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March 10, 2007

Marcus Landry

Bo Ryan

Kammron Taylor

Alando Tucker


COACH BO RYAN: Well, I know these guys need to get back and get some rest because these have been two pretty tough physical games. I'll keep my remarks short and say I'm happy we're playing in the championship game. This is good stuff, being able to play the No. 1 team in the country and getting a chance to get back on the floor. We're definitely excited about that.

Q. At the under 16 time-out in the second half, Alando sat down for rest and the rest of you guys scored seven straight with him on the bench, I think 10 of the next 12 overall. How important are stretches like that for you guys as a team when you can produce when he's not on the floor?
KAMMRON TAYLOR: I think it's very important. It gives the other guys on the team confidence in themselves. When your best player is -- well, he wasn't struggling, he just needed a break. He needed a rest. It was just good to see that we had other guys step up and make plays for the team with our best player on the bench.

Q. Alando, can you talk about the job you guys did offensively, Warren Carter 14 points but other than that no one else scored in double figures?
ALANDO TUCKER: Well, they're a team that likes to work it in. As a team they've been working it in more and not shooting threes. We knew if we contained Shaun Pruitt for most of the game that we would force them to find other ways to score. That was our plan coming in. That was a great team defensive effort. That's what we have to keep looking forward to going down the stretch.

Q. Alando, you've now scored more points than any person to ever wear a Wisconsin uniform. Can you just talk about that? And also, doing it in this season with all the success you guys have had?
ALANDO TUCKER: That's a great feat, a great accomplishment. It's one of those things that the team has been so successful this year. It's one of those things that it's helped me out, confidence-wise, the way everybody has been playing. Our coaching staff keeps us on it, and it's been one of those things where it happened unselfishly, and that's what -- in the manner we've been doing it, we've been winning. It always feels good when you're successful, and everything else comes. It seems like everything is falling in place. It's great. It's great for the whole team.

Q. Alando, can you talk about looking forward, if you are, to the rubber match with Ohio State tomorrow? I'm sure there's so much on the line.
ALANDO TUCKER: You have to look forward to it. As a player, a competitor, you look forward to playing the best teams, and they're one of the better teams in the nation. This is the third time we'll see them, and it's going to be a tough game. There were two tough battles, one in Wisconsin and one in Ohio. It's going to be a tough game. We're definitely looking forward to it. It's the Big Ten championship game. I know the atmosphere is going to be tough. We're prepared, though.

Q. Marcus, in the first game Shaun Pruitt was the guy that gave you guys a lot of trouble. Just can you talk about the strategy against him today?
MARCUS LANDRY: Well, one of our biggest strategies was sticking to our rules and trying to maintain him and get around him and in front of him, and it worked out in our favor today.

Q. Can you talk about the defensive effort and all the little things you guys do, whether it's patience or what have you, to be successful?
KAMMRON TAYLOR: I just think we work well together as a team. We have a lot of good defenders on this team, and I just think we do a good job of moving our feet. And at times when we're not moving our feet, that's when we get ourselves in trouble. But for the most part, I think we do a pretty good job of working as a whole.

Q. For any of you guys, do you think regardless of what happens tomorrow you've done enough to earn a No. 1 seed?
ALANDO TUCKER: We're not really saying that we want a No. 1 seed right now. A lot of teams get hurt doing that. Our focus is to win this game tomorrow, and everything else will play itself out once we take care of business.
We're not going out there and saying, okay, we're not going to lose this game, and if we do lose it we've put ourselves in the position. We're going out there with the idea that we're going to win this game, and that's the way we approach every game. We can't get caught up in worrying about seeds because then we'll lose focus on the task at hand.

Q. You talked about after the Ohio State game that it kind of hurt how that game ended. For you are you looking forward tomorrow to having another crack at Ohio State?
KAMMRON TAYLOR: (Laughing) I'm just happy to be in the championship game. It is an added bonus that we get a chance to go against Ohio State again, but I can't get caught up in stuff like that.

Q. Kammron, you had ten points in a four-minute stretch during the second half. Why offensively did things suddenly start to come together?
KAMMRON TAYLOR: I was just making better decisions with the ball. I wasn't trying to force things like I was in the first half and, you know, when shots are going down, everything looks good. And when they're not, you know, that's when things look bad. So I just tried to make a conscious effort at making better decisions.

Q. Alando, when you speak to the public, the media, you sound so much like a coach. Where does that come from; just your leadership abilities?
ALANDO TUCKER: This guy on the far left of us. I've been around him for five years (laughter). I can't do anything but learn from him. I knew leaving here I'd have to pick up something (laughter).
COACH BO RYAN: I hope you picked up more than that (laughter).

Q. For Marcus and Kammron, if you could describe what it's like to play with not only a player with the special gifts of Alando Tucker all around but also the special person he is, too?
MARCUS LANDRY: Well, he's a wonderful person. I have the chance to be his roommate and things like that so I see a lot of things that he does off the court that maybe some other people don't see. He's a very talented person and very caring. We hang out together and he's always making me laugh. Sometimes I get down and miss my family and things like that, but Tuck is always there. He's like a big brother. Just being around him and picking up some of the things he does, he's a very great leader, and I'm just ready to follow in his footsteps and get things done.
THE MODERATOR: We'll finish up with questions for Coach Ryan, please.

Q. Kind of what I asked Kammron and Marcus before about that second half when Alando was on the bench and you guys wound up stretching out your lead at that point. Can you put a level of importance on that? How important are those kind of stretches when Alando is not on the floor and the other guys are producing?
COACH BO RYAN: All teams go through that when you have somebody that puts up consistent numbers, and then you can maintain a lead or even gain in the lead. That obviously says a lot about the team and gives them some confidence so that if something happens where Alando goes down, has to come out, gets in foul trouble, whatever, then guys always feel they can still play.
Just like guys are trying to pick up for Brian Butch now. So it's basically the same thing. Just because somebody goes to the bench -- a lot of times it's mostly just for a rest, and to get refocused and be ready to go.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your post defense and particularly the job you guys did to get through it this time?
COACH BO RYAN: Well, guys moved their feet, between Jason, Marcus and Greg. I thought they did a pretty good job. There are still times where maybe on a catch we could have worked our feet just a little bit better. I mean, we know tomorrow night or tomorrow in the afternoon we're playing another guy that's got a pretty good post presence. So we'll just go back and try to do the same things tomorrow and keep working at it.
But it's good whenever you have guys that are willing to commit to the work ethic that it takes to guard the post against good post players. Pruitt is a better player and has become a better player through I'm sure the coaching of Bruce's staff and himself and the work ethic that Bruce has. So you'd better be ready to keep him under control because he's been doing some really good things because Illinois has played really well and Pruitt has been probably the biggest reason for that.

Q. What does it feel like for you for Alando to break the school's scoring record, your player, the type of person he is and the win?
COACH BO RYAN: I think it's really neat. I didn't even know. I haven't checked numbers. Nobody told me any numbers. I don't read the numbers. I'm happy for him. You know, I know what he's happy about. He's happy to be on the left-hand side (the win column).
Like in the summer when I'm riding the waves at Sea Isle City on the Jersey Shore, right away, I'll come up for air, and I'll say, "boy, isn't that Tucker something, he broke the scoring record?" That's usually when things dawn on me, in the summer when I'm relaxed.
But those kind of numbers I don't look at. But I'm happy for him.

Q. What was the critical decisive segment today?
COACH BO RYAN: In a game like this I don't know if you can say there is. But just us getting some good looks and taking advantage of them, getting to the free-throw line finally. We did not shoot a free throw in the first half because we didn't attack the rim as much as I'd like to see, and we did a better job of that in the second half.
There weren't a lot of free-throw shots, but that's because both teams were protecting the rim. There weren't a lot of opportunities to get to the rim to get fouled. That was a good, physical game.

Q. From your perspective when you watch your kids not only pull for one another on the bench or make the right pass, be patient, play that kind of defense, play in your team concept, from your perspective and your staff, is that something that's satisfying in terms of the approach they're playing in the game?
COACH BO RYAN: What else would you do? I only know one way, so -- it's what you're willing to accept in life, and as coaches, we're willing to accept only certain things.
So players learn that in a hurry and then they try to give it to us. I don't think it's the other way around. "Hey, Coach, if I come to Wisconsin, can I have 25 shots, can I shoot from the perimeter, can I do this, can I do that?" We've probably lost some recruits because of that, because I say no.

Q. I know you talked a little bit about your post defense, but a day after holding Neitzel to 3-of-13 shooting you really shut down Illinois' guards. Can you just talk about your guard defense?
COACH BO RYAN: Our guys just work at it. The fact that Neitzel went 3 for 13, as I looked at the film this morning -- I've got to learn to say DVD. When I looked at the DVD (laughter) this morning, he had some looks. Sometimes a player as good as Neitzel, he's going to go on some streaks. We just happened to catch one of those streaks where he wasn't hitting, but Mike Flowers and Trevon Hughes chased him pretty hard and worked him hard. Same thing with McBride, but once McBride got open a couple times you see how good a shooter he is. So we missed a couple assignments there, but I thought overall our guys did a great job on trying to prevent the three-point shooters from getting comfortable.

Q. I know you don't get caught up a lot of times in the hype and hoopla that a lot of media puts on games like tomorrow, but when you think about it you've played two games against this team that have been decided by a combined total of four points. Is this the kind of game with the preparation and the experience of playing in it that can help each of these teams as they go into the NCAA tournament to play tough regional games, regional finals if it comes to that?
COACH BO RYAN: I'm hoping you're right, but other people say, gosh, teams that get into those kind of battles at the end of the year, they wear themselves out. So I'm hoping what you said. I'm agreeing with you. What you said sounds good to me. I get excited about these kind of games tomorrow. What would make you think I don't get excited?

Q. Tucker didn't want to talk about being the No. 1 seed. Has your team done enough to be a No. 1 seed in your mind do you think or do you need to win tomorrow?
COACH BO RYAN: I wouldn't have any idea. I don't know the final determining factors of any of that. All I know is, as Tuck said, Tuck said what he said for a reason. He firmly believes that because he's been around me long enough. We're going to play tomorrow and we're going to try to get that done. So it's two good Big Ten teams going toe to toe and we'll see what happens. And whatever they do after that, we'll be watching. We'll be there and we'll be excited, one way or the other.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thanks for your time.

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