Bo Ryan and his Wisconsin Badgers welcome the Indiana Hoosiers to Madison tonight. The Badgers are 15 point favorites with a total set at 143.5. Ryan talks about the upcoming game:
Bo, you had point guards obviously that have been good at not turning the ball over, and Bronson, especially since he’s been in the starting lineup, two turnovers in four games, whatever it is. What are the key essentials? How important is just decision?making, to begin with, not to attempt a risky pass or not to force something?
COACH RYAN: You need to be aggressive to be a point guard but through repetition you learn what’s open, what isn’t open, then you have to care. I know that sounds pretty simple, but if you care, and you realize how important possessions are because every day you got some old guy on the sideline telling you, if you don’t get certain points per possession, a little extra conditioning, and things like that, with intelligent, people they pick that up. So, again, it isn’t what you say, it’s what you emphasize.
They become pretty good at recognizing what’s a good pass and what isn’t. But I don’t?? if they’re off a little bit on a lead pass to somebody going to the basket, things like that, that’s not?? what I get concerned about is when people jump up in the air and try to make decisions and they’re not sure. Our guys don’t do that very often, because I was never allowed to do that, even though I wanted to.
Because on the playground I would jump up in the air, spin around, throw behind your back, make some kind of crazy play but in high school the first time I went behind my back and I had a guy tell me that it better get there, you better not lose the ball. It tends to resonate.
I have been fortunate to have guys?? well, our point guards, period, over the years, I’d take any of ’em, Peer, Platteville High School, when I coached, UWM. The reason I would take any of ’em, is because I can’t trade ’em now.
Q. Have you seen any changes in Bronson since he became the starter versus the way he attacked things coming off the bench? I know it shouldn’t change someone but I think sometimes it does.
COACH RYAN: I think this whole year, you know, you got a student of the semester award or of the month, he’s really come a long way in the classroom ?? not that he was bad, but he’s sophomore focused and dedicated to everything. He’s worked at his game in the off?season, put in the time, you know, he’s maturing in front of our eyes, which is what you hope all of ’em do.
Q. Do you like what you’re getting from Showalter off the bench and what would you like to see him improve on going ahead?
COACH RYAN: He understands his role. He knows what we put guys on the floor to add so if you can do it with a rebound or taking a charge, if you can do it with making a play offensively, setting a teammate up, and when you are open knock down the shot, so we don’t make it real complicated, we’re just looking for addition, not subtraction. He’s just working on his all?around game, and he’s put in a lot of time, also. He’s an energy guy, he’s got a nose for the ball, his teammates love being around him. So those kind of guys that come in off the bench and can energize like that, that’s always good.
Q. What’s made Yogi Ferrell such a hard match?up for you guys?
COACH RYAN: He’s a hard match?up for a lot of people. He’s quick, he can shoot it, and when you have those qualities, you tend to be pretty good.
He has an average, and sometimes it’s one of those things in basketball where maybe a guy is encouraged to shoot a little more, or to play off a ball screen a little more, or to do this or that. We still attack a game with the idea how at the end of the forty minutes we can be the most effective, but we’ve had times where guys like Trey Burke scored more than their average, but they dominated the ball, other players were eliminated, and we come out on the left?hand side, so we never?? if it’s somebody that’s being left wide open obviously we’re concerned but he can create for himself, he’s so fast he can get a shot on anybody at any time.
Q. ?? into the mix on that, does that making it tougher of a guard match?up going into this one?
COACH RYAN: Sure it is, yeah both those guys are obviously very good, and they involve other people as well as?? the scores, the average that they have for their own personal statistics, you still have to see what they’re doing and take a hard look at what they’re doing for their teammates, so they’ve done quite a bit.
Q. Trey has been the guy at the end of close games who has taken the shots for you guys over the last couple of years. Josh had a huge bucket the other day, Nigel had the put?back against Iowa. Is it refreshing to see other guys step up in those big roles in Trey’s absence in the event that that comes up later on when Trey is around that you have more than one option in those situations?
COACH RYAN: Believe me, we’ve always had other options; it just so happens that Trey ended up with the shots at those times. We will do drills in practice where we will put 5 seconds on the clock, and it’s not always one person that’s getting that last opportunity. We’ve had other guys do it. We’ve had other guys ready to do it. Now, whether it happens, you have to wait and see, but we’ve got some gamers.
Q. Just in general what have you seen from Indiana? This year I know they had some question marks coming into the year with new guys playing.
COACH RYAN: They have talent, high?ranked players out of high school. A guy like Blackmon, he’s a pro. So when you have those kind of players, when you’re playing against them, you gotta figure out some kinda way to contain them. If I wasn’t here doing this, I would still be looking at film trying to find ways. But it’s like the Super Bowl interview, I gotta be here. I could be looking at Indiana against Nebraska! Except I already looked at it twice! Those guys are good!
Q. I believe it was last week, Jay Bilas called college basketball “unwatchable” at this point. You’ve been around basketball for a while. What would be your sentiment to his comment there?
COACH RYAN: Oh, I don’t know. I would have to be put in a sit?down situation where I would see what he’s talking about. If that’s the only statement he made with nothing before it or after it, how would I know?
COACH RYAN: No. Our game is pretty good. We’re still paying the NCAA budget, so I think it’s still a pretty good game. The TV contracts and the gates and everything else for men’s basketball. People can say whatever they want. He played it, I don’t know what people used to say about him, was he slow? Was he this? Was he that? I don’t know. But he’s on air, that’s why he’s gotta say something. That’s why I would never be an announcer. I would have to make up stuff while I’m watchin’ a game!
COACH RYAN: It’s a comfortable setting. The background.
Q. That was a good win on Saturday over a pretty good team. After the game I asked Nigel about that dunk, and he said, “I’ll tell you what I think about my bad defense and my poor rebounding,” and Josh saying, he’s the consummate, “We’re getting better but not there yet.” Where does that never satisfied personality come from, from players on this team, because it would be easy to be high on the horse if you’re 18?2.
COACH RYAN: Well, because we don’t get too high and we don’t get too low as a staff.
You have players who come back from the year before, other players graduate, the other guys come back and visit, they talk amongst themselves. Competition is an on going thing. If what you did yesterday looks good today, that whole thing. Take pride in your work but your work is never done, and your fun is never done.
These guys gotta have some fun playin’ this game. The hours they put in, the demands, the hours, when we play, the travel, it’s been made easier by the charter flights and things like that, but I told you this before, there is a poster that we have from 2004, and it has: “Wednesday, 7:00, Indiana; Saturday, noon, Michigan State; Wednesday”?? and you look at the schedule and it’s just?? it’s not even close anymore because of the desire for people to see our games on television and the rights that we’re paid for our games, so the players?? there is no routine. You don’t play Friday, Saturday. You don’t play Saturday.
These guys have to enjoy what they’re doing; that’s all part of it. It’s a game, they’re wearing tee shirts and sneakers and they’re playing, so when you say high and low, this is an answer to your question: They understand that we can always get better. I mean, pretty much, there are people in their jobs when they’re in their 40s, a lot of these guys, I hope they’re saying, okay, how can we make?? I’m enjoying this but how can we make this better? How can we make our product better, if he’s a teacher or?? talking about my guys. How can I get better at what I’m doing? I hope they continue that for a long time, but also take some time to appreciate what they do have.
Q. Bo, do you vote in the coaches’ poll?
COACH RYAN: No.
Q. Is that a preference of yourself that you don’t want to do it? You don’t have to do it? What’s your view on that process?
COACH RYAN: I’m trying to think if I?? I was on the regional one that they did with the?? for the selection committee. They had regional ones so I served my term, I think it was like a three?year term on that. I don’t know, maybe because I’m on the executive board of the coaches that they?? I don’t know. I’ve never volunteered to be on it. I don’t think you can. I think they have a good cross?section. Why do you ask?
Q. Just curiosity as to the latest poll.
COACH RYAN: Did it come out already?
COACH RYAN: And?
Q. You look at it, don’t you?
COACH RYAN: I get told about it, why, did we get kicked to the curve?
Q. No, there is just a curious development at the top of it in that both Virginia and Wisconsin are ranked ahead of Duke.
COACH RYAN: Well Duke’s win?? I thought Tony had that in the bag. I was ready to go to another game, people have done that to us, too. They were playing well! But Duke has some talent and when they finally figured a couple things out, they were pretty good! Would I say that us and Duke, Virginia and Duke played on a neutral court, Duke could be the better team, yes. So they had Duke ahead of us and Virginia, is what you’re saying?
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH RYAN: And Duke went in and beat us both.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH RYAN: Bad days! Well, okay, who has Duke lost to? I don’t know. They’ve lost to Miami? Notre Dame, pretty good, Miami is pretty good. That’s what makes this so?? I don’t know. You work with hockey. Who votes in hockey? Do coaches?
Q. You sure you don’t want to be a broadcaster? That was a lot of time there that you just filled; that was quality.
COACH RYAN: I don’t get many questions from Andy. I was wondering where he was going with it. Polls, they serve their purpose. People will talk. There will be a lot of conversations. Gives me something for the radio show tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach.