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March 19, 2011
Wisconsin – 70
Kansas State - 65
THE MODERATOR: For the University of Wisconsin we've got Mike Bruesewitz, Jon Leuer, Josh Gasser and Jordan Taylor and head coach Bo Ryan.
COACH RYAN: Due to time, I don't think we get back to 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning, so I'll just pass on opening remarks.
Q. For Jordan. When people say Wisconsin basketball is a boring brand of basketball do you take it to heart and use it as motivation?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Definitely not. We come out and play hard every day. We all love basketball. If people think we're boring, there is a lot of channels on TV they can watch. We're just coming out trying to win games and playing hard and, you know, trying to play the right way.
Q. Mike, can you just take us through your three. Seemed like just when you let it go you already knew it was going in. Just kind of talk about it.
MIKE BRUESEWITZ: Well, Jordan started it off by getting around the post and stealing the post entry pass. Did a great job there. Then Kelly had fallen down and we recognized it was five on four and we pushed the ball and Tim Jarmusz was running down the wing with me. He ran to the rim and took a guy with him then I was open. And just marched it down. We do that drill pretty much every day too, so...
Q. Jon, you got a couple of disappointments last two years in the tournament. What does it mean to advance to the Sweet 16 for this team, especially after a game like this?
JON LEUER: It's great. Unbelievable feeling in the locker room celebrating with your teammates knowing you are one of 16 teams still playing. At the same time we think we're far from over. We have a lot of work to do still and are looking forward to our next challenge.
Q. Jordan, Pullen had dropped 38. You had gone 2 for 16. Do you feel like you ended up winning the battle anyway with the block at the end?
JORDAN TAYLOR: I feel like I won the battle because we won the game. A lot of people obviously asked questions yesterday and, you know, or about the match-up and, you know, I said then, it's a team sport.
So obviously he is a heck of a player. He was the best player on the floor tonight. But we're moving on and going to New Orleans. So that's all that matters.
Q. Jordan, take you back to that block you had on the wing. There was a foul just a few seconds earlier on a three-point attempt. Any hesitation there? And how do you stay focused on defense on a play like that when you haven't done well offensively?
JORDAN TAYLOR: I mean, you put -- first of all, on the first one I fouled him and, you know, he's pretty good at using his body getting a shot off. The second one I was just trying to make a play. And, you know, we've been saying all year long we got a lot of guys who can make plays on this team. And, you know, there are going to be nights when people struggle offensively. Coach always talks about picking each other up. We talk to each other about it.
I was just trying to do something to slow him down and play my part in the win. And that happened to be it.
Q. Jordan, obviously the match-up between you and Jacob Pullen is really the headline coming in terms of two extremely talented guards. Was it everything that it lived up to be? Did he give you some fits defensively? Just talk about the match-up in general.
JORDAN TAYLOR: Not much to talk about. He won it. (Laughter.) He definitely won it.
But like I said, we won the game. He was the best player on the floor. I wouldn't say fits. I think I forced some things especially offensively. But like I said, we got a lot of guys on our team who can make plays and the scoreboard on the bottom of the TV doesn't say Jordan versus Jacob; it says Wisconsin versus Kansas State and Wisconsin won.
Q. Jon, there's a lot of people who when it comes to a tight game like this they'll say that I'd rather have the superstar, the star player to take it over at crunch time. Yet you guys who have this team concept are the ones who came away with it. How do you come together as a group? And how do you try to approach it in the final minutes in a situation like that where you have a really terrific player on the other side in a tight game?
JON LEUER: Yeah, I mean, we just made plays. Everybody stepped up. You can go right down the line. Mike's big three, Tim Jarmusz hit some big shots. Even though Jordan was off offensively he made some huge plays down the stretch. He found Mike on that three. Right before that he got the steal. Josh made some big plays. Just go right down the line of guys stepping up and making key contributions.
That's what you need in March if you want to keep playing, just guys stepping up and, you know, giving you good production. So, you know, that's how I think we came out on top tonight.
Q. Josh, I think you had talked yesterday about needing to be more aggressive tonight. It appeared you were that way right from the start. What was the difference tonight versus the night before?
JOSH GASSER: I came in with a different mindset, I guess. They were focused on Jordan a lot more, as we expected that. And we needed other guys to step up. Like Jon said, we had a bunch of guys step up: Tim, Mike, myself, everyone off the bench, Jared had a big game yesterday and did some good things today, too. I mean, we have to have everyone out there to put together a good performance, myself included.
So I just wanted to be more aggressive and help us offensively.
Q. Mike, both Josh and Jon alluded to this, but a lot of guys have stepped up. I think in both games a lot of guys stepped up. That wasn't always the case all year. What do you think happened in the last two games that that came about?
MIKE BRUESEWITZ: I think it was just guys are realizing that, you know, we need to be confident. I think confidence is a big thing in March. You know, coming down and knowing that you're going to be able to make plays to help your team win games. I think that's just a lot of guys have kind of realized that in the last couple weeks here.
We've been doing well in practice. Practicing hard. Getting after it. And I think that's just the biggest thing. Guys' confidence is -- keeps raising. So it's good.
Q. Jordan and Jon, you guys didn't necessarily both start off like a house on fire like I'm sure everybody wants to. Can you talk about your resolve down the stretch? You each made great intangible plays to come up with the victory.
JORDAN TAYLOR: Like I said, there's going to be nights where things aren't going to go your way, specifically offensively. I guess defensively too. But, you know, just got to stick to the task and, you know, trust in your teammates. And we got some of the -- we have the best teammates in the country.
At the beginning of the year we played UNLV and Mike -- things didn't go our way with Mike. We all told him he is going to get another shot. He was really down on himself. We told him he would get another shot to make the play and he's done it against Ohio State. He did it again tonight. He is one of the toughest kids I know. He is a heck of a teammate. I wouldn't want to have anybody else on the floor with me.
JON LEUER: Jordan pretty much said it. Like I said before, just guys stepping up and giving us good production. It's fun to see when the bench is into it and guys are stepping up, making plays that maybe they haven't been making all year. It just energizes our whole team.
For them to do that at this point in the season is huge.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, thank you very much, guys. Congratulations.
Q. Jordan didn't have a good shooting night, but can you talk about the intangibles he has. I mean, with that bad shooting night he still came up with some of the best plays of the game.
COACH RYAN: You know, I've used a lot of examples of coaching teams that have had bad shooting nights and still able to come out on the left-hand side. Shooting percentage-wise, are you getting to the free-throw line?
I'd like to add, and if you are playing good defense. But I'm sure there will be people who interpret what Jordan did today as not playing very good defense. But he needed some help from his teammates, too.
But his 6 to 0 assisted turnover ratio says he stayed focused. He was having a rough night scoring, but he is a taskmaster of his own skills and his own abilities that he's not going to throw the rest of it away simply because things have gotten away from him. Because he is that dedicated to being the leader on this team on the floor. He never wavered from that the whole time.
Q. Bo, playing off that, I mean, that was the second thing that I noticed was zero turnovers by him in a game where he is having that rough a time is kind of amazing for a kid that young to keep it together like that. Where does that come from? I mean, to be that young and to have that kind of --
COACH RYAN: That's a good point. I've said this back in Wisconsin a thousand times. His parents did a heck of a job with him early; making sure that he understood there's things in life that are absolutes, there's discipline, there's express yourself. They really sent to us, when Jordan came here, a young man who was ready for what I was ready to give him. And he's taken, you know, some criticism from me. He's taken the pats on the back.
But that is the kind of point guard you want. So that when the going gets tough, he can handle it. It all comes from his upbringing.
Q. You went to your bench early and often. Do you think that helped you late in both halves? You put on a nice spurt actually at the end of both halves.
COACH RYAN: No, the end of the first half, that wasn't a nice spurt. We had a nine-point lead and we fouled three times. Fortunately they didn't make all their free throws.
I subbed because guys didn't have a good view of the game. I always sub when certain things get away from us.
I think a view from the bench is a good way to see things that are going on out on the court.
We ended up still playing a lot of minutes with guys. Heck, I didn't have a couple of my bigs because they were busy getting stitches. But I wouldn't call that a good thing that I didn't have them
Q. Kansas State wanted to get out there, pressure the ball, create turnovers, but how did you continue playing Wisconsin basketball and be successful at it as well?
COACH RYAN: You would have to tell me what you think Wisconsin basketball is. I can't answer for you. Because we just try to be on the left-hand side when the buzzer sounds.
Q. I agree, yes.
COACH RYAN: What's Kansas State basketball?
Q. Well, I mean a little bit more aggressive, up-tempo, where I feel Wisconsin you spread the floor more a little lower scoring in terms of using the shot clock more effectively.
COACH RYAN: People use the shot clock a lot against us too because they can't get open looks right away. So maybe that's something you are doing defensively. But isn't that what you are supposed to do, not let teams get wide open looks early and try to take that away from them?
I just don't understand when people always refer to "Wisconsin basketball." We score. We'll push. How did we get that three to Bruesewitz? We got a turnover, boom, we pushed it to the other end, a wing clears. We're opportunistic.
I'm sure there's a manual out there that says that if you don't turn the ball over a lot, you get to the free-throw line, you make your free throws, and you work hard on defense, and you take good shots, if you want to call that Wisconsin basketball, amen. That is us.
Q. When you watch -- it's different game but the NBA game you hear so much about needing that superstar as the go-to guy down the stretch of close games. But it seems like here you do not have that. You don't really feel a need for that. Do you wish you had it? You overcame it tonight.
COACH RYAN: Camouflage. They don't know who we're going to at the end.
Q. Do you like it that way?
COACH RYAN: Well, we have go-to guys. We have guy that's get to the free-throw line in crucial situations that are good free-throw shooters. And, you know, we want the ball in their hands.
It's another thing Jordan did. I think he was 6 for 6 from the free-throw line, too. So, you know, I've never quite understood that superstar thing. Whether it's NBA or college or anything else. There are guys who can make plays. There are guys who can make plays not simply because they score but because they get somebody else involved. And we have some players that can do that.
As Josh mentioned, somebody pointed out, he was a little more aggressive with the ball. And that eased -- because that he way they were overplaying, we got a couple of those back doors. We simply in practice ran a play that Belmont ran and burned people like crazy. We ran it twice and got 4 points. I don't mind stealing from other people. I don't mind taking a wrinkle. But that back-door that Josh got where he got fouled in the first one, then on the second one we got the lay-up, that's because we had to work so hard to take that away from Belmont because they just drilled people with that.
So that pass didn't go to a superstar. I don't think Josh would call himself that yet, or anybody else. But it was an opportunistic basket or opportunistic two free- throws too. Because Belmont runs some great stuff.
Q. Bo, this is your second time going up against head coach Frank Martin. Talk about the coaching match-up between you and him.
COACH RYAN: He coached in high school. I coached in high school. That says it all. We're grass-roots guys that worked our way into the coaching profession, and, you know, Frank does a heck of a job. You know, two different type teams, I think. You know, the offense that he's running now, he's got so.
Me guys reading some things. I think the comeback that they made and the push they made at the end of the season and then you have a player that says I'm not playing in the NIT. I don't think he meant anything against the NIT. What basically was: We're going to the NCAA tournament. And I got to respect Jacob Pullen for saying that. The NIT is still a pretty good tournament though. But he's young.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports