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March 21, 2013
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
JOE DALFONSO: We're joined by the Wisconsin student‑athletes. Questions, please.
Q. Pace is obviously important to what you do, important to what they do. Because your pace is so much different than most of the teams out there, is that something you're used to, trying to mandate pace?
RYAN EVANS: I mean, we just try to play the best defense that we can play. I guess we let them dictate their pace. But we just try to play ours.
MIKE BRUESEWITZ: Yeah, we just play our style. Everybody is super concerned with how we play, we might be the slowest team in the country, this, that and the other.
We're not worried about that. We come down, we get good shots. We come down, try to get the best shot every time.
On the defensive end, we work and make sure the other team doesn't get good shots, try and make them, you know, force them into bad shots, tough shots, stuff they don't want to do. That's just kind of how we do it.
If that dictates our pace compared to theirs, it is what it is.
Q. Do you ever get maybe a little bit tired of people talking about how slow and plodding you are?
JARED BERGGREN: We really don't worry about what people say about us. It's fine. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion.
We know what we're trying to get done. We're trying to come down, run our offense, look for a good shot, take care of the ball, not turn the thing over, let them run out for easy baskets.
If people want to call that slow, it is what it is. We don't really buy into what other people think. We know that we have a style that can help us be successful and we're going to stick to it.
MIKE BRUESEWITZ: Yeah, a stat that you guys can have from last year's national championship team, which was Kentucky, you looked at all the athletes, the great players they had on the team, they only averaged four more possessions a game than we did.
You can say what you want about us being slow, but we're not the only team that looks to score in the halfcourt.
Q. Mississippi is a team that hasn't scored less than 60 points. Does that worry you, the fact they're very good at what they do? What's the plan for handling Marshall Henderson?
RYAN EVANS: I don't think it worries us too much. I mean, we know they're an emotional team. They feed off of emotion. That can work for you, it can work against you.
We're obviously going to try to make it work against you. We're not looking at individual players out here. We're trying to hone them in as a team and do the best we can on each individual.
Q. Mike, I hear that maybe you're the bad boy of the Wisconsin team, or do you have an emotional leader kind of like Marshall? Do you have anybody remotely close to that character?
MIKE BRUESEWITZ: I'm not even going to answer that question (laughter).
Q. Do you have an emotional leader for this team that you feed off of?
MIKE BRUESEWITZ: I mean, we all got to bring it. It can't come from one guy. In order to be good, you have to have five guys that want to be out there, show some emotion and play.
Because I have red hair, I do a little bit of funky stuff with it, apparently you can all take that with a grain of salt and point me in that direction. It's not a big deal.
Everybody brings it every night. Can't always come from me, can't always come from the seniors. We have some younger guys that will definitely step it up and show that, too.
Q. Mike, Marshall actually said he was looking forward to meeting you, he likes your style away from the court. What are your thoughts on him and some of the antics he brings to the game?
MIKE BRUESEWITZ: Twitter is a great thing. You can bring people together.
We've watched a lot of film on him. I haven't seen him play personally. Whatever antics you're referring to, I really don't know.
Q. Do you think you could get away with some of the things Marshall does on your team with the coach you have?
JARED BERGGREN: I think their style of play is a little different. I think for him, he's capable of making any shot. I think our shot selection is going to be a little different on our team, just the way we move the ball and play as a team.
That said, he's capable of hitting all those shots. So for him they are good shots because he can make 'em.
As far as the other stuff, he's a guy that plays with a lot of energy and passion. I think his team really feeds off of it. That's fine. But we kind of do things our own way. We're not going to change it.
RYAN EVANS: We're looking to come out here and play as a team, do what's best for each other.
I'm not going to go out there and act and just talk crazy or anything. That's not me.
There's different people that do stuff like that. Whatever they feed off of, that's a great thing. It's obviously been getting them wins, but that's not me and that's not our team.
Q. Jared, the Big Ten had so many great teams and players. Do you think that's going to be an advantage having played such tough competition night after night?
JARED BERGGREN: I think playing in what we feel is the best conference in the country in the Big Ten has prepared us for anything in the tournament here. Every single night has been a battle in the Big Ten.
You look at the rankings, the top of the Big Ten has some teams that have been ranked tops in the country. We've held our own against that level of competition. So I think we've kind of seen it all in the Big Ten, gone through the grind, the battle every night. We feel that's definitely helped prepare us for the tournament. Hopefully we can have some success here.
Q. I know you weren't real happy with the way the second half against Ohio State went. How much have you been itching since that ended to get back out there?
MIKE BRUESEWITZ: I mean, obviously we were disappointed how we didn't finish out. We wanted to win the tournament and everything. But at the same time, you just got to kind of have amnesia and forget about it because we knew this tournament was coming up and we're very excited to be here for that.
We got back to practice on Tuesday. We found out our seed, who we play on Sunday. Monday was a day off, a day of rest. Tuesday we got right back after it, came back down and here and had two good days of practice down here.
We're definitely prepared, ready, excited to get that bad taste out of our mouth.
RYAN EVANS: I think it's a good thing and a bad thing. A bad thing in the sense we didn't win a Big Ten ring. A good thing in the sense we're not content as a team. We're ready to get out here and get going again. We still feel as though we have a lot to prove. That could obviously work for us.
Q. It seems like every year there's a 12‑5 upset in the tournament. Is that something you think about when you see that 5 pop up next to your game at all?
JARED BERGGREN: No. I mean, we really don't think about the seeding or anything like that. It really doesn't matter at this point. You look and there's upsets every year. I think you can kind of throw the seeds out of window and know that every team in this tournament deserves to be here and they're all here for a reason: because they can play.
We know what they're capable of. They went and won their conference tournament, beat some good teams there. They can beat anyone. They've shown that.
I don't think the seeding really matters at this point. We just know we have a good team. We just look forward to the challenge.
Q. Mike, Marshall Henderson was saying before he's watched you on TV and he thinks you're a character and would like to meet you. Would you like to meet him?
MIKE BRUESEWITZ: I'm going to be meeting him tomorrow. Gonna have to work extremely hard to make sure I don't have to see him anymore on Sunday, to get to Sunday.
It is what it is. Obviously he wants to do whatever on Twitter, and you guys can all feed off of that if you want. I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about the 40 minutes coming up.
Q. He says he's a big fan of your hair, if he could grow it out like that, he would.
MIKE BRUESEWITZ: It's not for everybody, man (smiling).
Q. I'm curious as to what you might say about how you describe the way you defend and what makes you so difficult on the defensive end.
RYAN EVANS: The way we defend, we really work as a unit and we take very much pride in that. We're able to slow down and make teams like Indiana or Michigan State in the Big Ten take good shots.
It's something we really take pride in and something that can keep you consistent and always give you a chance to win because, you know, shots aren't always going to fall. When you play good defense, you can always be consistent in that respect to the game.
Q. In Chicago there's a huge emphasis getting you the ball, running offense through you. Is that something you think you'll continue to do?
RYAN EVANS: I mean, we're going to go to what's working. It was working there. If it works, that's what's working. If threes are falling, that's what we're going to go to.
It's up to us to go out there and figure out what's working on the offensive end.
Q. Jared, in your time at Wisconsin, can you remember playing a player like Henderson, who is on a scoring binge and has great freedom to shoot from wherever?
JARED BERGGREN: We've definitely played some players that are capable of doing similar things to what he does on the court. I can't think of a specific example. We faced a lot of good scorers in the Big Ten. There's a lot of good players.
I can think back a couple years ago in the NCAA tournament we played Kansas State and Jacob Pullen, he was a kid that went off and scored I think 30‑some points against us. We hope to contain him a little better than that. He's definitely a kid that's capable of putting up big numbers. We have to do our best to contain him, force him into tough shots, clean up the rebounds.
We faced good scorers before, but obviously it's going to be a new challenge tomorrow.
JOE DALFONSO: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Good luck.
We're joined by Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan. If you could make a statement about your team and being here in Kansas City.
COACH RYAN: I'm happy to be here in Kansas City. I've spent a lot of time here. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to coach an NAIA Team. A few years, we were beaten in Wisconsin, so I never got the chance to play in the NAIA tournament, but now we get to play in the NCAA tournament.
I'm also on the board of directors of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, so I come in here from meetings and try to keep Jim Haney, Reggie Minton, and Troy Hilton straight. For those that know them, you know what I'm talking about.
It's good to be here in Kansas City. I'm proud of our guys. I think this group has really done an awful lot in very trying times and have come through with a pretty good season.
JOE DALFONSO: Questions for Coach Ryan.
Q. A lot has been made about Marshall Henderson, some of his antics with fans. The Mississippi players talk about how they feed off that. Do you have an emotional leader that can serve as a rallying point?
COACH RYAN: Here is the way I look at it. I'm looking for the guy in the locker room that the players are listening to. We don't have any hidden cameras in our locker room. I don't know who the person is in there.
But I really like the fact over the years when guys come back and say, After you chewed on us at practice, we went down in the locker room and such and such said this or that. So what's being said in the locker room with the players to me is extremely important.
Whoever's doing that talking in there, whoever is being listened to, you'd have to ask the players.
Q. A lot has been made about the contrast of styles. How would you respond to people who talk about your style as plodding or boring.
COACH RYAN: I never hear it. Unless you're going to say it, I don't hear it.
Basketball's, it's a tough game. Boy, the thing is, it's so much fun to be sitting there watching a game, I won't tell you the announcer and the teams, two very high‑profile teams, Wow, these teams are playing such great defense that both of these teams have to go deep into the shot clock, as it was 40‑something, 40‑something, two power conference teams are slugging it out.
My wife almost had to resuscitate me. I was laughing so hard because the two teams were playing so hard defensively that both teams had to go deep into the shot clock to get a good shot.
You guys must think people are fools to not know that labels and stuff like that...
Really, if you look around, the intelligent people know what's going on. It's the non‑basketball people, the people that never played, never were on the playground, and a game where it got so physical, there's two or three fights that break out. I grew up in Chester. Anybody will tell you that's probably the toughest outdoor basketball you could play in the '50s and '60s. It would take us an hour to get to 15 points because of how physical it was.
Nobody cried on the side or said, Hey, boy, it was hard scoring. This wasn't a very high‑scoring game. It took us an hour to get to 15. Guys are wiping the blood off.
There's a lot of different reasons why scorers are the way they are, but you really have to be intelligent to figure it out.
Q. On the subject of style, while some people say you play slow, some other people may say you play smart.
COACH RYAN: Who said it?
Q. I've been reading it all week.
COACH RYAN: Really?
Q. Yes, sir. I say you play smart. Could you expound on that a little bit.
COACH RYAN: I hope we play smart because I'm not very smart. It's kind of hard. I have to do things a little bit differently based on what I've been given.
But I like the way our guys play. We try to get good shots. I don't know what you mean by 'smart,' but that's what we're trying to do. Then defensively we're trying to keep people from scoring.
But this team, points per possession‑wise and everything else, has done a really good job. I guess that's why we were one of the teams left standing to this point. You never know how long. We get 40 minutes.
But I like the way they approach the game. I'm willing to accept certain things. I'm willing to try to really try to teach certain things to the point where the guys feel comfortable, knowing what it is that's expected. I think that's the most important thing with players.
Coach, what do you want?
I think our team, for the most part, we've had some rough spots, but they play smart. They're trying to do what's best for the team. I'll take that.
Q. Are there any parallels, regarding Henderson, with the time you played Steph Curry? Anything you can draw from that game?
COACH RYAN: There's a lot of really good three‑point shooters around. They're going to get shots off. We have some things that we try to do. We've been successful a lot of times; other times we haven't.
We'll play. I've never compared one player to another that way. But, you know, if somebody has a strength, what you have to do is try to get into that strength knowing that good players are still going to get shots.
Q. You talked a moment ago about getting through some trying times, the fact that you won 23 games. I'm curious as to what it is you might like most or best about this particular Bo Ryan team.
COACH RYAN: Well, the fact they have gone through a couple adjustments from the standpoint of personnel, of putting guys in position that maybe they hadn't played a lot, especially the guard positions. Not a lot of game experience. Having a guy thinking he was never going to play again due to an injury back in October in Bruesewitz.
He fought through that. Mike Bruesewitz also fought through a concussion. Frank Kaminsky, through not being able to practice, missing three games because of an eye injury.
But every team has those types of things, but not every team survives 'em. This group survived that. What they just went through in the Big Ten tournament with Michigan, Indiana and Ohio State, I think our guys deserve a lot of credit for mastering the ability to maximize what they have.
JOE DALFONSO: Thank you very much and good luck.
COACH RYAN: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports