Jan. 8, 2014
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Wisconsin vs. Illinois
Jan. 8, 2014
Kohl Center – Madison, Wis.
Wisconsin Head Coach Bo Ryan
On what was the key to Wisconsin’s strong start tonight:
“Well, sometimes you can’t script it, obviously. But I think they were ready to try to pick up some of the things from the first half in the last game, when they are fresh in your memory. Remember, we only had a two-day turnaround, two days to prepare. We got some good looks, we hit some shots, got to the free throw line. So we were doing the right things, so it was a good combination.”
On how the Badgers were able to limit Illinois offensively:|
“Well, we have been on the road and struggled in the first half and come back in the second half and shoot the ball better. What happens is sometimes it is not there in the first half, or the second half, or both. I thought we did what we wanted to do defensively and then they made some adjustments and they hit the glass really hard and got a lot of second-chance opportunities. They got to the free throw line more than they did in the first half. There are some things that got away from us a little bit, but that tends to happen in a game where there is a little bit of a gap between what you have and the other team has. You have to make sure that you are not playing the game differently than what put you where you were.”
On what it means to be the first team in school history to 16-0:
“I’d have gone home, maybe had a beverage and eaten something and gone to bed and it would never have been brought up until you just brought it up. For the players, what they’ve accomplished they’ve earned. They get the credit, they put the sweat on the floor. I’m certainly proud of them. But you start thinking about that too much and it can go the other way in a hurry. So I’m proud of the players, I’m proud of the team, I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished to this point. Let’s try to keep it going.”
On why teams have trouble defending the Badgers:
“We have a bunch of guys that know how to make plays. We all bring different things to the table. We’ve got guys like Trae (Jackson) that like to break guys down off the dribble and guys like Nigel (Hayes) that can beef up inside. Guys like Frank (Kaminsky) that can extend the defense as a five and hit threes, and Ben (Brust) and Josh (Gasser) who are snipers from the outside. So we have guys like that, that do multiple things and bring multiple things to the table, and it’s much harder to scout then going up against a team that has maybe one or two shooters, one slasher and a postman. So having a bunch of versatility on the offense end makes it a tough matchup and that’s worked to our favor so far.”
On what it means to be the first team in Wisconsin history to be 16-0:
“We’re not content, but we just have to keep getting better. We’re excited for what’s next. We can get so much better. I still think we haven’t played a full game yet to our maximum potential, so we have to go and practice, look at the film and go out against Indiana and try and do that.”
On what it means to him that the Badgers are 16-0 for the first time in UW history:
“There was a quote we were talking about, a John Wooden quote, of ‘Don’t get caught up in the praise or criticism.’ So that is what we are trying to do right now. Don’t get too high on ourselves. Make sure that we stay focused, because we know that there are bigger goals down the road that we want to reach.”
Illinois Head Coach John Groce
“Really an odd game. I thought that it was 13-10 early, and I thought that we came out ready, certainly much more ready than we were last year. And then they go on a 20-0 run. Kudos to them, I thought they played really well so I certainly don’t want to take anything away from them. But I didn’t like our response to call/no call, missing a layup or two. I thought when we got hit, which is very uncharacteristic of this team, that just for a brief moment—it seemed like a brief moment—but that span of the 20-0 run over eight or nine minutes, I didn’t like our response to that. That responsibility falls on me and our captains, and we’ve got to get that addressed pretty quickly. That’s really not who we are, so that part was a little bit disappointing.
“What I mean by ‘odd game’, if you would have told me before the game, ‘Hey, you’re going to out-rebound them 48-35 and get 25 offensive rebounds of 55 opportunities back, only turn the ball over eight times and defend the three the way we did in the first half,’ I would’ve probably taken that and ran with it and said, ‘Awesome, where do I sign up for that one?’ At the end of the day, what’s the difference? Two-point field goal efficiency and production. We go 20-for-60 in the 2-point area for 33 percent. We’re a team that makes 50 (percent), and I don’t know what there’s was, but, 24-for-38, which I can’t figure out that quickly, but it’s gotta be around 65 percent on 2-point field goals, which I don’t know if that’s the highest they’re shot all year in the 2-point area, but they got it done.
“I’ve got to give it to them (Wisconsin). I thought our guys in the first half in particular did a good job of taking away threes, and then they got it done in the 2-point area. But again, all-in-all, for me it’s not about the statistics. I just didn’t like the way we responded during that 20-0 run there. I know we missed some layups and maybe a bump here, bump there, but this is the Big Ten. You’ve just got to respond to adversity better than that. We have responded to adversity better than that with this team, and for some reason today just during that stretch against a really good basketball team that’s as explosive offensively as they are, you can’t do that. Now all of a sudden, you’re playing from behind. We had to play out of character a little bit in the second half and gamble some. I thought our effort was a little bit better in the second half, but I thought the game was clearly decided during that 20-0 run, and the difference in the game, once again, was the 2-point field goal percentage, our inability to convert those and our inability to defend those. At the end of the day, that was the difference.”