UW Health Sports Medicine 

Badgers look ahead to Sweet 16

<b>Head coach Bo Ryan met with the media as Wisconsin prepares for the Sweet 16</b>

Head coach Bo Ryan met with the media as Wisconsin prepares for the Sweet 16

March 19, 2012

Ryan's Press Conference Small Video Graphic
Taylor's Press Conference Small Video Graphic
Gasser/Brust Press Conference Small Video Graphic

-- Wisconsin men's basketball coach Bo Ryan and players Jordan Taylor, Josh Gasser and Ben Brust met with the media Monday as the Badgers prepare for their Sweet 16 matchup with Syracuse in Boston. Archived video of their appearances can be found above, while complete transcripts can be found below.

QUESTION #1: Bo, what's the difference in Syracuse without Fab Melo?

Bo Ryan: I couldn't tell you because I've only looked at their recent games. You get into the tournament, nobody asks when Brian Butch went out with an injury. You can't do things about people who aren't there. We're just preparing for who's there, so I really can't give you an answer to that.

QUESTION #2: Regarding what they do with that zone that they play, what are some of the problems that it has presented other teams that you guys have seen on tape?

RYAN: Well, they're long.  They read and react well because they do it so often. All the things that they do with their movement, from practice to games and people run a lot of different types of offense against it, and the teams that are successful get a little bit inside and out. It comes from both ends. There are teams that maybe shot it really well from three that were able to bump them, teams that could get maybe second shots, which are rare because they are so long and active, but that's why they've been so successful for so long. They get the athletes that can do it, and [Syracuse head coach] Jim [Boeheim] has that system going that everybody learns from the guys in front of them.

QUESTION #3: What do you think of James Southerland and the strength of their bench?

RYAN: Well, I mean, they've got so many talented players. When you're No. 1 in the country for so long and for so many different eras, they're just good. They can shoot the three. They can go rebound the misses on the offensive end. You got guys that can penetrate. So they have a lot of different weapons, and they do have depth.

QUESTION #4: They were deficient on the glass in the first half against Kansas State. Despite that, what helps a team like that succeed despite the fact that they can't get on the rebounding side of it?

RYAN: Well, every team has been outrebounded and still been able to do pretty well, but you don't want that to be the norm, that's for sure. So if you're not proficient in one area in our game, you've got to pick it up somewhere else. So there's, if we had time to do a clinic here, I could give you all the other areas, but we don't have time for that, so you just better be proficient in the other ones.

QUESTION #5: How nice was it for you to see Mike [Bruesewitz] shoot the ball so well in Albuquerque [NM, in the first two games] given the tough stretch that he had been through before? What kind of a lift...

RYAN: I just said he was due. I've already answered those questions. It's that baseball player that starts to get hits again, and the average improves. I don't like to beat it to death.

QUESTION #6: Have you paid any attention to Marquette in the NCAA, their run?

RYAN: I haven't paid attention to anybody but us, and who we're playing really. I mean, you catch some games, but I haven't had a chance to see very many other teams play.

QUESTION #7: Do you think it's pretty cool or pretty satisfying to see two state teams going forward in the Sweet 16 and having so much success?

RYAN: Sure. I mean, you always like to, first your conference is what you really want, so our conference has done extremely well. And the fact that, there's teams from the state of Wisconsin isn't all bad. That's all pretty good, but I can only coach one team, so.

QUESTION #8: Have you been able to put a call out to [former Badger and current Boston Celtic] Greg Stiemsma since finding out where you're going next round?

RYAN: I haven't. I've barely had a chance to get laundry done. I know, Kelly will say `what, he said what?' I really haven't, and I don't know their [the Boston Celtics'] schedule. I don't know whether they're in town, out of town. What, does he want tickets? They're in Milwaukee? Oh, okay. Thought maybe Greg called for tickets and they didn't tell me.

QUESTION #9: You mentioned what the league has done in the NCAA [tournament games]. Are you surprised at all to see the success that the league has had this year, given how tough it was during the regular season?

RYAN: No. I've said that before about preparing each other for what's coming later, and hopefully it can continue for all of us. I know the odds are maybe not in our favor, but I like the way the teams have played, and it's a couple tough losses for the two that didn't advance. But it's not two out of three, so you've got to get it done in that 40 [minutes] or you're watching, and nobody wants to do that. Right?

QUESTION #10: I know given your long career you've crossed paths with a lot of different coaches. How well, if at all, do you know Jim Boeheim, and what's been your impression of him and his program from afar?

RYAN: I had to sit behind him and his wife at all the Final Fours. Because he and I have been around for a while, so it goes by seniority where you sit [at the Final Four] in the Coaches Association. So there's a guy that got a head coaching job at a young age. I'm probably, no, I am, the oldest probably coach in the NCAA tournament to get a Division I job. So we're kind of at, from that end, at different ends of the spectrum. But Julie, his wife, she always has licorice during the games. I think . . . my dad, she always asked my dad if he'd like some licorice or some candy as we're sitting at the games.

Probably more than you wanted. Jim and I are on the NCBC Board of Directors together. We love the game. We like to try to do things that are in the best interest of the game, especially when issues come up, and we're not afraid to have opinions and to express them, in spite of what other people might feel that aren't in this, that don't do what we do every day. The free agency issue, the things like that. Thank goodness there are people who have insight, have the information, and are willing to share it and talk about it in an intelligent way. And Jim's one of, Jim's on the board, he's one of those guys that likes to tell it like it is, and I'm not bashful, so I'm glad he's on the board.

QUESTION #11: You guys have a nice stretch of Sweet 16 occurrences going here. What do you think it does for a program to get to this level in terms of exposure and anything else?

RYAN: Tom, I think what it does is, how many people you think are still looking at brackets, right. So if your name's there, the fact that, oh, yeah, all right, okay. And if you're a Wisconsin fan, it's awfully nice because you've got at least another 40 minutes to yell. I can't believe the people I hear from that left watching the Vanderbilt/Wisconsin game because their fingernails were gone, they couldn't yell anymore, and people were yelling the score out of the windows because it was such a nice day. People went out in the yard, and people were yelling scores out of the window to people. And I'm like, `well, why don't you just sit in front of the TV and relax and watch it?' I was relaxed, wasn't I?

MODERATOR: I was too.

RYAN: Here it is. It's so fast [the NCAA Tournament], it comes on you so fast, and when you take a bump, you're forgotten in a hurry. The longer you can last is always good, I think, because of all the establishments and all the places where people gather, especially for all the retired people or people who are in Florida, Arizona, California. They got to follow us on the Big Ten Network during the year, and now with the NCAA Tournament, I think the interest is definitely a lot higher than it was, say, s, 10, 15, 20 years ago because of now, through the Big Ten Network, people know all our players and they know the players of the other teams in the Big Ten. That has really, I think, spiked the connection between basketball fans of Big Ten schools and when it comes to NCAA Tournament time. I don't think there's any doubt about that. More people know the entire roster.

QUESTION #12: Bo, in what ways do you think you've evolved as a coach, just from when you started at Wisconsin 10 years ago? I mean, schematically, is there anything different about what you do with the teams now then what you did 10 years ago?

RYAN: I don't know in what area. Every group is different. Every team tends to take on a certain personality of their own, and that's what I'm concerned about. I haven't changed much. I just try to do a job of steering these guys in the right direction, giving them the fundamentals, giving them the teaching, giving them, with the rest of our staff, the things we think need to be done, and they grab it and run with it.

QUESTION #13: Just as a quick follow-up, how would you characterize this year's team that maybe makes them different from other teams that you've had? What is it about this team that's special?

RYAN: Well, I think what they're doing with what experience they had coming in, and where we were at a certain point in the season, more people are in love with this team. When I say that, meaning [fans] are really pulling for this team because of the fact that they kind of say, `we didn't think you were that good.' Oh, okay, there's some days at practice I told them that too, but then pointed out how you can get better. It's one thing to say, okay, maybe we're not very good here, we're not, we need to work on this, but then we go out and work on it. A lot of people will sit and say, you're not very good, and not doing anything about it, but that's not our function. But this team has come a long way. I'm really proud of them.

QUESTION #14: Bo, two parts. Did you know Jim when he played pro ball in Scranton [Penn.]?

RYAN: Let's see. I was there '65 to '69 in Wilkes-Barre [Penn.], and we tried to stay as far away from Scranton as possible. They were our rivals. But we had the Wilkes-Barre Barons, we hung around with those guys. [They] would come in and play pickup games with us  and all. Levern Tart was one of them, you can Google him I guess. I'm trying to remember some of the other guys. We used to get some good pickup games with them, but Jim never came down to Wilkes-Barre. If he was in Scranton, he didn't come to Wilkes-Barre and play any pickup games with us. How old is Jim? I don't even know how old he is.

QUESTION #15: Yeah, I'll get back to you on that. Can you talk about just some of the work that you guys have done with the NABC and how important that is to the whole landscape of college basketball? You touched on it a little bit earlier, but could you go a little more in depth on that?

RYAN: Aw, there's just every, I mean, we've been around so long, in his case longer, but in the '70s, when things were done a certain way recruiting-wise and all that, there weren't the dead periods. You could go to pickup games anywhere. You could do a lot of things differently. If you weren't on the road, people with Michigan, Indiana, and Minnesota were.

So now there's restricted number of days, and I've kidded my assistants ever since these rules went into effect. I said, you guys ought to be giving money back because you're not out on the road as much as we used to be back in the day. But don't old people usually talk like that? Like you guys don't have anywhere near as tough as we used to.

So it has gotten better for coaches with families, with kids. In the '70s, '80s, all the guys that I knew in coaching that got divorced or separated, it was tough as a coach to maintain a relationship when you were gone all the time. And the pressures, the pressures are always there in a lot of professions, in some more so than others, but I think the rules now for coaches and how long they're gone from campus and how many days they can be out are so much better. That's one area. Then there's a lot more, but no need to go into those here. I'll just give you that as an example.

QUESTION #16: Sometimes we forget this time of year these guys are students too.

RYAN:  Absolutely.

QUESTION #16: How challenging is it now, especially with the academic side, with all the demands on their time and all the travel this time of year?

RYAN: Well, first of all, you don't know if you're going to come back and ask for, on the permission slips, on the missed class sheets, until the weekend is over. We're not on break. A lot of times in the NCAA tournament, we've been fortunate, for the student athletes, that there weren't classes. So we had guys take tests Thursday. We had guys take tests Wednesday in Albuquerque, proctored by our people here from the University from Academic Services. There will be tests, we got guys with tests this next week. We have guys today that are scrambling to get ahead.

And, we're going to be putting in, we gave them yesterday completely off. Coaching staff, we're compiling our notes here on Syracuse and our helpful hints, so knowing that they had a lot of stuff they had to get done before we take off Tuesday. We take off tomorrow [for Boston]. But we always tell them it's what you're here for, it will never be anything from us, we're all these poor guys, no way. This is what they're supposed to be doing. And they're fortunate in that they get to get an education and get to make a trip to the Sweet 16.

So I think that Wisconsin, it's all kept in perspective, the proper perspective I would think. And, yes, we'll be doing things this week too with tests.

In your mind, to what extent does experience, the fact that many of the guys who are playing for you now played in the Sweet 16 at this level, at this stage, last year is beneficial, helpful for your team this time around?

Well, a couple of them were starters, a couple, and three of them participated, maybe four, yeah, Rob did. By this time, and usually the teams that are left, a lot of those guys have experience too. And you think about a team like Syracuse, going through the Big East tournament, besides the schedule that they had, and all the scrutiny and things that they've been through, I don't think we'll have an experience or what other type of advantage you might want to think because some of our guys have been through the tournament. But I'd rather have some of it, some experience, than none, but the team we're playing has a lot too.

QUESTION #1: Jordan, [Wisconsin head coach] Bo [Ryan] was talking earlier today. He said that, you know, people at the start of the season maybe suggested that this team wouldn't be very good this season, or something like that. And he's also said that this team has come, you know, maybe as far as any team that he's had from the start of the season to the end. You know, as a guy who has been in this program for four years, what makes this team different or special from other teams that you've been on at Wisconsin? Are those some of the components?

Jordan Taylor: It's kind of hard to say. I've been on some pretty special teams, I feel like. They've all been, feel like every single year, every year I've been here, the team has been just a little different in terms of the makeup. I just feel like we have a lot of different personalities on this team, more so than we have any other year I've been here. I just feel like we have guys who respond to adversity, I shouldn't say better than in the past, but just differently, I guess. Maybe some times the light doesn't turn on as quick for some of us, not in a bad way, just things kind of develop more slowly. But when they do, it can be a really powerful thing.

QUESTION #2: When you put Syracuse and Wisconsin next to each other on paper, they're going to have probably more of the advantages, I guess. But what keeps you guys confident that you have a shot?
TAYLOR: I feel like that's how it is every game. I mean, if you were to watch SportsCenter. it seems like every game, whether we're playing Montana or Syracuse, is always they're always better than us or someone's better than us. So it's just, for us, we're just trying to go out and stick to the things we do well and not really get caught up in that.

QUESTION #3: Jordan, what impresses you about Scoop [Jardine] and the guard play that Syracuse has?

TAYLOR: I know they're all, I guess they're kind of those typical New York, East Coast guards. They believe they can do anything and, I mean, quite frankly, they probably can. They're all really talented, skilled with the ball, everything, especially Scoop. He's a floor general, and he's extremely driven. Just rooming with him from the summer, talking to him, you could tell he's not going to let anything stand in his way when it comes to achieving what he wants to achieve.

QUESTION #4: Jordan, as being one of the seniors, you've seen Ryan Evans probably grow from wherever he was when he first got here. I'm just curious, how would you describe his growth, both as a basketball player and also above the shoulders, mentally and how he handles things?
TAYLOR: He's been remarkable. He's been great all year for us. I came in with Ryan, so it kind of goes both ways. He's seen me grow and I've seen him grow, and it's been fun being with him for three or four years. He's still got another year. He's got an advantage, so he's got that extra year to get even better. But he's kind of always stuck to the task, never really let anything deterred him. He's taken advice from all different angles, whether it's his family, friends, us, teammates, coaches, and, he just kind of takes all that in and tries to store it away and just improve from the time he's been here to, or from the time he got here until now, and it's definitely showed.

QUESTION #5: Jordan, when you look at some of the opponents you've played this year, Ohio State, Michigan State, the superstar players they have and the success you guys have had against them, I guess how much credit goes to the scout team and how much would you attribute to what they do to get you guys prepared for those wins?

TAYLOR: A lot of credit has to go to our scout team. Obviously, we don't have, I don't know if we have Jared Sullinger on the scout team or Scoop Jardine on the scout team, but they definitely make it seem like that. George [Marrshall] is probably close, to be quite honest. And even if he wasn't, he's going to make it seem like that for at least two hours every day. George, especially George and Traevon [Jackson], as freshmen, Duje [Dukan], Jarrod Uthoff, Evan [Anderson], all those guys, J.D. [Wise], all of them, they just come in every day and play extremely hard, and it's really beneficial to us, but especially I think just to see how George has come along from the time he got here to now. Not only his game has continued to improve, he was always good, but now you can see him. He's more vocal on scout team, kind of telling guys where to go, and that can help. It helps more than people think.

QUESTION #6: When you look at Syracuse's zone and how teams try to attack it, what impresses you about the way they play it and what maybe concerns you about how you guys are going to have to try to attack it?

TAYLOR: They force people where they want them to go, and I think when you kind of back down from that and just kind of go back into a shell and try and not really take stuff, I think that's when they kind of impose their will on teams and they get their way. So I think we just have to stay aggressive and try to just keep attacking them and go into the teeth of that zone, can't be nervous at all. It's [the] Sweet 16. It's definitely not for the faint-hearted, so you have to go in there and just be aggressive.

QUESTION #7: Mike [Bruesewitz] doesn't seem like the kind of guy who gets bothered by very much, you know, showing anything outwardly, especially when he went through that tough shooting stretch. What did you notice about him, and also, you know, what did it mean to see him be able to break out like that in the biggest moment of the season?

TAYLOR: Yeah, it was cool. But you know, I think every single one of us, coming into tournament, knew we could rely on Mike. I heard the stat after the game that he hadn't hit a three since Feb. 9, and I don't think anybody on our team knew that because Mike's just the kind of guy who is going to come out and play hard and, like you said, not really show that he's slumping like that. And when you got an attitude like that, you can really break out of it at any time, and he broke out of it at a huge time for us, made some big shots in both those first two games.

QUESTION #8: You talked about being aggressive against the zone. Were you guys a little passive when Vanderbilt showed that late?
TAYLOR: Yeah, I think so, to an extent. We were settling for threes a lot, and you have to be able to penetrate the zone. I think, to be honest, they caught us by surprise a little bit, which shouldn’t happen. They were going man the whole game, and they just kind of switched it up, and we just didn't really make shots. Ben [Brust] kept us going there, hitting two threes or whatever it was. And so I just think we have to do a better job of keep staying on the course.

QUESTION #9: Jordan, you mentioned that the Sweet 16 is not for the faint hearted. Can you take us back to the feeling you guys had last year, maybe how badly you don't want to have that feeling this year and kind of keep this thing going?

TAYLOR: Yeah. I think I had that, I thought about that game until, I still think about, but I think about it less now since we got another opportunity, but I think we felt like we missed a big opportunity last year. The only way to try to rectify it is to get back to the same spot you were in, and we've done that, so now we just have to do a better job of trying to capitalize on the opportunity.

QUESTION #10: Jordan, what's the difference in Syracuse without Fab Melo? And out of all the guys, is Scoop [Jardine] kind of one that as he goes, the team goes or he's the one who makes them go?
TAYLOR: Yeah, I guess I can't really say what the difference is without Fab Melo, just because I haven't seen him a ton, but they're still obviously a really talented team. I don't know how many games he missed this year, but they only lost two, so, I mean, they have a lot of good players on there. And I know that, that definitely will, I know they're probably missing him, but they're probably still not, they got plenty of guys. I don't know. Rakeem Christmas is a great player, C.J. Fair, so they could definitely make up with, for his absence, but we just have to stick to the things we do well. We can't really worry about what they're going to do. And Scoop, as far as he goes, I think that he's a floor general, and I think he does make them go.

QUESTION #11: Jordan, kind of a broader question. You guys have made now the Sweet 16 the last two years, and you've been kind of a fixture in the Sweet 16 since '03. What do you think your guys success has done for the program and the image of the program, especially since you're going to be walking away from here pretty, you'll be able to look back on your career here?

TAYLOR: You know, I think it just . . . to become a powerhouse program or if whatever you want to call it, you have to be able to win and we won, but you just have to keep taking steps. We've made some steps in the right direction, but definitely we have to start taking advantage of opportunities like this. We have a great opportunity to go and play against a really good team and to just kind of take that next step as individuals, as teammates, as just a program, I think we just have to start taking advantage of these opportunities when we get them.

QUESTION #12: At this point, Big Ten's 9-2 in tournament play, four teams in the Sweet 16. Do you find yourself rooting for some of those teams, and what's your impression on the success that it's had?
TAYLOR: Yeah. I root for the Big Ten teams, definitely . . . for league success. You get to know some of these guys over the course of the years, and some of them you develop friendships with, so you definitely cheer for them. Obviously, Purdue lost a tough one last night. Could argue that we should have five in the Sweet 16, but sometimes that's the way it goes, and, you know, it definitely shows that it's a tough league, and especially this year.

QUESTION #13: Jordan, this is a little bit off topic, but I'm sure as you watch on film throughout the course of the year, you've seen Dan Fahey's face whenever he's pumped up. Just curious, if so, how would you describe that, and what does it represent when he makes that face?

TAYLOR: I don't know how I would describe that face. Sometimes maybe like a fish out of water. We always give him a hard time. He's always got his mouth open. But I think it just means, it just shows how great of teammates we have when a guy like Dan, who comes in here every day, wakes up and lifts every morning when we do, works hard, just as hard, I mean, I guess it's hard to say harder, but he's one of the hardest working guys on the team. He's getting extra shots up after lift, coming to practice every day. And for him to just be that excited and be that into the game, it definitely, it means a lot to us ,the guys who are playing, because we know all of our teammates have our backs.

QUESTION #14: Jordan, you guys have been pretty efficient for about a month now, really since that loss up in East Lansing, with a couple exceptions. What do you think are the biggest factors for that?
TAYLOR: Just guys staying aggressive, guys like Mike [Bruesewitz] or Rob [Wilson], whomever, anybody, just maybe guys who are slumping a little bit, just staying aggressive, not letting those shooting slumps really get to them. And like we've been saying, like I've been saying all year long, we've been saying all year long we have a lot of guys who can fill it up, and we got a lot of guys playing confident, playing aggressive. It's kind of like making the other team pick their poison. I know you talk about Syracuse and Vanderbilt and all the scorers they have, but we have guys who can put it in the hole, too.

QUESTION #15: This is the second year in a row that Wisconsin and Marquette have both made the Sweet 16. I know you guys are only focused on yourselves, but what do you think that says about college basketball in the state of Wisconsin, that the two premier programs have made the Sweet 16 two years in a row?

TAYLOR: Maybe it says there's some appeal in Wisconsin, maybe some good basketball players like to come to Wisconsin, I guess. I don't really know. Marquette, obviously, is a really good team. They've proven all year long with Jae Crowder, DJO [Darius Johnson-Odom]. You have to wish them the best. Obviously, I know they're like an arch rival, but maybe we both get to the championship or something, we get a chance to face them again.

QUESTION #1: Josh, can you kind of walk me through your Saturday morning, early morning, and kind of what, not that graphic, but kind of what was going through your mind in terms of you obviously feeling the way you did and needing to be ready for a tough test later that day?

Josh Gasser: I mean, I just remember waking up in the middle of night and telling Mike [Bruesewitz] to call [athletic trainer] Henry [Guerra]. Was up for a while, six, seven hours, just doing the business, I guess. I mean, the whole time I was just thinking about trying to get to play and stuff. It wasn't about whether I was going to play or not, just about how effective I was going to be. But Henry did a great job with me, and Dr. O [John Orwin], and so they got me as prepared as I could be.

QUESTION #2: And how do you think you played against Vanderbilt?
GASSER: Oh, okay. I mean, I really didn't think I was going to do all that much, obviously. But I just tried to do whatever I could out there to help the team, and I knew Coach [Bo] Ryan was going to play me in short spurts, which he did, so I just tried to give as much effort as I could out there.

QUESTION #3: Josh, pardon the pun, but has everything passed through your system now, and how do you feel today?

GASSER: Yeah, I'm pretty good. Just trying to get my energy and strength back. Still pretty tired, but I'm good.

QUESTION #4: This is for both of you guys, just wanted to ask you about, you know, shooters who've been through slumps and been through hot streaks. To see Mike [Bruesewitz] play that way that he did in Albuquerque, and I'm sure you guys were asked about this a lot over the weekend, but what did it mean just for you guys to see that for a guy who struggled so much to do that in the biggest moments?
Ben Brust: I think it's good just overall as a team because, when he's shooting the ball well, it opens up a lot of other things for everyone. It's going to be key for him to get open and knock those shots down against Syracuse. I think we got a lot of guys who can knock down shots, and that's a good key thing against a zone.

GASSER: Yeah, I mean, he was due. It's been awhile for him, but he's worked his tail off, and he's one of those guys, when he's struggling, he's not going to hold his head down too much. He's going to get back in the gym and keep working, and that's what he did, and it definitely showed.

QUESTION #5: Ben, after the game, the Vanderbilt game, one of your coaches talked about your offense, but then talked about your defense, and said he thought you did a very good job defensively. And I'm just curious, from the day you walked on campus here to where you are today, what's different in you as a defensive player then versus now?

BRUST: To tell you the truth, sometimes when I'm out there, I'm like, ‘man, this is fun,’ starting to enjoy it a little more. And when you enjoy doing something, you do better at it. And it's just something that you get from watching guys older than me and how much it has an effect and how much it helps this team. It's just something you buy into, and that's something I've learned throughout my years.

QUESTION #6: So it wasn't something you enjoyed your first day on campus?
BRUST: Well, no, just like playing in AAU games, you don't really think about it. It's not that big of a deal. But it's something you quickly realize when you come to this level, that it's something you need, it's a challenge you need to accept if you want to play.

QUESTION #7: Josh, Coach [Greg] Gard just talked about, you know, the quality of teams you guys have played, whether it's Ohio State or Michigan State, and your scout team trying to emulate what a guy like Jared Sullinger or Draymond Green does. I guess what do they do, in your eyes, that makes you guys successful when you actually go up against those guys, even though they might be a little undersized?

GASSER: I mean, they just run through their stuff so hard. Coach Gard, Coach [Gary] Close, Coach P [Lamont Paris], whomever's got the scout, does a really good job of letting them know what the plays are. And they're smart kids over there, so they pick it up pretty quickly, and they just seem to run through it harder than anyone else does. They may not have the size, athleticism, but they'll run through it really hard and well. We have good bigs and guards on the scout team, so it's really good to emulate.

QUESTION #8: Ben, back to your defensive prowess for a second. During the second Ohio State game, I don't know if you ever heard this, but you came in the game late, you were on offense, you swung the ball, and the announcer said, Ben Brust, known more for his defense than his offense. I'm curious, have you heard that and what would be your reaction?
BRUST: Let's just say my high school team, we gave up more points in a quarter than our team did in a whole game this year, so I've come a long way with that. Just out there doing what I can, I guess.

QUESTION #9: Josh, could you give us a glimpse of what it's like juggling a full load of classes with all the other demands on your time, especially these couple weeks during the tournament?

GASSER: It's really tough. It really is. Go to class like one day a week basically, Mondays. Today was the only day we got to this whole week, so you just have to stay on top of things. You just have to get ahead and manage your time pretty quick and well. Toni Landis comes on the road with us to help us out, and she'll take tests with us out there. So we're definitely prepared, and you just have to, like I said, manage your time.

QUESTION #10: Josh, I just wanted to ask you about, I know you guys are focusing on your team, but both Wisconsin and Marquette are in the Sweet 16 for two straight years. That's the first time it's ever happened. Just as a Wisconsin kid, you know, what does that mean just for college basketball in the state of Wisconsin that the two, you know, big time programs are in the Sweet 16?
GASSER: It's good. I'm obviously more of a Wisconsin fan, but for pretty much anyone here in Wisconsin, you're one or the other, so it's good for Wisconsin basketball. Everyone gets into it in March. Even if you're not a huge fan the regular season, once March comes along, you start to hop on the bandwagons a little bit. So the fact that we're both playing is definitely good for all around state.

QUESTION #11: For both Ben and Josh, I mean, this is a zone that you guys haven't faced, and it looks to be a very aggressive zone. I'm just curious, do you think, for both you guys, from shooting the perimeter for both of you, do you think there will be an adjustment period on dealing with their length and their ability to close out on shots?

BRUST: I definitely think there will be a learning curve, but I think we've played a lot of different teams this year, some with length. Some play zone, some have played hard man, some have been aggressive denying. So just have to take everything we've learned throughout the year and just apply it to what they're doing and work hard in practice and get it going for the game.

GASSER: Yeah, I mean, they're long and athletic, so you might think a shot is open, but they'll close so quickly, so you just have to be ready for that. Use shot fakes, use ball fakes, and just use the whole shot clock because you might need to.

QUESTION #12: For both of you, with a couple exceptions, you guys have been noticeably more efficient on offense since the loss up in East Lansing. Do you guys, what do you think are the biggest factors behind that, why have you been better offensively in the last month really?
GASSER: The more guys we have chipping in, usually the better we are. So everyone just keep on getting better in practice, keep working together offensively, and the more we move the ball, the harder we cut, like I said, the more guys we have involved, usually the better we are. You saw it in the last couple games. Ben [Brust], Mike [Bruesewitz] both stepped up huge, and Ryan [Evans] has been playing really well. If we can keep getting contributions from everyone, I think the more efficient we'll be.

BRUST: Yeah, I think all year all different guys have had games where they've stepped up, and I think right now we're just coming together as a team and maybe all together it's kind of coming, not just one guy here, one guy there, maybe a little bit more all together, so I think that's big.

QUESTION #13: This is kind of an off kilter question about the scout team, but you guys have seen the film of, basically every game this year, there's a moment where Dan Fahey makes a face that, I don't know how you would describe it. I'm just curious if you guys have seen that face, and what does that face represent?

BRUST: Which face? I mean, he's got a couple weird faces. I've seen the pictures on Twitter and we watched a game earlier, and I actually saved a recording of Dan's face on our TV so we get to look at it whenever we want. He's got funny faces when he's celebrating and stuff, but . . .

GASSER: He always says, ‘Why don't I close my mouth?’

BRUST: Yeah, he's got some weird faces, but he gets excited out there, and that kind of goes on to us, so it's good to have.

QUESTION #14: For both you guys, now that you're past the first week, and you were obviously here before last year, what, do you allow yourself to kind of think Final Four at all? I mean, you're . . . focused on the first game, but do you let yourself at all just kind of dream of what it would mean to, now that you're this close and this, you know, two wins away?
BRUST: Well, I know I remember last year just sitting there after the Butler game, and I think a lot of the guys that are here with this team were there and remember that, and that's something that we don't want to feel. So we're just going to try to do what we can to make sure that doesn't happen.

GASSER: Yeah, I mean, we've come this far, might as well finish this thing off. For our seniors, no one on this team has a ring, Big Ten title or tournament title, so it would be nice to give Jordan [Taylor] and Rob [Wilson] a Final Four appearance. It's been awhile, so hopefully we can get it done.

QUESTION #15: Could you guys both address, does much change from the first weekend in the NCAA tournament to the second, just in terms of exposure and what it just means for this program to get there so regularly?

GASSER: Yeah, teams are a little bit better, I guess. Teams are either really, really good or really hot. So you're going to face probably a bigger, more athletic team who's well prepared. Everyone in our bracket right now is a really good team, so we just have to be ready to go and the intensity level gets notched up a bit, so it's going to be fun.

BRUST: I mean, I'll be the first to say that I enjoy not having to fill out a bracket anymore. I mean, because it just shows anyone can beat anyone. So we just have to bring it every game, regardless of who it is.

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago