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March 22, 2008
THE MODERATOR: The victorious Wisconsin Badgers of the Big Ten are with us. They have a date in the Sweet 16 next weekend. We're going to open up proceedings with a statement from head coach Bo Ryan. Then we'll have questions for just the student athletes, and we ask you to wait for the microphone holders.
COACH RYAN: Again, I'm just proud to be up here as their coach and as a part of this whole group. These guys are to be commended for what they've accomplished and I want to be the first to tell them that.
And you can pass it on to your teammates as we did in the locker room, but great accomplishment. Hopefully they want to play more and play longer.
But Kansas State, very good team. They posed a lot of problems and fortunately our players found some solutions. So all the credit goes to them. So I'll let you ask them questions.
Q. Greg, after a big first half, Beasley scored 17 points and then you guys allowed him just two field goals in the second half. What adjustments did you make in the halftime to limit his production in the second half?
GREG STIEMSMA: I think probably the biggest thing was to keep him off the offensive boards, try to keep a body on him, stay in front of him, be physical with him, doing the things we were doing in the first half.
Hit a couple of tough shots, one happened to fall in his hands, and the other two -- but a guy like that, I think he's almost impossible to stop. I think you can just try to hope to contain him. I thought we did a little better job the second half.
Q. Greg, on the offensive end, what possessed you to have a career high in points?
GREG STIEMSMA: You know, I guess we wanted to want them to work on both ends of the floor. We knew they were going to come at us with transition stuff. But at the same time we wanted to make sure they were guarding us on the defensive end, too.
I guess it was my night. We got so many guys on this team that can score on different nights and come at it. And I guess my opportunity was to tonight. And I was just glad I could help the team in that way.
Q. Mike, how proud are you guys to hold Kansas to no 3-pointers made? This is the first time in 348 games they haven't made a 3. Especially with the way they pushed the ball up the court on you guys?
MICHAEL FLOWERS: You know, we really focused on transition defense, coming into this game, and preparation for our last game, Cal State, they wanted to score and get the ball out they averaged about 80-some points a game, so transition defense this weekend has been one of our main focuses.
And a little bit of that has to do with, when you have a presence like Michael Beasley down in the post, like you're not going to want to jack 3s, get him the ball, get post touches. Towards the end they were down. They were playing behind and they were jacking 3s. When you're under duress under the shot, sometimes it doesn't go in.
Q. Trevon, what was the difference for you tonight, you just seemed so in the flow and only one turnover. You seemed to do everything right?
TREVON HUGHES: The difference was be patient. The game we played before this first round game against Cal State, it had been a week since we played and I wanted to go out there and show what I had. It got away from me. Today I knew I had to be under control and play Wisconsin basketball, get my teammates involved before I start forcing anything.
When the shot clock come down I had to have the ball in my hand to make good decisions for Wisconsin.
And today this felt good, the ball in my hand. Any given day I feel like anybody on this team could go out there and score 20 points.
Q. Do you ever feel like -- this game you have a couple of K State guys getting national attention. Do you feel like you're the sleeping giant in that you're not getting the spotlight and maybe that's allowing you to play a little bit better and a little bit looser?
MICHAEL FLOWERS: You know, all year a lot of people didn't think highly of us and our talent and our potential. We shocked a lot of people by winning the Big Ten tournament and playing against Walker and Beasley. We faced good opponents all year in nonconference and in the Big Ten with D.J. White and Gordon and Neitzel to say the least. And those games helped us in the preparation for this game. And we tried to tune out the media and outside distractions and stay focused and disciplined to our team rules.
GREG STIEMSMA: Yeah, we got quite a bit of attention last year, getting a No. 1 ranking and all that. We didn't let it get to us last year, and I think it just carried over to this year. The guys that were part of the team and the experience we had last year, we knew numbers don't matter, we still have to go out and produce. And we just try and control the things we have control over, and that's preparation, execution.
And I think we've been doing a better job of that down the stretch this year.
TREVON HUGHES: I like playing under the radar, so, you know, we don't have to get talked about. We know what we've got in the locker room and it put a chip on our shoulder, made us go out and play even harder.
Q. Can you all three talk about the pride you guys take in defense and how often you see other teams that look like they're really getting frustrated especially in the second half, how often do you guys see that?
MICHAEL FLOWERS: We know that if we want to be a champion, we have to do that with defense. We're one of the better defensive teams in the nation this year, and we've already got the conference champ under our belt and the tourney champ belt under our belt. We got there because of our defense.
We're focused on that end of the court because we realize what needs to be done in order to come out with a W.
And tonight when you're going against prolific scorers you try to do anything you can and disrupt them, get them out of their flow. Maybe, you know, try to get them in foul trouble, get them on the bench, anything you can to help your chances on defense and limiting their shots and making them shoot a lower percentage from the field.
So all those we focus on and we know that and we just went out there today and we did a good job with that.
And we tried to let Michael Beasley contain him and let the other players beat Wisconsin and not put the pressure on them. And we closed out and we didn't want them to get second chances. I think they got too many on us, and we can play better.
That's the main thing. I think everybody was focused on what we didn't do well and now we have another chance to get better.
GREG STIEMSMA: I think it starts in the preseason. Just our style, first few practices where we're getting after it. Not putting shots up, we're banging our own bodies and getting back in transition, transition drills.
So I think it was embedded in our minds early that this year especially was going to be our defensive year. And we wanted to be the best team defensively in the nation that accomplished that. It's just another goal that we set for ourselves and we got to this year.
I think it's become evident the past few games that our defense has got us here. So if we just keep riding it, we're not sure how far it's going to take us and we know it's going to be far.
TREVON HUGHES: These guys took the words right out of my mouth. (Laughter).
Q. This is for the two guards. You outscored Kansas State starting in the back court, 40-4. Did you guys get together before the game and say you had to step up in this game or anything like that and how much pride do you take in how you guys were able to shut their backcourt down?
MICHAEL FLOWERS: We just pretty much stuck to our rules. We didn't try to play out of ourselves. We stayed true to the Wisconsin system. And we got open shots. When we had open shots, we took that opportunity. And luckily today the ball went in. And on the defensive end, excuse me, we just wanted to put as much pressure on them as possible.
But not getting beat back door or anything like that and always making them second-guess. Basketball is a game of reaction. So on the defensive end you want the offensive player react to you instead of vice versa and make them be on their heels.
Q. Greg, about mid first half you put quite a fake on Beasley, went to the rack and got fouled, is that something that gave you the confidence?
GREG STIEMSMA: I hope there's a few more plays to go that kind of take that place. Any time you go against a competitor like Michael Beasley, one of the best in the nation, you definitely want to step your game up a little bit and make sure that you're playing as hard as you can, because their talent level is at such a high level where you're going to have to play even harder to try and match that.
I think it could be one of those plays, but hopefully there's a few more to come.
Q. Trevon and Mike. You guys played so hard defensively, so disciplined offensively in the swing. You have a very business-like feel to those of us that haven't watched you all season in person. But, Mike, you came to a sideline with about two and a half minutes left, singing along to the Bud song for an inbound, how much fun were you guys having today?
MICHAEL FLOWERS: I had fun --
THE MODERATOR: You were what? (Laughter).
MICHAEL FLOWERS: I had fun. The majority of the game except the five turnovers I had. That's going to keep me up at night. But when everything is clicking and you're countering everything your opponent is throwing at you and you're staying within the system and you see Trevon scoring from the outside, getting all the people in position and you see Greg playing unbelievable basketball, it was just an exciting game, a game I probably won't ever forget against a good team.
That's what makes it so special, is we didn't do this against a so-so team; we did it against Kansas State and that goes to show that how competitive we are and the will to win.
TREVON HUGHES: I don't understand the Bud song he was talking about. But when we go out there we try to have fun. That's the way to play the game. We also gotta go straight to business. We have to shut down Michael Beasley and Billy Walker, those guys are tremendous players, and obviously we try to outwork them and we got the W.
And it just was a good win for us as a whole. It's very emotional right now. And it just feels really good.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. We'll dismiss you. Best of luck next weekend. We'll stay with head coach Bo Ryan for a maximum of 10 minutes here.
Q. Everybody talks about really good defense. What is it about your team that allows you to do this game in, game out?
COACH RYAN: We haven't changed anything. Greg pointed out the different drills we do early. We've been doing those for 30-some years or as many years as I've been a head coach in high school and junior high.
But this group, sometimes people come together in different ways. There's just things you can't put your finger on. But, you know, it's something good and it's something that's formed a bond that really helps. And you cannot be a good defensive team when you have people off on their own.
The satellites aren't going to make the universe work. And our guys rotate, sink, pinch, all our rules that we talk about, the different things that we do; they have to be in unison or doing one well, hard hedging, doesn't mean the play's done, because from there you have to help recover, rotate, sink, pinch possibly on dribble penetration.
All those things come into effect, and this group has embraced that concept as well as any team I've ever had, if not better.
Q. First of all, the Bud song is when he says -- when you say Wisconsin you've said it all.
COACH RYAN: I think that's the reason why one of those drapes fell. It was covering something (laughter).
Q. What did you do differently or what did you do better defensively in the second half against Beasley?
COACH RYAN: Didn't change a thing. We did not change one of our principles. We just tried to do them better. And we felt we gave some good help, rotated, got some charges on -- they were trying to push the envelope a little bit when they were behind like a lot of teams.
We stood our ground, took some charges and added some fouls up, as one of the players mentioned. That's always a positive. But the next opponent is going to offer some different things, whoever that is. I don't know what's going to take place from here.
But I just know that we can't change at this time of the year. We can't change at halftime and we don't change for next game. We've got to just try to do some things that got away from us today a little better.
Q. How impressive have you been with not only good Greg has played over the past couple of games but how efficient he's been with the minutes he's gotten?
COACH RYAN: Well, that's a guy saying, okay, I can handle it and whatever you give me, Coach, and tells his teammates, I'm going to help. And he's been doing that all year. Some minutes more in some games and other games he's not out on the floor very much because of things happening with the other team and what the matchups are. But he's persevered.
Lots been made about Brian Butch and the things he's been through. Greg Stiemsma, the same thing, Michael Flowers, and life isn't always going to be an easy stroll in the park.
And I think some of these guys are starting to show that they've learned some things over the years about being men.
Q. Coach, when you say you can't be a good defensive team with people off on their own, what are you referring to on that?
COACH RYAN: Well, because you have to have rules on certain actions on the floor. If two parties involved are doing the correct thing but the third, fourth and fifth parties aren't involved, you're going to give up something. That's all.
Q. Sometimes this time of the year you give special performances from somewhat unlikely sources, is that kind of what happened with Greg and to a lesser extent with Trevon with career highs today?
COACH RYAN: Those guys have some good outings scoring-wise. I'm looking at all the other things happening during the game what were they doing defensively. Somebody made a good point about talking about their guards not scoring very much.
I thought our guards did an excellent job. Michael Flowers ended up on three or four different players during the course of the game. And you gotta remember, Beasley and Walker still shot 50 percent.
So we're not real happy about that. And you know if you give up that to two players and they get those kind of numbers, if anybody else starts hitting, then you got some problems. So fortunately in this game there wasn't another player that was giving them the numbers.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
End of FastScripts