny just made some really tough shots. In transition when Mike was helping out protecting the rim, Harris was able to get the ball and make somethings happen offensively, so it wasn't always a one-on-one match-up. A couple of rebounds that Manny got were surprising, not because he can't go get them, but just because of the luck of the bounce. Manny Harris got two or three baskets off offensive rebounds that are very rare for Michael to ever give up. You could just tell on tape he was just caught off-guard. But did he handle this any differently? No. His teammates helped him recover.

I think in all fairness Michigan was trying to use some of their other weapons, which they've had some success with. To Manny's credit, I don't think he forced a lot of shots – maybe one or two. I don't catch the other team, so you'll have to ask them, but [Manny Harris ] had some looks. He just didn't knock them down. Michael plays hard all the time. I've never worried about that. Joe [Krabbenhoft] was correct in his assessment of Michael Flowers.

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