Ryan Addresses the Media

Bo Ryan (Siker/14)

Preparing his team to take on the up-tempo style and talent of Oregon, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan addresses the media on Friday before his team's Saturday NCAA tournament game.

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Opening Statement

COACH Bo Ryan: Well, just did a radio interview and I threw out the question of, has anybody ever faced two more opposite teams in back-to-back games in the NCAA Tournament?

So, first thing I threw out is a hint, was who did Princeton and Georgetown -- who did Georgetown play after they played Princeton? Anybody know? Anybody look it up already?

Somebody went -- it was no Notre Dame, but it wasn't a Notre Dame. It was Kelly Tripucka was back there. Wasn't Notre Dame that really ran up and down. I think our team might be the biggest contrast in preparation. I'll just throw it out there until somebody finds two other teams in back-to-back games (laughter). That's my opening statement.

We have to face a team that gets it up and down, they can score in half court, they can score in full court. They put a lot of pressure on you. Very athletic. Dana has done a heck of a job with them. That's our task.

Q. Bo, a little bit off topic. I was just wondering if you were able to enjoy the reaction to that game last night?

COACH BO RYAN: Those are bison horns, so people know. I had to answer that question. Some of my guys. Yeah, I texted, talked with my son, Will, who is one of the assistants for North Dakota State and Saul Phillips, who played for me at Platteville, for those who don't know, and who coached with me at Milwaukee and Madison.

My wife was just -- she was the one that gets really nervous watching the game. I could just tell I was watching Oregon and Arizona on my DVD player and listening to my wife's comments, and I could tell what was happening with the North Dakota State game. Yeah, we were pretty excited.

Q. Bo, do you get a chance, because you played your early game yesterday, to actually watch a little bit of Oregon? Or do you have obligations and you just stick to your film watching?

COACH BO RYAN: Oh, no, we have an assistant that's watched 20-some of their games and I've watched about seven. Watched some more tonight, watch some tomorrow. We're always looking for something. But, you know, you're not going to change much at this time of the year. It's points of emphasis, bullet points that you make when you're talking to the players.

We just finished a practice where we went over, you know, their tendencies and more importantly things that we need to do, things that we have more control over.

Q. Coach, you mentioned watching the Arizona game. Are there other games of theirs that you feel like stylistically will help you prepare, the same token, the way they get up and down, is there somebody you faced this year that you can fall back on in preparation a little bit?

COACH BO RYAN: Each Coach is different and each personality of the teams are different. You can see some tendencies of maybe certain teams. Illinois played them earlier in the year in December. Saw that game. UCLA, Oregon State, Washington. Just saw a lot of those. And, you know, they have a way they want to play.

And if they can do that, especially the way they started out, they were kind of like us, a hot start, maybe a rough spot, and you catch fire a little bit. Just seems the way college basketball is nowadays, other than maybe a very small minority of teams. So, yeah, we get a little bit of info from every game.

Q. Bo, with you now being one of the godfathers of college basketball, 700 wins and all that, you've got a coaching tree out there now with Rob Jeter and Saul and those guys, how much pleasure do you take this time of the year when you see guys have success with that?

COACH BO RYAN: How did you know I got into the olive oil business? (Laughter). I don't explain them. You know what, it's nice to have lasted this long. It's hard in this profession. I don't know if anybody told the media, but winning is hard, surviving is hard, but it's a labor of love. It's what you choose to do. And as I said before in a question that was asked about getting in the profession, mine was as a teacher first and I was hired as a teacher and given the basketball job at a junior high school.

So I'm really happy where I am in this profession, because it's still all about teaching and coaching. And to have guys that either played for you, coached with you, worked with you, worked at your camps, did this or that, to see them out in the profession now doing things, that's pretty neat. That's really fun to see.

Q. Since the beginning when you started going to the tournament and you played these Thursday, Saturday games and Sunday games, has your approach changed at all in terms of what you learned over the years and how to prepare the team? Do the legs get tired after a game like yesterday, or have you changed anything over the years?

COACH BO RYAN: Just think back to when you have three practices to prepare for a team. You usually get three maximum for 90 percent of the season. So, we have a number of possessions that we use the day before a game. So what we did today was the number of possessions that we do the day before the game is less than what it is two, three days before the game. But you still get some shooting in, you still do that.

And also we don't stand around a lot, but there's more stoppages in play to make a point about the other team, this is what they're going to do in this situation, this is their out of bounds, this is their full court pressure, this is what they do on free throws.

So, it's not as much on the legs on a day like today. People talk about walkthroughs. Never had a walkthrough in 42 years because you don't walkthrough. Every time you run a possession, you never go half speed. That's when people get hurt. That's when things, you know, the guys start to not pay attention as much.

So, we always do everything at game speed. It's just we stop the action and then go back and everything is done as quickly and as game speed like as we can.

Q. Coach, can you talk about your familiarity with Elgin Cook and him being a Milwaukee native and seeing him play in his youth and now at Oregon?

COACH BO RYAN: I'm happy for a young man that can go the route he did, be able to compete, work towards a college degree on this level. Every player from Milwaukee, Wausau, Madison, anybody from the state that gets a chance to go on and further their education, I'm all for them. He's another example of that.

Q. Bo, if we get back to Saul Phillips for a second. When he played and worked for you, was there something about his basketball IQ or work ethic that made you think he might eventually be a pretty good head coach.

COACH BO RYAN: When I saw him play in high school at Reedsburg, which ended up being a hot bed for us at Platteville and then at Madison, it was UWM, Clayton Hanson asked out of his scholarship at UWM when I took the job at Wisconsin, but when I saw him in Reedsburg, always hustled, good leader, and I understand recently he told the story of because I always said he was one injury away from being a starting point guard on an undefeated game of 31-0 in 1995. He says it's more like the whole bus having an accident away from being the point guard, but I try to humor him as much as I can.

He told the story, I guess, about -- we were playing somewhere. Must have had a lot of his family there, whatever, they started chanting, "We want Saul, we want Saul."

So "Saul, come here."

Saul starts taking off his warmups. He comes running over.

"Saul, you see those people up there who are yelling? Go up there and see what they want (laughter).

So he did. Saul, his wit doesn't compare. I don't know if anybody's wit compares to his. He enjoys doing what he's doing. He always tells people, "Hey, I could be running my dad's hardware store now. Look, I'm doing this. This is a lot of fun."

You've heard all those. He was always a hard worker, smart, great personality. I'm glad my son is with him. My son is learning a lot with him.

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