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March 11, 2007

Bo Ryan

Kammron Taylor

Alando Tucker


THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Coach Ryan, please.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about Ohio State's defense and where they were most effective, how they limited you?
COACH BO RYAN: In the first half we just didn't get the ball. We were a half step behind, a half click behind on pass and catch. We had 12 turnovers, that's 12 shots you don't get. That's opportunities where the ball can never go in, where you can't get an offensive rebound. That's way too many. You end up paying for it eventually, even though we fought back. We got back right in the second half.
On the boards, a lot of hustle things we did okay on. On the glass, just on the shooting, that's why I took Alando (Tucker) out of the game at the end. Everything was really flat. At that point just get him some rest. He works so hard all the time. Three straight games like that is pretty tough on a guy that does all the things that he does.

Q. Was this as tough a defensive team as you have played all season, or was Ohio State as tough defensively tonight?
COACH BO RYAN: Yeah, they always have been. There are certain things that they can do, knowing that (Greg) Oden is back there taking care of the rest. But Oden, he still moves pretty well for a big, so it's not like he just waits in the paint for people to come. But you notice how tough it was getting the easy ones. Even when we thought we had one when (Joe) Krabbenhoft got that ball and put it up. Most people thought it was a goal tend. I can never tell until I took at a tape.
Oden got that one. The thing about Greg is he can play real well defensively on the floor. He doesn't have to spend his time up in the air, and (Mike) Conley is so good with the ball on the floor because most of the game of basketball is played on the floor. They played the floor game better than we did.

Q. What would you say the turning point of the game was, maybe that three-pointer with the shot clock going down that Butler hit there?
COACH BO RYAN: Well, you can't say that. I mean, obviously it's a tough one. Michigan State hit one like that in the first half, too, when we played at Michigan State. We ended up losing that game. Do you say that's the turning point? I don't think so. It was a culmination of 40 minutes of them making more plays and making a few more shots than we did.
If you're playing behind like that, it's very difficult to get to the free-throw line, and that's a game that we usually like to play. But when you're playing from behind, you don't usually get that many opportunities.

Q. Alando, Bo was talking a little bit about Ohio State's defense. Can you talk a little bit about what it was like out there going up against those guys on the defensive end, when you guys had the ball going against Ohio State's defense?
ALANDO TUCKER: It was one of those things. Early we didn't get a rhythm. We didn't establish a rhythm. A couple turnovers. On the first ten possessions we had like six or seven turnovers, and it's hard to establish a rhythm. That's usually one of the things we're good at, establishing that rhythm.
They were tough defensively. They were throwing different match-ups, different zones, identifying with guys pretty well. It was tough. They played tough. Like Coach said, they have Oden in the back, so the guards are able to push up a little more on our guards.

Q. They needed a last-second shot to beat you guys at their place the last week of the season. I'm just wondering from what you've seen of them this weekend if they look any different or if they look like they're playing any differently than they were a couple weeks ago?
COACH BO RYAN: It's tough to answer that because you don't have your two days to prepare or three days. You do your thing, it's not -- I can't really say. I thought they played pretty well. I thought their energy was there and they were doing some things. Except for that one spurt, it looked like they caught a little bit of a lull and we caught fire some. But when you don't have those couple days to prepare and get into things, it's a little different then.
And I think what happened was the quickness of Conley with the ball and Oden being such a presence inside, there's two pretty big factors of why things turned out the way they did.

Q. Can you tell us what Steimsma and Bohannon gave you today?
COACH BO RYAN: Well, we went out there and played tough. Jason struggled with a couple decisions in the first half, but he's a guy that can score, he's a guy that can create scoring for other people. Steimsma is a guy that likes to compete. There were times where he felt he got a bad shake and he's got to learn to play through that and be stoic and tough and just keep playing.
He got his dandruff up a little bit there and was pretty active, and those are the things that he can do maybe if given a chance.
It's tough sometimes for big guys. You know, everything they do doesn't look as fluid maybe as some other guys. I'm sure some of the looks on Oden's face when he was called for fouls and when Greg was called, it looked like a surprise, but you have to just kind of play through that, and Greg did a good job. He was active. I like the fact that he came to mix it up a little bit.

Q. Do you feel that Wisconsin is still deserving of a No. 1 seed, and is this perhaps the best two teams the Big Ten have ever sent to the NCAA?
COACH BO RYAN: Well, I'm sure Tuck will tell you the same thing we've been saying about seeds, but go ahead.
ALANDO TUCKER: That's not on our mind. We're not focused about that. Right now we're glad that we're going to be playing, and that's the main thing. We're glad that we have another game to make up for tonight, so we're just going to see where they put us. Wherever they put us, we have to be prepared to face our next opponent.
Q. And Bo, are these the two top teams?
COACH BO RYAN: Well, you take the regular season, who were the two top teams? Who were the two teams that survived the Big Ten Tournament to get to the finals? I'll let you guys say who the two best teams were.

Q. No, I'm talking about all the years you've been associated with the Big Ten, those two tops, can you remember a better tandem, top tandem, that's going into the tournament?
COACH BO RYAN: I'm trying to remember who we played last week (laughter), and you're going to have me think of two top tens? I can't think of that right now. I really can't give you a well thought out answer, that's for sure.

Q. For Kam and Alando, six free throw attempts, against Ohio State where you struggled to get to the line, what are they doing defensively that's not allowing you to get those free throws?
ALANDO TUCKER: It was one of those things that Coach mentioned earlier, for most of the game we were trying to play from behind, so it was kind of hard on a lot of the looks. We were taking a lot of jump shots for the most part because that's what was available. That's what was open at the time. We were still trying to work on establishing an inside presence, but it's one of those things. It's tough playing a team like that from behind.
Q. If Ohio State was able to play at a faster pace than they were able to play in the previous two games against you guys and how much you think that might have helped them today that they were able to play faster.
KAMMRON TAYLOR: Well, they have a lot of athletes on that team and they like to get up and down. I think the first two times that we played them we kind of controlled that, and we let it get away from us. Today we allowed them to get out and get on a break and it caught up with us.
COACH BO RYAN: It was the turnovers that gave them more possessions. If you're turning the ball over the way we were, they're going to get more possessions and quicker possessions because that just leads to something at the other end.
Once we played five on five, I thought our half court defense was pretty good for the most part. It was a lot of some bad decisions.

Q. Just from this weekend, what do you think you guys gained from this that you can take into the tournament?
KAMMRON TAYLOR: Well, I think besides the game today, I think we did a pretty good job defensively, and we did a better job in our first two games of just taking care of the ball. When we do a good job of taking care of the ball, we put ourselves in good positions to win the game.
Besides the game today, I feel overall our decision-making got a lot better. But it got away from us today.
COACH BO RYAN: That's pretty much stating the obvious. You can't give teams those opportunities. I mean, all the energy it took for us to get back there those couple times, how many times can you do that? How many times can you dig? The best thing to do is to not get into that hole. We had the lead at our place, and then at their place we stayed within striking distance or had a slight lead. You keep beating a dead horse, though. It's take care of the ball, you don't put yourself in that position. Pretty simple.

Q. Going along with the pace of the game question, can you talk about the night Conley had, 18 points, 10 assists. How big was he in setting the tone for Ohio State?
KAMMRON TAYLOR: Well, he's the key to the team. He runs the show. He did a great job of doing that tonight.
THE MODERATOR: We'll finish up with any remaining questions for Coach Ryan.

Q. You've mentioned the turnovers a few times and decision-making. Was that the root of most of the turnovers or was there something else, too, maybe the way they were playing or some other things?
COACH BO RYAN: Well, I always thought that if I made a bad pass, I didn't make a good decision because I always take ownership. You'd have to ask the players if it was just a bad decision.

Q. What's the chance of Butch joining you all in the tournament?
COACH BO RYAN: I don't know. He's rehabbing, though. They worked him down here. So we'll see.

Q. You can't say 50/50 or anything?
COACH BO RYAN: I can't. I think it's illegal for me to say that.

Q. Are you serious?
COACH BO RYAN: Yeah. We just had a videotape on wagering that all the players and everybody had to see and sign the form, and you're getting me into this 50/50 stuff. We're hoping. We're hoping that something good can happen.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Bo.

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