March 12, 2013
Watch Bo Ryan Press Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin men's basketball head coach Bo Ryan spoke about Wisconsin's upcoming trip to the 2013 Big Ten Tournament in Chicago, Ill.
Archived video of the media session is available through the link above, and a complete transcript of Ryan's remarks can be found below.
Question: You've mentioned -- you've been asked about (Jared) Berggren's ability to block shots, and you've always said there's so much more to playing defense, and being that he was placed on the all-defensive team, can you just talk about why you think he's become a good defender for you and what you guys do.
Ryan: Well, because of the way we play ball screens, we're finding a lot of other people are starting to play them the same way, not a hard hedge, not a flat hedge, but a softer hedge, and because he has the ability to do that. Because we felt with hard hedges, we were giving up years ago some shots, especially open threes.
So by playing defense the way we do and running people off the line, we're pushing guys to take tough two-point jump shots. You hear coaches all the time talk about no threes, nothing to the rim, tough two-point jumpers. So in order to do that, though, you have to have a 5 man that can protect, wall up the basket, make shots tough, either alter them, alter the shots or block the shots or take charges. That's what Jared's done a really good job of.
Sometimes you see people get in there and maybe make a runner. Purdue made three or four of the runners, yet if you take the percentage of shots that they took running them off the three-point line, the two-point percentage wasn't good enough to beat us.
My wife had the radio on for ten seconds, and I heard somebody talking about the way we were guarding screens against Purdue, and I'm thinking, that's what's so good about coaching is that you kind of know that you know a little bit more than some of these people that do a lot of talking. So whoever it was, I had no idea. We went to another station, something that I could bounce to.
It's just Jared's the guy that's made that possible for us, and Brian Butch got pretty good at it. Greg Stiemsma, Jason Chappell. There were so many other good bigs, Mike Wilkinson. Mike was good because he was -- he wasn't as tall, but he was good at a hard hedge, a flat hedge, and a soft hedge. But Jared's made the difference for us defensively.
Question: What does it mean to be named the Big Ten's Coach of the Year, and were you surprised when you heard the news yesterday?
Bo: As I've always said, my assistants do the voting. I don't get involved in it. For awards, individual awards, things like that, I really don't get involved. But what they're saying is it still has, after the coach's name or the player's name that gets an award, they have the university. So the fact that Wisconsin is listed there the staff was pretty excited because they know.
I tried to pull a funny on putting up the team picture on the Big Ten thing. How did you guys think that came out? Really, that's the reason you're sitting there doing the interview because of the players and what the coaches have done. They deserve every bit as much credit as any individual award.
Players will tell you that, or at least players that are smart enough to realize, if they get an award, it's because of their teammates.
But they had the University of Wisconsin there. That's the exciting part. Heard from a lot of alums, a lot of former players that's good stuff.
Question: Mike Eaves used the words resiliency and perseverance to describe what his team has shown this year and what all they've overcome. What word or two would you use to describe what your team has accomplished to this point despite what's been thrown at you guys?
Ryan: That's not fair. He got to use the words first. What's that leave me? As I'd say to the team, there's going to be more things like this in their lives. If something uncomfortable happens, if something not expected, if something kind of rubs you the wrong way or causes you sorrow, you're going to get these things.
So it's everybody helping everybody through it. No matter what Ben (Brust) went through, no matter what Mike (Bruesewitz) went through, no matter what anybody went through, they always knew they had the team as that other family there to help them through it.
The support system with teams and that's another part about growing up and wanting to, eventually, when I decided to coach, coach a team sport because of how people bond together, how people help one another. So everybody helped everybody through everything so far. I'm sure it will be more things coming up. You just got to stay together and be supportive.
Question: Bo, when did you kind of realize that this had the makings of a pretty good defense? I'm curious. When Mike (Bruesewitz) got healthy again and was back 100 percent, how much that meant to what you guys were doing on that end of the floor.
Ryan: You think we're playing pretty good defense?
Question: I think the numbers would suggest you're playing really good defense.
Ryan: I just wanted to clarify that before I answered. Let's see. Front page, three quarters of the back I had more clips taken out from the Penn State game than probably any game of the year on things where we can improve on positioning, on you say something like that, and you're right the numbers, but these guys have worked. There's no question. They've worked. It's just we can be better. I'm not even talking about shooting it better because you're talking about defense.
But the thing I have found is, because of all the film you look at and all the games, did you ever see how defense picks up when you make some shots? I think, hey, these are human beings. These are people with emotions. They're playing a game.
There have been some times where, by not hitting shots, I can definitely see where the defense is let down. Not because they go, oh, ball's not going in. I'm not going to play defense. It's just emotionally the charge isn't there. The juice tends to waver, and it seems a lot with the younger guys because they haven't been through this.
The seniors have been pretty steady defensively. It's the younger guys who still have to understand that, if your shot isn't going in, you can't let it affect the rest of your game.
It's like some people said about Sam (Dekker) probably not getting sixth man of the year is everybody has film on everybody now, has clips, has their video guy doing this, this, this, and he's got weaknesses. I think that probably cost him the sixth man of the year from what I'm hearing from some other sources, but he's better.
The nice part is thinking, boy, if he keeps improving, we could be better.
Question: Bo, when you have a first round bye in the Big Ten Tournament like this, what's your preference for scouting as far as not knowing who the opponent is going to be on Friday? Do you split it up, or is it easier just knowing that you've played all the teams before?
Ryan: Eventually, I'm going to answer your question, but how about this, guys? We hit a 40-footer -- 35, 36, nothing but bottom of the net. Get on a plane, fly back, drive home -- as we're driving home, we just simply -- my daughter in the back was getting scores, and, oh, Indiana just won. Michigan missed a shot at the end. And then you get to see the last few minutes of that game, and you think we've had problems at times? Free-throw line.
That ball sits on that rim, and I'll tell you why it didn't go in because it was the Rock. If that's a Sterling or a Wilson or a McGregor, that ball's in. The rock is hard. It's called that for a reason.
Wasn't that a great picture, though? Wasn't that a great shot? Well, not if you're from Michigan, and they played well enough to win. But that rolls off, we hit a 30-something footer, and we get to have a bye.
So you asked about the bye. You're prepared to get your team ready. You know it's Penn State or Michigan, but you know you've got a quick turnaround, so you have no scout. You don't have a practice for the next one in the Big Ten Tournament. So you work on your stuff, and you have the team that -- like one day we'll do Michigan, one day we'll do Penn State.
And then we're going to try -- I don't know if it's going to work, but we're trying to make it work. So that the last 40 minutes of practice on Thursday, we'll know the winner before we get on the bus. So that's what we're trying to work out now so that we can do the final possessions that we do the day before a game on the team that we're going to play.
But we'll go against zone. We'll go against pressure. We'll go against three-quarter court, half-court. You've got to have all your -- you've got to have all that in, especially if you're fortunate enough to play three days in a row.
For us, there's no preference on who we play because we have no control over it.
Question: In regards to the Coach of the Year award, have you heard from any other Big Ten coaches since it was announced?
Ryan: Yeah, I have, but to talk about things like that, that's not me. People go, oh, this coach called and that coach didn't. I wonder why that coach didn't.
Yeah, I've heard from several in one form of communication or other, and I'm sure the ones I haven't heard from, they tweeted me, and I don't have it. Can you tweet somebody that doesn't have it? No, they Facebooked me. They liked me. Whatever that is, I don't know. My daughters use that language all the time.
Question: Despite the fact that the redhead gave you an upset stomach with that pass, do you like the fact you had a tough game going into the tournament? Or you've had tough games before, and one more doesn't make a difference. A game where you had to make plays down the stretch to win.
Answer: You're referring to the fact that you might think our Ohio State, Nebraska game, for example, that those were easy? Sometimes the score will say something, but you mean one last possession type game? I thought it was good for our guys because from our clips, just those last minute and a half, there's several things on there that we're able to point out when we get them here in a couple of hours that I hope will benefit us, sometimes what to do, sometimes what not to do.
Question: I'm not sure if you're worried about what the other teams are doing in the Big Ten Tournament, but with as deep as the league is this year, does this have the makings of being maybe the best tournament you've been a part of?
Answer: Well, sometimes you get to play one game, and then you're home, and then it's kind of hard to comment on the tournament. Sometimes you get to play in the finals. You get the win, maybe you get the lose. So I don't know. We'll have to wait till it's over.
We would sure like to be a part of it for a while. Who wouldn't? I'm just wondering how many in here think how many teams are going to get in from the Big Ten. Do we think seven? Do we think eight? Could be a ninth if somebody goes crazy. What's the word on the street? You guys get all that information. I don't.
Seven? With the possibility of an eighth. Okay, so who are these sources leaving out?
Question: You mentioned a moment ago about liking that Traevon was sticking up for another teammate about a play at the end of the Penn State game. It seems that some of his bigger moments have come in games even maybe where he struggled during the game. What about his mental makeup and his ability to kind of show a bounce back, I guess, that's impressed you, or do you like about what he brings to your team?
Ryan: He's a strong-minded young man, and he's shown that in just I'll get it the next time. He believes in himself, and that's okay. It's our job to point out the behavior that we would like changed. Don't attack here. Read this. Ball fake here. Retreat dribble there. All those things when I say we teach ways that he can be better because that's why he's here. He came here so he could become a better basketball player and play on a team that's competitive.
So he knows -- players know when they're not doing the right thing. So when I try to point out, I always try to say why that wasn't a good pass or why this could have been a better shot. Now, do I always say it like that? Probably not.
But I played. I was given instruction. I took it, and they take it. And they're good about that because they know I point out things to help them move to the next level.
Question: Besides winning potentially winning a Big Ten title, what do you have to gain in a tournament like this? Looking maybe a little down the road to the NCAA Tournament.
Ryan: You know my feelings on the Tournament, on the Big Ten Tournament.
Question: Especially due to the tough competition you might face.
Ryan: It will be a grind. It will be -- the theory was years -- decades ago, when the ACC wasn't getting the National Championships, it was they beat each other up. I'm not -- that's that big ball against the wall again.
The ACC, being on the East Coast, I remember reading articles about how they beat each other up going into the tournament, and then other people would say, when an ACC team would win, oh, the tournament got them ready for it. So the fact the Big Ten hasn't won a National Championship in a while, I've heard that out there about how we beat each other up. I think it's an excuse, but we do.
We do beat each other up, but that doesn't mean that somebody from our league can't go on and win six games. That's the tough part.