Badgers Begin Baylor Prep

Bo Ryan (USA Today Sports)

Advancing in the NCAA tournament after defeating Oregon in Milwaukee on Saturday, second-seeded Wisconsin prepares for sixth-seeded Baylor in Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan addressed the media on Monday.

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Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan Transcript

Q. Coach, you mentioned that there was quite a difference in play between American and Oregon. Do you see any similarities between Oregon and Baylor?

COACH RYAN: Well, depending on what uniforms Baylor is going to have on. I told Nigel I forgot the sunglasses. He looked at me and said, what are you talking about, Coach? I said, I had a box of sunglasses we were going to wear for the game in case they had those highlights uniforms. He got it. He chuckled.

You know, when I said there's a difference of play, it was a difference of how much time was going to be used on the clock, how many fast break points that one team would try to get. So the difference in style was pretty obvious of the two we played.

Now to go from one week to the next, there's some similarities. But I'll tell you what Baylor can do. Baylor can work the shot clock too. They can hold the ball. Not hold the ball, because we don't hold the ball. We make people guard, and they make people guard. So they can play it either way, just like us.

Q. Coach, how do you approach a game like this against the Baylor Bears, a team you guys have never faced before, especially now in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16?

COACH RYAN: Well, there's only so many things you can do with five guys on the court. So the game's not going to change. You play in tournaments during the year. Over the holidays, you usually have one. Sometimes you have one early in the year. So you're going to face opponents that you haven't played or haven't seen that much.

But between the assistant that has the scout, Coach Gard and myself, we've probably seen 15 to 20 games already that Baylor's played. So the screen doesn't lie when it comes to the actions on the court. So we see their tendencies. We see what they're doing. We know their strengths. They don't have a whole lot of weakness.

But that's how we prepare. We prepare of off of what we see from teams that aren't in our conference that we don't see face to face, we see it on DVDs. So that's what we go from.

Q. I don't know what games of Baylor you've watched. When you look at them from January to mid-March, how different do they look in terms of how they're playing?

COACH RYAN: Sometimes the ball is going in a little bet better. Sometimes they have more rhythm. If you get out of rhythm a little bit, depends on who you're playing at that time, if the other team is hot.

But having the family over, I said this earlier today. Having the family over yesterday and watched what they did to Creighton. Unfortunately, I walked past my wife as she was talking to her sister, and I heard her say she was packing lightly. That was one bad sign.

The second bad sign was my brother-in-law and son-in-law, I overheard them talking, and I said, hey, what's up? And they said, oh, no, bad, Bo. We just found out that our frequent flyer miles aren't available until Friday. So the family was working against me after watching that game. You don't beat Creighton by 30, but it happened. You know, it's -- that's a pretty formidable foe. But every team that's in it now has done some things during the year. They played well towards the end of the year. We think we have. So it's two teams that get a chance.

Should I explain that about the frequent flier miles?

Q. No, that was excellent. Talk about their zone defense. Is it a 1-3-1, a 1-1-3, a 3-2, or all of the above?

COACH RYAN: I was waiting for you to throw a 1-3-2 in there. Yeah, it's basically a 1-3-1, but then they have their reads off of it and their kicks. One guy bumps another guy, depending on if you're overloading or using, you know, short corners more than high-lows. We're going to try to move the defense around, try to be patient enough to find a weak spot.

There weren't too many weak spots last night, that's for sure. But we have to probe. And who knows? They might play us man to man for 40 minutes. So you've got to prepare for both.

Q. I was also going to ask about you getting ready to attack the zone. Were you pleased with the way you guys practiced today?

COACH RYAN: Well, we got some shots. We usually go 35 possessions, and we got about 50 points, so that's a pretty good sign. But that's against -- you know, that's not against what Baylor does. You can never totally simulate what the other team does.

But we got some good looks. We have an idea of what we wanted to do -- or what we want to do, and I'm sure Creighton and Nebraska and other teams did too. It's just whether or not you can do it better than the way they're going to defend it.

Q. You've taken two different teams in recent years to the Sweet 16, each team being a little bit different. What's made this journey with this team unique or special to you about getting to the Sweet 16 where you are right now?

COACH RYAN: Well, because we're in the moment. This is their team. This is their time line. This is -- you know, as much as I hate to disappoint you guys, they don't want to hear about the other teams.

Right now, what our guys are doing is trying to live in the moment. They respect the past, but this is their time. So they're trying to get ready for the experience. They're living in the precious present.

So I'm not going to compare them to any other team or any other -- that's not what it's about. It's about their time right now. Let's see what they can do with it. I'm just thankful they're taking me with them. I get to go.

Q. Are you packing lightly or heavily?

COACH RYAN: Well, at first I thought she was referring to the fact because she doesn't need as many winter clothes out there, but I have a feeling that's not what she meant. She was increased with Creighton -- with Baylor playing over Creighton. Who wouldn't be?

Q. On probing the zone, I didn't see a lot of shot fakes by Creighton. Is that going to be big, especially on a guy who likes to block?

COACH RYAN: I have a theory you can only coach one team, so I can't say what Creighton did or didn't do. We always have a method. Our method is deception, if you can, subtle deception, ball fakes, shot fakes. Every team that I've ever seen that's been successful uses them. So we've got to use them.

Q. Bo, how much did you like the energy that Sam brought last game out? Especially at the beginning of each half, and then overall, if you could evaluate the first couple games of the tournament here.

COACH RYAN: Sam's been fine. You know, if somebody has energy early, do they have energy the rest of the time? I'm always looking for guys who are consistent, so he's trying to work on that. He's been trying to work on that. Defensively, he's got things he's got to improve on still, as the rest of the guys do.

You know, he's done okay, but he can always do better. If you ask me about any of them, I'd tell you the same thing. They can always be better.

Q. Bo, just wanted to ask you about coming off a victory like Saturday night, a game that some Badger fans are calling the best they've ever seen or been a part of. I'm just curious from your standpoint, do you carry over some energy, some momentum from something like that? Can that have a residual effect for a few days, or do you more so try and say that one's over, move forward?

COACH RYAN: That's like having three cups of coffee in five minutes and then -- you know, what are you going to do a couple of hours later as the caffeine wears off? So the excitement is great. The positive feel that you get from being on the left-hand side, all that -- all these guys -- every player has experienced that as they've been growing up. This is obviously at what people consider to be a higher level simply because it gets more attention.

So it's heightened, the euphoria, and then, oh, if they watch that game last night, you think they were as bouncy and as excited -- well, maybe they were. Maybe we got some guys that are like, hey, that's going to be a tough team to beat. We've got to get ready for them. Boy, it will be good if we can get that done. I'm hoping that's how they looked at it.

Q. Bo, in your experience, why do some guys who are good free-throw shooters shoot even better in the last couple minutes of a game when the game is on the line? When their shooting percentage is higher than it normally is during the year.

COACH RYAN: Remember, I don't dwell too much on the free throws, whether somebody's hitting them or somebody's not hitting them. And we've had guys not hit them over the years. So it's that person, their mind, they're up there, it's their thing. What are you going to do? It's a free throw. Should have been called a free shot, but they called it a free throw because, if you could have seen in 1891 -- this is what I've heard.

When Naismith first rolled that soccer ball out there, they weren't shooting the ball. They were throwing the ball at the peach basket. That's true. You don't think there was anybody getting rotation on those shots back then. There was absolutely none.

And then the women's head coach, as I told you several times, invented the fast break because she said to Dr. Naismith, why don't you take the bottom out of the peach basket and let the ball fall through. Fast break was born. I tell every mom of every recruit that, and they say, you're playing for that guy. So I get the moms to say yes.

Q. What was your shooting percentage that year?

COACH RYAN: In '91? That's what I heard, I said. It was on the grapevine. I can't remember if the version was Marvin Gaye's or Gladys Knight and the Pips when I heard it through the grapevine, but I did hear it through the grapevine.

Q. When you look at some of the teams that will advance in this tournament and some of the high seed, some are really good defensive teams. The high seeds, Virginia, Florida, Arizona, and some of the other good defensive teams -- Tennessee, Michigan State. It seems like defense has made a little bit of a comeback here in the tournament. Would you agree with that? Or just a one-year deal? Do you see the game going in that direction?

COACH RYAN: Then why do they keep advertising scoring is up?

Q. Scoring is up.

COACH RYAN: How much?

Q. Two or three points.

COACH RYAN: It's because the entertainment faction of our game, the idea was let's get the younger audience, the younger viewers, let's get this game souped up so that we're scoring more points so we can get the youngsters -- because of the speed games that all of the kids are playing and all that. So therefore, they thought, okay, how can we do that and not hurt the purity of the game? Well, block charges. Give them more free throws. Score with the clock stopped. So that was the whole idea of the -- not rule changes, the emphasis on certain rules.

But still defense is going to give you a chance every night because you're always not going to shoot the same percentage. But your effort on defense can be something that's there every night. If you're working hard at defense and you're reading and reacting to one another, the five guys on the court, that's energy, that's discipline, that's -- I mean, you can be the most disciplined person in the world, and you can be hyped up to the max, but it doesn't mean you're going to make more shots. It could mean that you're going to miss more. So defense can be consistent as long as the effort's there. Offense, you can put all the effort in the world in, and sometimes the ball doesn't go in. But defensive teams do survive, percentage-wise.

Q. You have a couple of players who have played in the Sweet 16 before and been through this experience. What do you hope that they're passing on to their teammates or reinforcing the message from you about what the similarity or the difference is at this stage?

COACH RYAN: You just did it. You played two games in three days. So now you get to go do it again. So for them to pass on, we've got to take care of this next 40 minutes. That's all that we're concerned about right now. So it was the same for the two games that we just played.

So they've already passed on what they were going to pass on before we went to Milwaukee. Now it's just a different city.

Think we can get 95 percent of the audience out in Anaheim? You don't think so, huh? I spoke to the alumni group out there years ago. There's quite a few. There are quite a few.

My fee is I got to play L.A. Country Club, Riviera, Bell -- what's that other course? Bel Air. I think it's Bel Air. That's a pretty nice course. I can see they're interested in that.

We're going to Disneyland. Am I allowed to say that?

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