Transcript: Wisconsin Post Game

Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, seniors Brian Butch and Michael Flowers address the media following Wisconsin's semi-shocking two-point victory over No.19 Michigan State (audio included).

Listen to the audio here -

COACH RYAN: I don't think words will adequately describe what these guys did in the comeback. I think probably the best thing to do is to put it on a DVD on and watch it again and just make your own observations.

I really liked what these guys did on every possession. Michigan State gave us everything they had. It was an extremely physical and tough game, but in the end our guys just managed to get one more possession, and that says a lot for them.

Q. Michael, can you take us through that play where you stole the ball and drilled it in? Were you anticipating [Kalin] Lucas passing? He had been driving and firing it up there the last few minutes.

MICHAEL FLOWERS: I knew that toward the end of the game with a player like Drew Neitzel, that they were looking for him, and I just wanted to cover him and make sure that if he doesn't have the ball, he can't score. I was over-pressuring him and the pass came. I tipped it, and just ran as fast as I could for the lay-up.

Q. Michael, I don't know if vindicated is the right word, but the fact that Drew [Neitzel] had a great game all the way through and you were able to get the winning shot with Neitzel right there with you, can you describe your feelings?

MICHAEL FLOWERS: It was a little bit frustrating. He came out firing, and my hand was right there – that's what got me in foul trouble. I hit him on the release a couple times. You can't contribute to the team if you're on the bench. Luckily this is a team, and nine people played and all contributed in their own way. We just came out on top.

Q. Michael, if you could, just comment on your defense on Neitzel – keeping the ball out of his hands. What were you doing specifically there?

MICHAEL FLOWERS: I was just following our rules, forcing them one way, getting over the screens and just making sure that if he caught the ball, he caught it 35 feet away from the basket. I think in the second half, toward the end, I did a really good job – way better than I did in the first half – of keeping the ball out of his hands, and that kind of disrupted the flow of their offense. We were able to come back because they weren't scoring. We were scoring with the clock stopped, so that was to our benefit.

Q. Brian, when a game is called like that, what runs through a player's mind, and does it force you to change the way you want to go about your business?

BRIAN BUTCH: With us, it doesn't really change what we do. We have rules that Coach puts in place. We just try to play tough defense and not foul and not put ourselves into positions to foul.

When we foul, it's pretty obvious because of what we usually do and how we usually play defense. That's what we kept on telling each other. We were down by 10, and we just said talked about what it's going to come on the defensive end. That's how we got back into it, was that we really just concentrated on the defense.

Q. Brian, what does a comeback like this tell you? This team is playing so well and to be able to come back like that – what does it do to the psyche of this team? Are you feeling almost like you're impossible to beat?

BRIAN BUTCH: When we do what we normally do, we're pretty tough to beat. When we get away from it, that's when we struggle. We got away from some of the things we normally do in the first half, and in the start of the second half, we got away from what we normally do. That's when they got their lead on us.

When we finally got back to what we normally did, we were able to cut away at it, little by little. It came down to the last couple minutes. We made some more plays than they did. It's just kind of the way it goes.

Q. Coach, in your career at Wisconsin, you've won eight out of 11 games. What is it about your style of system and how it matches up with Coach Izzo's?

COACH RYAN: I didn't know how many. I never keep track. This game was 40 minutes of basketball, and we were one possession better. I've never personalized, agonized, become obsessive about another team, anybody else or any other players. That's why I act 20 when I'm 60.

Didn't you notice that? I'm okay. I'm not going to get an ulcer.

I don't know about the matchups that you people refer to and how many of this and how many Tuesdays did the team wearing a certain color lose a game. I don't know. I didn't even know the number.

Today we just happened to match up one possession better. That's the best I can give you.

Q. Bo, you got four of their bigs to foul out. All of them played 22 minutes or less. Is that something that just happened? Was that an emphasis on what you wanted to do with the ball offensively, to get their bigs in offensive trouble?

COACH RYAN: In junior high, high school, at every level I've coached, if you don't touch the post, you are not going to get to the free throw line. Although, there were some fouls on three-point shooters today – probably the most I've seen in a single game. I don't know how many there were, but that was a lot. We're going to touch the post. We're going to try to get something going to the rim, and that's how you get fouled. Other teams can do the same things, and they've done that at times.

We picked up fouls on some of our guys. We had to play with a little different rotation in the first half. We're all trying to do pretty much the same things, only some years, depending on the players, you're looking for more than others. Right now we're just trying to be the most opportunistic team in the country. We don't care who gets it, where or when. But we do know is that if you get it 15 feet and in, you tend to get to the free throw line more.

Q. Can you talk about Brian's [Butch] determination coming back from 0-for-7 shooting and making the impact he made today?

COACH RYAN: You saw the guy from Georgetown. He figured if he could do it, Brian could do it. Brian went from AWOL and then Medal of Honor.

He was okay with it, probably because we loosened him up afterward. I told him he set the record for the only guy going 0-for-19. One guy went 0-for-18, and you're 0-for-19, Brian. No, he was one under. I said, you missed the record by one. I didn't realize he was only 0-for-7. That's what we said to him yesterday. We don't want him to get real happy with himself right now either. We've got a lot to do.

Q. Can you talk about Kalin Lucas getting loose at the end and you all were able to stop him. What were you thoughts on him and how were you able to stop him?

COACH RYAN: Boy, he's tough. On that pull-up jumper, we were right on him. He shot right over the top of guys and then he missed a couple. But those are tough shots. You could tell he wanted the ball. You could tell he was thinking, ‘I can score here.' Players like that are tough to stop. He's pretty good.

Q. How do comebacks in these game situations help your team as it prepares for the NCAA Tournament?

COACH RYAN: I don't know. But I know they're tired. That's a lot of energy out there. I just have to make sure we get hydrated and feed up and get ready for tomorrow.

Comebacks are one possession at a time, and I just think our guys stayed focused and just got a couple of breaks, had a couple of shots bounce off the rim there for them. A couple of balls went in for us. We get fouled shooting the three. We make a three and get fouled in that run we made, and we scored double digits with the clock stopped. That's the only way we make that comeback.

Q. I wanted to know how serious Trevon Hughes' injury was, and is he going to be available for tomorrow?

COACH RYAN: I mentioned to Trevon, get hurt more often because seems the players really rally around you. Don't misquote me here now. I said that tongue-in cheek-and said, your teammates really, really respond to you. He smiled. We high-five one another and he's fine. I mean fine emotionally. Physically, our trainer will make that decision, so we shall see.

Q. Bo, regarding Michael Flowers, at halftime, was there some point of inspiration, instruction that brought him back into the mainstream?

COACH RYAN: It couldn't have been at halftime because he was trying to make something happen offensively. He took two bad shots and had a reach-in foul. For people that know me, that's like taking the game of basketball and cursing it.

By that I mean he was trying to make plays that got away from him a little bit. That third foul on the whack down, that's not Michael. After that that he got himself thinking, ‘Okay, I can do this. I'm ready.' He was fine, but I probably should have said something else at halftime. It wasn't something that was said at halftime, in answer to your question.

Q. Bo, given your quote after the game yesterday about rhythms into the NCAA Tournament, as dandy of an event that we're at, is a win like this almost cumbersome in terms of what you're going to try to get done?

COACH RYAN: We won't talk about it. We'll rest. We'll do what we have to do between now and tomorrow. Maybe you're asking that because you're thinking about me. Did you ever try squatting for 40 minutes for three straight days?

These tournaments, when we get to the finals, are tougher on me than they are on the players. I have get a little help from Henry, the trainer, tonight on my legs. Are they cumbersome? If I say it is and if we talk about it, then we become the (moaning) type people that throw pity parties. Then it will happen that we look tired. We can't let that happen. They certainly didn't play that way the last six minutes.


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