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March 17, 2011

Rick Byrd

Jordan Campbell

Mick Hedgepeth

Kerron Johnson


Wisconsin – 72
Belmont - 58

THE MODERATOR: Coach, we'll ask you to just give us some opening remarks and then we'll take questions for the student-athletes.
COACH BYRD: First of all, you got to give a lot of credit to Wisconsin. They're really a good team. They're extremely well coached. They made big shots.
I thought we defended in this game about as good as we can defend. And I'd like to see how many of those threes were in the last six seconds of the shot clock and how many were contested. I know a couple of threes weren't.
Berggren, if that's how you say his name, sorry, made his two surprised us. I don't think he made one in Big Ten play. We were willing to back off him and try to help and he made two that killed us. But Taylor's step-back threes late in the shot clocks are just practically unguardable. And Kerron can probably speaking to that because he was doing a great job of guarding him, I thought.
So that's a good basketball team we played and I think they played well. And I think it probably hurt us that they hadn't played as well last couple times out. Most of us do a better coaching job and demand a little bit more when things haven't been going well.
Secondly, though, I'm just so proud of our team. And so proud of their effort for 35 games times 40 minutes a game. And how they have responded to our coaching staff and how they represented the university on the floor, off the floor. I just couldn't be more proud to coach a team and very, very lucky to get to do so.

Q. Kerron, could you talk about what Rick is talking about as sort of the difficulty of shutting them down when you guys went almost a whole possession, you know, guarding them and then they would hit a big shot.
KERRON JOHNSON: You know, that's tough when you just go for, you know, 33 seconds and they make deep threes that you can't do anything but contest. Then we had a few bad breaks where we were hustling for balls and we'd run into each other and knock them back. They did their job, what they were supposed to do and they knocked down the threes.
When things like that happen, you just got to hope you can weather the storm and respond. And, you know, they made tough shots late on the shot clock. I don't think we could have done anything better than what we did.

Q. Jordan, you guys have lived with the three all season and today just wasn't falling consistently. Can you just talk about why you think maybe it seemed to sort of be catching there a little bit?
JORDAN CAMPBELL: I think they, on defense they showed us something that we really hadn't played against this year. And they would, you know, hedge out and help on the three and our guy would trail it. So if we weren't ready to catch and shoot immediately, then we weren't going to get a shot up.
I feel like a lot of our threes that we took today were, you know, really contested, and they really did a good job of, you know, getting out and getting a hand up when we did have a shot. So, like I said, you know, they really just showed us something that we hadn't really seen before this year. They did a really good job defending us on the perimeter.

Q. Mick, yesterday you guys were in here and I think Scott was talking about, you know, there aren't teams like Wisconsin in our conference. With that in mind, can you talk about Leuer and Taylor for Wisconsin and just how tough it was to stop those two guys and maybe why they were so effective.
MICK HEDGEPETH: I mean, you know, those two guys are great players and that's why they're at Wisconsin on a great team. They played great.
Like Scott said, this is something we haven't had to face, the ball screens with the five men who can step back and shoot. And, you know, they're, like, the best free-throw shooting team in the country. And they do great with turnovers.
But I think we made them cause a little more than their average turnovers. Just to reiterate what Coach Byrd said, No. 40, their backup center, came in and knocked down some threes. And he hasn't hit in the Big Ten. So, you know, they just made some shots and played well.

Q. Mick, was this game kind of the antithesis of the Penn State film you may have seen? Because that's the last game they had before this.
MICK HEDGEPETH: Um, you know, they -- we haven't watched -- we watched clips of going several games back, not just the Penn State game. But Penn State showed us that Wisconsin can be defended, you know, holding them to 33 points. And obviously we didn't do that great of a job. Also, they made more shots than they did against Penn State.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, gentlemen, that will do it. Thank you very much.
We'll open it up for Coach Byrd.

Q. Kind of the same thing, Rick, do you think Wisconsin was motivated by it being their lasting memory, the Penn State game?
COACH BYRD: Well, yeah. I do think it -- well, I think it gave them a lot of ammunition, the coaching staff a lot of ammunition. Bo basically told me as we shook hands that we got them at a bad time because of how poorly they played.
But sometimes that doesn't explain shooting the basketball from the three- point line. We both shot 22 threes; they made 12, we made 6. That is 18 points difference. And I would say they got slightly better looks overall, but not six makes different.
And our team shoots about as good as they do. I think part of this game came down to it was a good day for them shooting and it was a bad day for us shooting. And sometimes, sometimes the game is that simple. Sometimes you play good and don't shoot good. We didn't make a lot of turnovers. We made seven turnovers. We looked like Wisconsin. Seven turnovers. (Laughter.) That's unheard of for us. So they did do a great job.
Their game plan was very good. I could say they're well coached 100 more times. They don't make mistakes on either end very often. And they're a Big Ten team. And we've been scoring more points against mid-majors.

Q. Coach, could you talk a little bit about the adjustments that you, or if any, that you made at half-time? Or were you kind of hoping that, you know, after 50 percent in the first half from three they would kind of cool off a little bit?
COACH BYRD: I thought we defended great. We can go back and look and see what quality of shots those threes were. I mean, I'm not going to let our point guards -- I don't want to design a play to let our point guards get the quality shot that Taylor gets at the end by stepping back and shooting a tough one with a hand in his face.
Now, he is really good. I saw him make plenty. I'm not saying he can't make plenty. He did it against Indiana, he was seven for eight. But we defended our plan very well. And I think -- I don't know how we could have done much better. If you don't help off those guys on him, he is going to shoot lay-ups all night long.
So we talked about several things. We talked about some of their actions. But overall I was pleased with our defense the whole night. And, you know, we might all be talking about how great we were defensively if they had shot the ball like they did against Penn State.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, coach, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

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