Wisconsin Preps for Oregon

Nigel Hayes (Siker/14)

Going through its one full day of preparation before its third-round matchup with seventh-seed Oregon, Wisconsin junior Treavon Jackson, sophomore Sam Dekker and freshman Nigel Hayes address the media.

Join the Badger conversation on Facebook! Go to our Facebook page and "like" us!

Q. Guys, you and Oregon had remarkably similar seasons. Rough spot in January and then recovering really well. Can you break down some of the breakdowns when you hit the skids and what you did well to rally and get back on track?

Sam Dekker: I mean, that's what -- when I saw on the scouting report they won the first 13 and lost of eight of ten, kind really took me -- started to see -- made a lot of similarities. The things they did to get back and just by playing hard and getting back to what they're doing best. Very talented team they have. They're a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams. We got to do what we do, and our coaches do a great job of preparing us. They're a team that plays hard and smart and plays aggressive. We have to handle that.

Q. What about you guys, what were the breakdowns for you guys in January?

SAM DEKKER: I think defensively we got away from doing what we do best. Our defense translated so well into our offense. We were playing well and getting stops on D and make sure our offense is a little more uptempo and stuff like that. When we can do things like that and stay focused, we're a much better team.

Q. Sam, the teams tried to run on you guys this year, and what's been the outcome of that if they have?

SAM DEKKER: Well, there's been goods and bads for our team against it. Sometimes we don't do a good job in transition and we give up too many easy things, and other times we've been able to stop them. So I don't think we have to worry about one thing in particularly too much. We got to do what we do best, because there's teams in our conference that run, teams in our conference that slow it down. We played against all types of different paces. This is another team that's just a little more uptempo, and we got to be able to handle it.

Q. Nigel, last night Oregon had 36 points in the paint. It's been a bone of contention for you guys this season. Just talk about defending the paint against the Ducks.

Nigel Hayes: They're a team that likes to drive the lane. They have big guys down there as well. We have to not let them establish post presence. Once it happens, it forces the guards to help. That will put us in a quandary with them trying to help down and kick out and defending it. We have to make sure we guard that pretty well.

Q. Traevon, I was wondering, how much of a challenge is it going to be to get the ball inside to your big guys with Oregon's lane and speed? Is that going to be one of the challenges?

Traevon Jackson: Yeah, I think everybody does a pretty good job of pressuring the ball and getting the ball into the post. That's something we have to stress is just doing what we want to do regardless of how they play, and we got to make adjustments throughout the game, and, you know, whatever is to our benefit we have to do.

Q. Sam, when you face a team that doesn't have another seven-footer or 6-11 guy, got a guy like Frank, how much do you encourage him to go down in the post or how much is related to what your game plan is for that game?

SAM DEKKER: We like going to Frank, obviously. He's first team all Big Ten performer, so you want to get your best players touches. Frank is another guy we're comfortable going to, no matter who is on court, whether it's seven-footer or, you know, tallest guy is 6-5. Doesn't matter. We want to go to Frank a lot of times. When he's playing well inside and scoring buckets and finding open guys, just opens up the court for our prolific outside shooters that we have.

So a lot of times when we see Frank inside, I think he does some things that some other guys can't do. When he gets going, we're a much better team.

Q. Sam, are you familiar with Elgin Cook from AAU days, anything like that?

SAM DEKKER: Yeah. I've seen him play a lot of times, growing up 45 minutes from each other. We were in a lot of the same gyms growing up, AAU stuff and travel teams. I always loved watching him play because he's so athletic and such a good player in the city of Milwaukee, really respected in our state. So, I don't really know him on a personal level, but I've seen him play multiple times and he's a guy I enjoyed seeing play.

Q. Nigel, Sam, and Traevon, can you kind of take yourselves away from what you're concentrating on the Oregon game, that sort of thing, and just watch the tournament as fans, do you enjoy those upsets that happened like particularly today Mercer and Duke and the ones yesterday?

NIGEL HAYES: I personally fear upsets because of us being a 2 seed (laughter). That's something I don't want to think about too much. As far as that goes, we have to make sure we come out every game and take care of business.

SAM DEKKER: We were talking last night. It was the North Dakota State game, and we know some guys at North Dakota State and watching that game. We were saying, you know, lot of these games during the season, there's no way these would all go to overtime. We said no way these all go down to the last possession, but it's just what happens in March. The teams don't want to go down, they don't want to lose. And everything just gets turned up to another level, and teams fight to the end, and they're always going to be close games. Always going to be games when you're wondering what's going on. Once you get on the court, you throw the seeds aside.

TRAEVON JACKSON: The seeds really go after everyone. The talent is so spread out from high Division I to low Division I. It doesn't matter. So many guys are talented. You see any team can be beat on any given night. And regardless of who is a better team throughout the season, it's who is better on that night. That's the focus that we have to -- we've been trying to develop as a team, and you have to come with that up right now in this tournament.

Q. For any of you guys, during the season a good deal was made about Wisconsin getting a high enough seed to end up in Milwaukee. First part, was that a goal to end up here? And secondly, once you've gotten here, is there truly a home court advantage of playing in Milwaukee, or does it really not make a difference at this point?

TRAEVON JACKSON: I think that, you know, our goal was, you know, to be as best as we can be, and we came up little bit short. But I think with our body of work during the season, we're pretty satisfied with being in Milwaukee. And it's good to have our fans here, to be somewhat close to home. But, you know, still at the end of the day, we're still on the road.

We want to treat it as a road game, just because we don't like being too comfortable in terms of thinking that all our fans are here so it's going to be easier. It's not going to be easier at all. You know, we still got to play basketball. You know, the court is still there. The fans don't shoot the ball, we do. We're the ones who shoot and pass and dribble. We still got to handle business on the court.

Q. This is for any of the three of you or all three of you. After your game was over yesterday, did you spend a lot of time, did you come out and watch Oregon? Did you get a personal scouting report, or do you just rely on seeing what you see on film and in the scouting report?

SAM DEKKER: No. We didn't go back up and watch. We want to get back to the hotel, just relax. I watched some of the game right after that, but I didn't look too much into things last night. I just wanted to relax and enjoy the games.

This morning it goes into full effect, scout mode and worrying about the Ducks. Yesterday I didn't think about it too much right after the game, just wanted to relax a little bit. Just play the game, mentally and physically worn down. Today is fully go time.

BadgerNation.com Recommended Stories

Up Next

Although he continues to refine and improve his shooting and scoring, the leadership, court vision…