UW Health Sports Medicine 

Postgame Quotes: Wisconsin vs. Illinois



March 4, 2012

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Wisconsin vs. Illinois

Kohl Center -- Madison, Wis. 

Wisconsin Head Coach Bo Ryan

On the emotion of the day with getting the record and Senior Day:
“It was all about playing Illinois and Senior Day. It wasn’t about anything else. That was kind of a surprise. You watch across the country on senior day, you either get this or this. Very rarely is it in-between. The [Wisconsin] guys played at a high level; they stuck to who they were and didn’t get away from that. The emotion comes later, after the game is over, sitting there looking at baby pictures and guys when they were younger, guys how they’ve developed, pictures of guys when they were sophomores or freshmen and what they look like now. It just shows what a complete program is in place at Wisconsin with the nutrition, conditioning, the weights, the training, medical care, all of those things. Needless to say, academically, they knew what they were getting into when they came in as freshmen. We never tell people it’s easy here. They [Jordan Taylor and Rob Wilson] are going to walk at the end of the semester. They finished. That’s what I’m concerned about and that worked out pretty well, the fact that we were able to get the game playing the way we are.”

On if he had to emphasis remaining even keel on senior day :
“I alluded to it, but I didn’t preach it, so to speak. I reminded them about being ourselves. I’ve just seen it go the other way sometimes, and not for the betterment of the team.”

On how happy he was with limiting [Meyers] Leonard’s touches:
“We were obviously pleased, because that’s what we worked on. We’ve been working on all year, trying to develop our bigs into being better with their feet, with their positioning. We’re constantly trying to teach and they’re constantly trying to learn. The student doesn’t learn if the teacher doesn’t teach. They’ve picked up some things, they’ve learned some things with their feet and with their bodies. That’s a good sign. I’m sure there’s some more bigs out there we’re going to play and are pretty good.”

On the balance of the offense today:
“I liked that, especially at this time of the year to have guys looking for one another. I don’t know how many turnovers we ended up with. Seven? We should’ve had two maybe. It means we’re distributing the ball and guys are taking their looks. There were only a couple of shots that I was unhappy with. Ninety-nine percent of the shots I was happy with.”

On what it means to Rob Wilson to have a Senior Day like this:
“It means a lot. He’s not trying to minimalize it. Last year was the year I thought he could really get some quality minutes in the game, but he was hurt. To me, his injury affected his explosiveness which I think is what he can bring to the table. So now, he has some confidence, because he does have that explosiveness back. He’s recognizing things a little better. We live in a world where we have to get things done. It’s not about how you look, it’s about getting things done. Numbers tell the story.”

On disrupting Illinois’ half-court offense to hold them to three assists:
“I don’t want to over-emphasis that, because there are players that are so good off the bounce with the ball, that if they take one explosive dribble and pull up and shoot a jumper and make it, the passer put the guy in pretty good position to make the shot. If you make a move, then it’s not an assist. I don’t get too carried away with that number in trying to judge other teams or even our own team sometimes. Maybe you’re getting to the rim off the bounce, maybe you’re getting buckets in transition off a steal, so there’s not an assist involved. A guy like Michael Flowers had a lot of those for us. So, we just played our defense we’ve been playing all along, and sometimes it’s better than others. I thought it was pretty good today.”

On what he likes about the team going into the Big Ten Tournament:
“The fact that we’re playing, anytime you have more games on the schedule at this time, that’s a good thing. Again, we’re waiting for the winner of a game. That has worked both ways. Sometimes that team that gets a game in is so much more relaxed that next day, and sometimes there are teams that had to work extremely hard and are fatigued. All I know is, whoever we’re playing, we’re going to try to do the same things that we’ve been doing to be successful.

On how you prepare not knowing who you play next:
“Yeah, we do [worry about ourselves], but we also throw the two teams that are in the bracket that leads to our game and we’ll do some of that stuff. Sometimes the assistant has both of the teams we could play, other times one coach will have one team and another coach will have the other. I think teams in the Big Ten know each other pretty well. It’s about whether or not you’re going to execute and get it done in that particular 40 minutes.”

Wisconsin Players
Senior G Jordan Taylor

On what a victory like this means on Senior Day:
“It was definitely a surreal experience. It was fun being out there in front of the Greatful Red one last time and to get a win.”

On if the emotions of Senior Day helped the team:
“It might have. It’s always kind of difficult with all the hoopla around it and emotions like that. But at the end of the day you’ve got to go out and play basketball. Like you said, doing a good job of getting a great team win.”

On if there’s a pride factor when you hold a Big Ten team to 18 first-half points:
“It’s definitely a cool thing, especially a team with as much talent as Illinois. Brandon Paul and Meyers Leonard are two of the better players in the league. We did a good job pressuring the ball a little bit and also helping each other out on the backside, like [Jared Berggren] said, on Meyers. It was a really good defensive effort in the first half.”

On how influential Coach [Bo] Ryan has been on his development:
“He’s a great teacher. He does a great job of taking basketball points and relating them back to everyday life. Like [Rob Wilson] said, there are a ton of things – too many things – to just sit here and mention one. One’s not more significant than the other. But if there was, it would be how to teach you to be a man off the court.”

Senior G/F Rob Wilson

On what a victory like this means on Senior Day:
“It felt great. To come out here and get a win will always put the icing on the cake on Senior Day.”

On if the emotions of Senior Day helped the team:
“What more can you ask for to go out there and play? You try to put the emotions in and all the stuff behind it aside because you always want to win instead of lose.”

On playing a big part in the beginning of the game and also the last few games:
“It was real satisfying. Better late than never. I need to keep going with the mindset that I can help this team off the bench and keep trying to be consistent with it.”

On how influential Coach [Bo] Ryan has been on his development:
“I can say that he’s influenced me more so in being a young man and developing into a man versus basketball. He’s taught me a lot in four years that I feel like I can take on and use in my life, other than basketball.”

Sophomore G Josh Gasser

On what the thought was when Illinois pulled back within eight points:
“We always have to play hard against a team like that. As much talent as they have and as much firepower on offense, they can hit threes in bunches. We knew we had to keep a foot on the pedal and keep going with it and that started on the defensive end.”

Junior F/C Jarred Berggen

On the difference Rob Wilson has made off the bench the past three to four weeks:
“He’s been huge for us the last couple weeks. He’s come in and hit some big shots. He’s been playing great defense and bringing a lot of energy off the bench. I think it makes us so much better as a team when guys like him are stepping in and really contributing and bringing a lot to our team. I love seeing Rob playing well, especially on Senior Night. For him to go out ending his Kohl Center career here with a good game and bringing that energy and intensity like he did I think that makes it so much better. I’m sure he’ll keep it up – he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now. It’s good to see, so hopefully we can keep things rolling like that in the tournament play.”

Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber

Opening Statement:
“We have been through a really tough stretch in our season, and our lives to be honest, for the kids and our coaches.  But you can’t do anything except go play basketball and play with a passion, if you love the game.  The disappointing thing for me, we played very tentative to start the game and we spotted them 14-2, which was a game, but after that you got to make some shots.  We just didn’t make enough shots and [Rob] Wilson stepped up and made some big shots for them, which gave them the lead.  We had a couple breakdowns defensively, things we had gone over.  We made a push, got it to 8 or 9, Tracy Abrams had a lay-up, missed it.  It was that kind of game that gave them the lead; they are so good with it, so poised.  They missed some shots, obviously the free throw differential really hurt us, especially in the first half.  If we got to Indianapolis, you got Iowa and you just have to play.  You have to lay it all on the line and play. That’s got to be our focus.”

On the team’s energy going into the game:
‘I thought we would come out and play hard, [Illinois] practiced great.  I talked with them the other day, we had a little sit down. Is it pressure? Is it the whole thing?  Each guy has a little different story, but now it doesn’t matter.  What matters is them and their team, and their teammates, and themselves.  They have to come with a passion and play, that’s all.  If you love basketball you are going to come and be ready to play in the Big Ten Tournament.

On the last month of the season:
“First we were a young and inexperienced team, winning a lot of close games.  Then we got to ‘gut check’ part of the season.  Even the first game against Wisconsin, we were ahead 54-50 at home.  If we win that game we are in first place I think by our self, and we have a wide open three, we don’t make the play.  They come down and make some plays.  They out hustle us, out tough us, and there were several games like that.  It slowly but surely took the spirit of our kids to be honest. They are a young group.  I wish I had all the answers, but right now all we can worry about is the Big Ten Tournament and coming and playing our butts off.  We can. We are a good team, but you have to play, you have to play with energy, you have to play with passion.”

On how the season is affecting your team outside basketball:
“Oh it’s hard.  It’s very hard.  It’s a difficult stretch.  All you can do is help your kids, your players, the staff, and our families.  That’s all you can do.  You just have to keep battling and doing it right, and good things will happen sometime.”

On Wisconsin’s play:
“It’s their system, their style, and their kids.  We talked about it before the game.  Josh Gasser, [Mike] Bruesewitz don’t care if they score a point.  They just want Wisconsin to win.  I think even [Ryan] Evans, they play with a passion, and for Wisconsin.  They play hard, and they buy into the system and they win games.  That’s what it is.  Jordan Taylor makes a lot of plays.”


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