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March 20, 2008

Brian Butch

Joe Krabbenhoft

Bo Ryan


THE MODERATOR: The victorious Badgers of the Big Ten are with us now. We'll ask Bo Ryan to start off with a statement about the game and then we'll go to questions for just the student athletes.
COACH BO RYAN: I thought our guys responded well to a very hard-fought game, especially in the first half. And then we stayed true to our principles and started to get some space, but I'll tell you, they have unlimited range a couple of their guys and very scrappy on defense, very good with their feet.
I think Bob has done a heck of a job with that group. And I can see how they got here, that's for sure. But we're very proud of our guys that they hung in there and did some good things, got to the free throw line, took care of the ball a little better.
Even though we had a high number of turnovers a lot of that was by trying to make a good play into the post that got deflected, trying to get some high percentage shots. We did it a lot better in the second half, which we'll take. If we can get to the line we'll take that too.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.

Q. Joe, what's Bo's rule on stopping the fast break and controlling the tempo of the game, and just how much of that was an emphasis tonight?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: The rules that were taught at the beginning of the season, we started off with drills protecting the rim in transition was probably the first drill I remember as a Badger, coming here, my freshman year.
So they've stuck with it, stuck in my mind ever since. Protect the rim first. Hustle back, everybody else hustle back and find shooters, especially on this team tonight we really had to hustle back and get a hand in the face of Akognon and Robinson and guys like that because they can light it up from deep. It's a team effort. It's a collective rule and we all tried to stick to it.

Q. Brian, this team presented some challenges defensively, especially 3-point shooting. For the most part, until the very end, you guys really controlled that. Do you feel this team's really up to almost any defensive challenge at this point?
BRIAN BUTCH: We have to be, to answer that question. For us to win, we've got to face different teams. You've got to take the challenges when they come at us.
We know that Saturday is going to be a different challenge than tonight was.
Like I said yesterday, I think our nonconference schedule really set us up pretty well for that. It's really handled -- given us a chance to really I guess go up against different types of offenses.
So we've had experiences in all areas. So I think, in answer to that question, yeah, and part of the reason we're up to it is because we have to be.

Q. Brian, this is probably the smallest team you've faced in a long time. Just what did your size advantage tonight allow you to do especially on the inside and getting offensive rebounds?
BRIAN BUTCH: You know, they did a great job of boxing out. I think just because they're smaller that didn't mean a whole lot. We got some offensive rebounds because we were active. So I think that was the main thing. I think they did a pretty good job of boxing us out.
Like we said yesterday, it doesn't really matter how tall they are, kind of matters what they do with their body. They did a pretty good job of controlling us on the glass for a while.
We had to make some more plays. We got a lot of rebounds off of -- long rebounds, our guards did a great job of getting offensive rebounds for themselves.

Q. Brian, you were talking about the game on Saturday, this Saturday, and playing in the Big Ten and last season Greg Oden this and Saturday facing Michael Beasley, how much do you think that will help you having that experience playing a guy in the post like Oden and comparing Oden to Beasley?
BRIAN BUTCH: Well, yeah, we know that he's heck of an athlete, heck of a player, and so was Oden when he was here.
We've got some experience like that. We haven't seen any tape. We don't -- we just got done with the game so there's not much to do. Tomorrow we'll be able to give you a little bit better answer on that one. We're happy with the win today. To keep on moving in the NCAA tournament is our first goal of ours. Now we'll enjoy this for about 20 minutes and get ready, head back to the hotel, get some food and sleep and get some rest and wake up tomorrow morning thinking about Kansas State.

Q. Joe, could you talk about the game, Stiemsma had -- he didn't play a lot of minutes but seemed like he did a lot during that short period of time?
COACH BO RYAN: He's been doing that all year and especially the last two months I think it hit him that this is his senior year he wanted to step it up. He's been doing it all year, and he contributes in so many different ways. I thought he had a steal there at midcourt which would have been huge great effort, example of where his mind is at.
He's doing everything he can to help this team win. And I don't know what he's shooting from about 15 feet, but he can knock them down with the best of them, guards, big men, doesn't matter, he can really shoot that mid-range jumper.
So we're just glad to get any contribution from anybody. When a guy with his size and intimidation factor coming in, it's just great. He's helped a lot all year.

Q. Joe, 13 points tonight, did you see a need tonight when the team was struggling at times or is this maybe just a continuation of the Big Ten tournament?
JOE KRABBENHOFT: My teammates finding me. I missed a wide open layup I should have had Mike another assist. It's just my teammates doing a great job finding me for open shots. I've been doing the same things I've been trying to do all year, contribute in every part of the game and just help our team win, as does everybody on the court.
We all have our roles that we try to play, and it was nice to see the ball go down for the 3-point line for me tonight. J Bo found me a wide open shot and I have to step up and knock them down. My teammates did a great job finding me, I guess.

Q. Either one of you guys, how worried did the Titans have you? And, secondly, were you taken aback at all by the way they came right at you right out of the gate?
BRIAN BUTCH: We weren't taken aback at all. This is the NCAA tournament. You expect everything. You expect good teams and you expect to give your best. It's win or go home. We knew they were a heck of a team when we got here and they fought us hard and they continued to fight us hard the entire game.
I don't think as basketball players you just worry about playing the game. Every game had a run. They had a run and we had a run. I think that's one of the reasons why we've been so successful this year is we've been able to stay even keeled with things, when other teams have been able to make some runs, we've been able to stay calm and stay focused on what we needed to do.
So I think that pretty much answers it.

Q. Brian, were you as aggressive on the offensive end attacking the glass and the rim as what you would have liked to have been tonight?
BRIAN BUTCH: Yeah, I think so. You know, this team -- anyone that's watched us numerous times realizes we don't have one big star on this team? It's a bunch -- whoever is out there, the five guys out there all can make plays.
I wasn't trying to be selfish with anything, just trying to make a good play when I had it. But still found open guys when they were out there. That's the way this team has worked all year long.
So I think that if you look at a guy that's going to take 20 shots a game we're not going to have it no matter what, size advantage, whatever it may be, it's not going to happen on this team because we've got too many good players that's how we've been successful. If we got away from that I don't think we'd be as good as we are.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, gentlemen, thank you very much. We'll dismiss you. We'll stay with the head coach for a while.

Q. Could you just talk about Akognon today? 31 points, did you guys expect a scoring output like that from him?
COACH BO RYAN: Yeah, he can get 40. He had a couple of rattle in and come out. Sometimes a guy's going to look to take that many shots. Until he hit those two or three at the end, I felt pretty comfortable with how he was being played. I thought early on a couple of his drives we didn't do a good job of chesting up or stopping his penetration.
But as far as the 3s until he hit those ones in the last three or four minutes, I thought we did a pretty good job on him. I never worry about the total number; I just worry about possessions and the number of points that the other team gets on their possessions. They did not get one point per possession, even though he got 30 some.

Q. Is protect the rim really rule number one you teach them?
COACH BO RYAN: You have to remember the player is going to give you the answer or the information that they know, not what I know. I only give them little bits at a time (chuckling). My job eight years old and on was to make sure that nobody ever scored a layup on our team, bitty league, high school, junior college, college. Protect the rim. Get charges. Try to scare guys into not coming to the rim.
I don't think I did a very good job at that. But then you have to find shooters and you come ball-side of the point. There's a video out, but after the way some of the teams score in transition, I think they might have burned the boxes.
But there's certain things that everybody does or tries to do. And you just -- there are rules. There are more rules than what Joe said. But that's the basics. Rule number one, don't turn the ball over, then they can't get those.

Q. Coach, I know you just obviously finished the first one, but if you have any initial thoughts on facing Kansas State on Saturday and --
COACH BO RYAN: Nothing yet. I'm in the locker room when they're playing, going over my things on the opponent on Fullerton. So they told me after the game who won. And I did not know until I asked somebody -- I asked the announcer who we were playing. So now I know. But I have an assistant who has all their stuff and we'll get together here tonight and tomorrow and prepare for them.

Q. How long do you relish a victory in a tournament until you look forward to the next game?
COACH BO RYAN: Do I look happy now? I'm happy, I'm happy right now. For how many minutes, I can't tell you for sure, but my wife's back there. She probably can give you a better answer to that of how long I stay pleasant after a game.
But with quick turnarounds like this, it's a lot of DVDs. The clips are already put together. We've already done that. Having my son as the video coordinator helps, because he's a pretty diligent worker, and we have our clips ready. We have our notes ready. Now we just have to play ready, get ready to play well. And we're going to try to do that for Saturday.

Q. How much emphasis did you put on stopping their 3s and did it cost you a little bit in terms of letting guys get into the lane, especially in the first half?
COACH BO RYAN: If the guys are going to get in the lane, we still had plan B defensively to help and recover.
But, you know, their legs were fresh. They didn't have to guard us yet. Still, in basketball, the other team always tries to get shooters worn down a little bit or try to make them play some D and make them cover.
So eventually, once we got into that, we could see a difference. So they're a team, especially in the NCAA tournament, I'm looking at scores sometimes during the day when you play at night and you see these scores and then all of a sudden you see a big differential where it was close, close, close, close, or even a team behind, and then they come back.
A lot of times that's exactly what it is, a team is going to establish their will early. If they can keep doing it, then they're going to win the game. But what they're establishing is your team has to be able to counter that during the course of the game, and our guys did a real good job of that tonight.

Q. Three Big Ten teams played today they all scored more than 71 or more points. Is that a relief to get away from that league and play other teams?
COACH BO RYAN: I don't know, Valpo kind of reminds me of the team we played here in nonconference, not that big but good 3-point shooters, some attack guys, and Valpo goes out and beats Washington, and Washington -- and I know they keep telling me there's no R in Washington, but I still say it.
But the Big Ten, Big Ten prepares us for a lot of stuff we're going to see, that we see in the NCAA tournament. I'm just glad to be in the NCAA tournament.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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