Notes: Filling the Coat Rack

Many things did not go right in the first half of Wisconsin's last meeting against the Duke Blue Devils. Two years later, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski still hangs his hat on the same principles, techniques that are very familiar to UW head coach Bo Ryan.

MADISON - Every head coach wants a staple that his program can hang its hat on. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan's hat rests on strong fundamentals and the swing offense.

When it comes to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, one might need a coat rack to hang all the things the Krzyzewski has harped on in 30 years on the bench, a career that has yielded him 839 wins.

"The things when they ask you to talk at clinics and you start with 101," Ryan said. "Now the key is getting your teams to do it year in and year out, there's the challenge and Duke, for the most part, has been able to do that."

Good guard play has also been a staple, something the Blue Devils have in senior guard Jon Scheyer. In six games, Scheyer, who leads Duke's starters with 15.6 points per game, has 32 assists to only four turnovers.

"You really think I need to explain what you just said," Ryan joked. "That's a great ratio. You need that at the point and you have that, your chances of being successful are greatly increased."

In its nine-point victory over then-13th ranked Connecticut in the Preseason NIT Finals, Duke shot 28.4 percent (21 of 74), but the Blue Devils finished with a 56-43 rebound advantage, including 25-14 on the offensive boards.

"It's hard to do," said Ryan, who hasn't won with that low of percentage since he was at UW-Platteville. "You've got to play good defense. You can shoot that percentage and get away with it if you are getting to the free throw line and you make sure defensively you get your stops."

That turned out to be the problem in Wisconsin's one and only meeting against Duke two seasons ago. Duke shot 56 percent (9-for-16) from three-point range in the first half while Wisconsin shot 2-for-9 (22.2 percent) from the perimeter, got to the foul line only six times (making three) and turned the ball over an uncharacteristic nine times in the first half, leading to 14 Duke points.

"We got into some foul trouble and they shot lights out," Ryan said. "One of the guys (Taylor King) left. I guess because he couldn't play against Wisconsin every night. They hit shots that were, ‘Whoa.'"

While the Blue Devils do a lot of good things together as a team, the Badgers aren't lacking in that department after a successful venture out to Maui. Finishing third in the competitive EA Sports Maui Invitational, the Badgers faced three legitimate NCAA Tournament teams, faced adversity with their perimeter shooting and bounced back from a Tuesday loss to earn a dominant win in their first game this season against a ranked team.

"There are teams that have earned the right to be a powerhouse and Duke has earned that right on the court with what they have done," Ryan said. "I think our players have earned the right to have some things said about them, too."

Freshman Mike Bruesewitz is one of those players that has been deserving of some early praise. After being criticized by some for not redshirting, Bruesewitz, with his team in foul trouble against Arizona, scored six points, grabbed seven rebound in 22 minutes in UW's win, all of which were career highs.

"Him going in there getting something done defensively, he didn't have to score a lot of points," Ryan said. "The lift he gave us, we don't come back home 2-1 without his contributions."

Sophomore Jordan Taylor was another guy that made a big step in Maui. On day two, with Gonzaga being more rested and productive than UW's starting five, Taylor came off the bench to score a career-high 19 points (7-of-10 shooting), an effort that will be needed if the Badgers want to upset Duke.

"It's called getting in the gym on your own," Ryan said. "He's been putting in some extra time. He wants to be a player. He's another guy that's definitely improved from last year."


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