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March 16, 2012

Mike Bruesewitz

Josh Gasser

Bo Ryan

Jordan Taylor


THE MODERATOR:¬† We will take questions for Wisconsin student‑athletes.

Q.  Josh, you have generally been assigned to players this year, but I'm curious if you've scouted Vanderbilt?  When you look at Jenkins, what do you see and what kind of challenges does he pose?
JOSH GASSER:¬† He's definitely one of the best offensive players around, no doubt about that, and a prolific three‑point shooter. That is the first thing that pops out.¬† But he can come off screens to take it to the rim.¬† So we've obviously faced tough players, so that's definitely going to help going against him.¬† But it should be a fun challenge.

Q.  Mike and Jordan, can you tell me what the emergence of Rob Wilson in the last six weeks has meant for your team on the court and maybe in the locker room?
JORDAN TAYLOR:  Yeah, it's meant a lot.  It's been a morale booster at times.  I think everybody in the locker room has been really happy to see Rob get it going the way he has.  But it's obviously been big in games where other people struggled, myself or anybody else that struggled, especially in the Indiana game.  It's been big.  It's been great to see him step up.
MIKE BRUESEWITZ:  Yeah, definitely it's a good thing.  Kind of seems as Rob got going I was kind of struggling, but that's all right.  That's how the season goes.  It's good to see him.  We're all happy for Rob.  It's good to see him at the end of his career step up like he has in the last six weeks.  As Jordan said, it's been a big help, especially in the Indiana game, and the game with Ohio State and stuff like that.  It's been huge for us.

Q.  You guys haven't bombed out of a tournament, but you haven't had a long run either.  How hungry is this team for tournament success?
MIKE BRUESEWITZ:  I think we're extremely hungry.  We got a little taste of it last year, but we always want more.  That's kind of our motto.  It's kind of how everybody in our locker room is.  We always want more.  We always want better.  We challenge each other every day and try to get better every day.  I think last year was a good treat, but we want more.

Q.  Jordan, after watching your team play yesterday, you guys seemed relentless in the way you do things in the repetition.  It's the same thing over and over.  Are you a frustrating team to play against?
JORDAN TAYLOR:  You're right, we do work on things.  Coach Ryan stresses getting things right and making good habits.  It's kind of what makes us good at some of the things we do, especially defensively, just sticking the things we do.  But in terms of being frustrated playing against us, I guess I can't really answer that because I haven't played against us.
But you hear different things from people, and everybody has their own opinion.  Coach said yesterday everybody has their own opinion, but that's what makes it fun is everybody having their own opinion.  Especially in March, everybody's going to voice their opinion now too.

Q.  Jordan and Josh, lot of people talk about the altitude here being a factor, and both of you guys played a lot of minutes yesterday.  Did you guys notice it at all?
JORDAN TAYLOR:  Not really.  We got out here Tuesday, and we've been out here.  I think Coach Ryan really stressed that.  Just wanted to get us out here and acclimated to the altitude.  I think we've done a good job of handling that.
It's all basketball at the end of the day.  Everybody's going to be fatigued.  The altitude's going to affect everybody, if it does affect anybody in any way.  So you've just got to come out and play hard.
JOSH GASSER:  In the game and few days of practice, tell you the truth, I did feel a little tired.  But it's just the way it goes.  It's good we got out here a few days early to get used to things, but adrenaline can get you through that during the game.

Q.  You guys watched TV, and I think you saw everyone kind of jumped on the Vandy bandwagon as soon as they got their slot in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.  Do you embrace the underdog role a little bit or how do you feel about that?
JOSH GASSER:  Yeah, why not?  It's just another tough opponent on the journey.  So they deserve the credit they've gotten, and we know they're a really good team beating Kentucky in the championship game.  They're just like us.  They've had some big wins.  They've been pretty soiled all year long, so expecting it to be a tough battle of 40 minutes.

Q.  Jordan, after watching Ezeli in person yesterday, how does that affect your ability to get to the paint and make something happen?  In a day where there are not that many true centers, he is one.
JORDAN TAYLOR:  Yeah, he's a monster.  He's an imposing force down there.  But we've got some bigs too in Jared, and Ryan's probably an undersized four, but he can definitely do more than hold his own down under the basket.
In terms of just getting in the paint, it doesn't really change.  Just try and get in there, and when you get in there, make good decisions.  Try to find your teammates or finish around the rim.

Q.  Jordan, you mentioned Ezeli and Jared, and you've talked about the fact Do you think he is up for this challenge?  Are you eager to see how he goes up against a guy that good?
JORDAN TAYLOR:  I think Jared's ready for it.  Ezeli's a big guy, and he's deserved all the credit he's garnered throughout his career.  But Jared's faced Jared Sullinger and Draymond Green throughout the year, and they're no slouches either.
I think Jared and Ryan, whoever draws him will be more than ready for the challenge.  As a team I think so too.  It definitely is going to be a challenge, but we're looking forward to it.

Q.  Jordan, what do you do against a guy like Jenkins?
JORDAN TAYLOR:  It doesn't really change.  Like Josh says, we've seen scorers like that before.  He's a really talented player.  Same thing with Ezeli, we've played with guys like William Buford throughout the league, Brandon Paul, all guys that can fill it up.  And Josh has done a great job with all those guys.  We have to help him as a team, but as an individual, he's going to be ready for that.  He's going to come with his A game, so we have to bring ours too.

Q.¬† Mike, what are the particular challenges of your defense guarding opponents who have multiple three‑point shooters?
MIKE BRUESEWITZ:¬† We've got to make sure‑‑ our whole philosophy is to try to run guys off the line and not letting them get going.¬† If they have multiple guys, we can't help quite as much off those guys.¬† We have to make sure we take that away.¬† And force them into tough two‑point jump shots.¬† That's kind of our philosophy.
Coach Ryan always preaches it.¬† Teams beat you from behind the three‑point line and getting to the rim and getting free throws.¬† But if a team can beat you with contested two‑point jump shots, you've got to clap your hands and say you guys were better than us today.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Wisconsin coach, Bo Ryan.

Q.¬† Coach, talk about Vanderbilt and what you see and what you don't see as far as their aggressive three‑point style?
COACH RYAN:  Well, that's what jumps out, but they do other things pretty well too.  You have to remember, they've played in games in the 50s, played in games in the 80s, and they've played everything in between.  So they can play at any pace, and they can dictate the pace themselves.  They're so athletic and have size, so they're really not limited in any areas.
After all the games we've looked at of them, trying to find weaknesses is hard to do.  So we have to play to our strengths.  We've got to shoot a good percentage because if you really have to rely on a lot of stuff inside against them, it's going to be tough.

Q.  In light of what you just said, how important is tempo in this game?  Is something we over blow?
COACH RYAN:  The people that talk about tempo and the people that get into that stuff are people that have never played.  That's okay, because the game of basketball, it can't just be the guys on the court.  There's got to be coaches.  There's got to be fans.  There's got to be people that try to analyze.
The one thing that you always have to remember, have you ever met a coach that's been successful that isn't the type of person that growing up on the playground didn't figure out somehow, some way, a way to win:¬† Marbles, baseball cards, horse, jacks, and don't laugh, in my neighborhood in Chester, jacks for guys was big‑‑ and I had real quick hands.
So I did pretty well.  Found a way to win -  Tennis, racquetball, if you're not a power player, do you lob?  Do you play to people's weaknesses better?  Whatever it is, there are people who try to figure out ways to be successful.  And there's a lot of different ways to do it.
So it always tickles me when people talk about tempo or speed and all that.¬† I think what you have to do is you've got to figure out the best way for your team to come out on the left‑hand side.
Having coached a team that averaged almost 98 points a game 20‑something years ago, a team that still holds the NCAA defensive record for 47 and a half points in a season with the shot clock on the three‑point line‑‑ whew, I almost couldn't get that out.
So being around 40 years, I just laugh when I hear people in studios and people‑‑ that's why I always have the sound down.¬† I know I'm not doing anything for ratings here.¬† But here's the deal:¬† If you really watch people play and you know basketball, I think people would think twice about when they refer to tempo.¬† I really do.

Q.  Vanderbilt has struggled at times with teams with effective point guard play, and you have a very good one.  Could you talk about what makes Jordan such a special player?
COACH RYAN:  Well, I had all the box scores from every game from Vanderbilt on a sheet of paper.  Here's the sheet of the wins and here's the sheet of the losses.  So you're saying I need to go back and look at that short list of losses and see who the point guards were?
They've played against every kind of offense, every kind of team.  When you get to this level of the NCAA Tournament, or even get to the NCAA Tournament, you figure you've seen just about everything.  But if you say that they've struggled against that, we do have a very good point guard.
We trust the team to him on the floor, in the locker room, and he's been a great leader.  He's been a great leader since the first day he walked on campus.  He understands the game.  He understands his teammates.  He understands what our strengths are and what we need to play to.

Q.  Kevin Stallings didn't like this reference. I just wanted to see how you reacted to it.  Top 50 guys.  How much pride do you take?
COACH RYAN:  What top 50?

Q.  Well, taking guys that maybe aren't top 50 guys, but they come out on the other end but are stars, all Big Ten, go to the NBA?
COACH RYAN:¬† I know you guys are going to go, he's kidding me.¬† I have never looked at a‑‑ I don't even know what top 50 means.¬† You know what, I have guys at Wisconsin that want to be there and take on the academic challenges.¬† I've got guys at Wisconsin that want to work hard and want to be a part of something special, and they want to continue a tradition.
So, again, that's for people who probably haven't played that do those rankings, I would think.  I don't look at them.  I don't say to my assistants, okay, you have to go out there and get me a guy that's the fifth ranked power forward in the country.  I've never done that.  We've got some good players though.

Q.¬† Have you talked to your guys about‑‑ what have you talked to your guys about dealing with a scorer like John Jenkins?
COACH RYAN:¬† We've played some pretty good teams, but, wow.¬† Some three‑point shooters are better just catch and shoot.¬† Feet square, shoulder square.¬† Some are pretty good off of staggereds and especially going left, going right.
So you look at the tendencies of all these threes that he's made or missed.¬† We haven't found a weakness.¬† He can score from the three‑point line about any way possible step backs, fades.¬† If you know of any way to stop him, please feel free.¬† I can get you my number.
What a prolific scorer.  When they use that term, I've heard them use it about a lot of guys, but for him, if you looked it up, you'd see his picture.

Q.  I know it's only one round plus in, and the tournament is a bit of a crap shoot.  But based on what you saw this year, did you expect the Big Ten to perform like it has thus far?
COACH RYAN:¬† Well, yeah, it is.¬† You called it a crap shoot.¬† Sometimes it isn't the line; it's the match‑up that you have and the type of team.¬† You could always go back and say, okay, if we had been sent to this region and that was our first game or this was our second game‑‑ coaches do that every once in a while.¬† I'm so proud of the league.¬† I just really think that the league has prepared us to play other people.
Now what the results are going to be, that's to be seen.  But I think in our conference with those coaches and the way they do things and how the league made everybody better as the league went on.  That's the best chance we have.  So I thought we prepared each other.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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