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March 21, 2014
THE MODERATOR: Student-athletes, Nigel Hayes, Sam Dekker, and Traevon Jackson. Thank you for joining us. Questions for the student-athletes, please.
Q. Guys, you and Oregon had remarkably similar seasons. Rough spot in January and then recovering really well. Can you break down some of the breakdowns when you hit the skids and what you did well to rally and get back on track?
SAM DEKKER: I mean, that's what -- when I saw on the scouting report they won the first 13 and lost of eight of ten, kind really took me -- started to see -- made a lot of similarities. The things they did to get back and just by playing hard and getting back to what they're doing best. Very talented team they have. They're a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams. We got to do what we do, and our coaches do a great job of preparing us. They're a team that plays hard and smart and plays aggressive. We have to handle that.
Q. What about you guys, what were the breakdowns for you guys in January?
SAM DEKKER: I think defensively we got away from doing what we do best. Our defense translated so well into our offense. We were playing well and getting stops on D and make sure our offense is a little more uptempo and stuff like that. When we can do things like that and stay focused, we're a much better team.
Q. Sam, the teams tried to run on you guys this year, and what's been the outcome of that if they have?
SAM DEKKER: Well, there's been goods and bads for our team against it. Sometimes we don't do a good job in transition and we give up too many easy things, and other times we've been able to stop them. So I don't think we have to worry about one thing in particularly too much. We got to do what we do best, because there's teams in our conference that run, teams in our conference that slow it down. We played against all types of different paces. This is another team that's just a little more uptempo, and we got to be able to handle it.
Q. Nigel, last night Oregon had 36 points in the paint. It's been a bone of contention for you guys this season. Just talk about defending the paint against the Ducks.
NIGEL HAYES: They're a team that likes to drive the lane. They have big guys down there as well. We have to not let them establish post presence. Once it happens, it forces the guards to help. That will put us in a quandary with them trying to help down and kick out and defending it. We have to make sure we guard that pretty well.
Q. Traevon, I was wondering, how much of a challenge is it going to be to get the ball inside to your big guys with Oregon's lane and speed? Is that going to be one of the challenges?
TRAEVON JACKSON: Yeah, I think everybody does a pretty good job of pressuring the ball and getting the ball into the post. That's something we have to stress is just doing what we want to do regardless of how they play, and we got to make adjustments throughout the game, and, you know, whatever is to our benefit we have to do.
Q. Sam, when you face a team that doesn't have another seven-footer or 6-11 guy, got a guy like Frank, how much do you encourage him to go down in the post or how much is related to what your game plan is for that game?
SAM DEKKER: We like going to Frank, obviously. He's first team all Big Ten performer, so you want to get your best players touches. Frank is another guy we're comfortable going to, no matter who is on court, whether it's seven-footer or, you know, tallest guy is 6-5. Doesn't matter. We want to go to Frank a lot of times. When he's playing well inside and scoring buckets and finding open guys, just opens up the court for our prolific outside shooters that we have.
So a lot of times when we see Frank inside, I think he does some things that some other guys can't do. When he gets going, we're a much better team.
Q. Sam, are you familiar with Elgin Cook from AAU days, anything like that?
SAM DEKKER: Yeah. I've seen him play a lot of times, growing up 45 minutes from each other. We were in a lot of the same gyms growing up, AAU stuff and travel teams. I always loved watching him play because he's so athletic and such a good player in the city of Milwaukee, really respected in our state.
So, I don't really know him on a personal level, but I've seen him play multiple times and he's a guy I enjoyed seeing play.
Q. Nigel, Sam, and Traevon, can you kind of take yourselves away from what you're concentrating on the Oregon game, that sort of thing, and just watch the tournament as fans, do you enjoy those upsets that happened like particularly today Mercer and Duke and the ones yesterday?
NIGEL HAYES: I personally fear upsets because of us being a 2 seed (laughter). That's something I don't want to think about too much. As far as that goes, we have to make sure we come out every game and take care of business.
SAM DEKKER: We were talking last night. It was the North Dakota State game, and we know some guys at North Dakota State and watching that game. We were saying, you know, lot of these games during the season, there's no way these would all go to overtime. We said no way these all go down to the last possession, but it's just what happens in March. The teams don't want to go down, they don't want to lose. And everything just gets turned up to another level, and teams fight to the end, and they're always going to be close games. Always going to be games when you're wondering what's going on. Once you get on the court, you throw the seeds aside.
TRAEVON JACKSON: The seeds really go after everyone. The talent is so spread out from high Division I to low Division I. It doesn't matter. So many guys are talented. You see any team can be beat on any given night. And regardless of who is a better team throughout the season, it's who is better on that night. That's the focus that we have to -- we've been trying to develop as a team, and you have to come with that up right now in this tournament.
Q. For any of you guys, during the season a good deal was made about Wisconsin getting a high enough seed to end up in Milwaukee. First part, was that a goal to end up here? And secondly, once you've gotten here, is there truly a home court advantage of playing in Milwaukee, or does it really not make a difference at this point?
TRAEVON JACKSON: I think that, you know, our goal was, you know, to be as best as we can be, and we came up little bit short. But I think with our body of work during the season, we're pretty satisfied with being in Milwaukee. And it's good to have our fans here, to be somewhat close to home. But, you know, still at the end of the day, we're still on the road.
We want to treat it as a road game, just because we don't like being too comfortable in terms of thinking that all our fans are here so it's going to be easier. It's not going to be easier at all. You know, we still got to play basketball. You know, the court is still there. The fans don't shoot the ball, we do. We're the ones who shoot and pass and dribble. We still got to handle business on the court.
Q. This is for any of the three of you or all three of you. After your game was over yesterday, did you spend a lot of time, did you come out and watch Oregon? Did you get a personal scouting report, or do you just rely on seeing what you see on film and in the scouting report?
SAM DEKKER: No. We didn't go back up and watch. We want to get back to the hotel, just relax. I watched some of the game right after that, but I didn't look too much into things last night. I just wanted to relax and enjoy the games.
This morning it goes into full effect, scout mode and worrying about the Ducks. Yesterday I didn't think about it too much right after the game, just wanted to relax a little bit. Just play the game, mentally and physically worn down. Today is fully go time.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for the student-athletes? Traevon, Sam, Nigel, thank you.
NIGEL HAYES: Thank you, everyone.
THE MODERATOR: Please welcome Wisconsin Coach, Bo Ryan. Coach, maybe some opening thoughts about facing Oregon tomorrow, and then we'll open it up for questions, please.
COACH BO RYAN: Well, just did a radio interview and I threw out the question of, has anybody ever faced two more opposite teams in back-to-back games in the NCAA Tournament?
So, first thing I threw out is a hint, was who did Princeton and Georgetown -- who did Georgetown play after they played Princeton? Anybody know? Anybody look it up already?
Somebody went -- it was no Notre Dame, but it wasn't a Notre Dame. It was Kelly Tripucka was back there. Wasn't Notre Dame that really ran up and down. I think our team might be the biggest contrast in preparation. I'll just throw it out there until somebody finds two other teams in back-to-back games (laughter). That's my opening statement.
We have to face a team that gets it up and down, they can score in half court, they can score in full court. They put a lot of pressure on you. Very athletic. Dana has done a heck of a job with them. That's our task.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Coach. Questions.
Q. Bo, a little bit off topic. I was just wondering if you were able to enjoy the reaction to that game last night?
COACH BO RYAN: Those are bison horns, so people know. I had to answer that question. Some of my guys. Yeah, I texted, talked with my son, Will, who is one of the assistants for North Dakota State and Saul Phillips, who played for me at Platteville, for those who don't know, and who coached with me at Milwaukee and Madison.
My wife was just -- she was the one that gets really nervous watching the game. I could just tell I was watching Oregon and Arizona on my DVD player and listening to my wife's comments, and I could tell what was happening with the North Dakota State game. Yeah, we were pretty excited.
Q. Bo, do you get a chance, because you played your early game yesterday, to actually watch a little bit of Oregon? Or do you have obligations and you just stick to your film watching?
COACH BO RYAN: Oh, no, we have an assistant that's watched 20-some of their games and I've watched about seven. Watched some more tonight, watch some tomorrow. We're always looking for something. But, you know, you're not going to change much at this time of the year. It's points of emphasis, bullet points that you make when you're talking to the players.
We just finished a practice where we went over, you know, their tendencies and more importantly things that we need to do, things that we have more control over.
Q. Coach, you mentioned watching the Arizona game. Are there other games of theirs that you feel like stylistically will help you prepare, the same token, the way they get up and down, is there somebody you faced this year that you can fall back on in preparation a little bit?
COACH BO RYAN: Each Coach is different and each personality of the teams are different. You can see some tendencies of maybe certain teams. Illinois played them earlier in the year in December. Saw that game. UCLA, Oregon State, Washington. Just saw a lot of those. And, you know, they have a way they want to play.
And if they can do that, especially the way they started out, they were kind of like us, a hot start, maybe a rough spot, and you catch fire a little bit. Just seems the way college basketball is nowadays, other than maybe a very small minority of teams.
So, yeah, we get a little bit of info from every game.
Q. Bo, with you now being one of the godfathers of college basketball, 700 wins and all that, you've got a coaching tree out there now with Rob and Saul and those guys, how much pleasure do you take this time of the year when you see guys have success with that?
COACH BO RYAN: How did you know I got into the olive oil business? (Laughter). I don't explain them.
You know what, it's nice to have lasted this long. It's hard in this profession. I don't know if anybody told the media, but winning is hard, surviving is hard, but it's a labor of love. It's what you choose to do. And as I said before in a question that was asked about getting in the profession, mine was as a teacher first and I was hired as a teacher and given the basketball job at a junior high school.
So I'm really happy where I am in this profession, because it's still all about teaching and coaching. And to have guys that either played for you, coached with you, worked with you, worked at your camps, did this or that, to see them out in the profession now doing things, that's pretty neat. That's really fun to see.
Q. Since the beginning when you started going to the tournament and you played these Thursday, Saturday games and Sunday games, has your approach changed at all in terms of what you learned over the years and how to prepare the team? Do the legs get tired after a game like yesterday, or have you changed anything over the years?
COACH BO RYAN: Just think back to when you have three practices to prepare for a team. You usually get three maximum for 90 percent of the season.
So, we have a number of possessions that we use the day before a game. So what we did today was the number of possessions that we do the day before the game is less than what it is two, three days before the game. But you still get some shooting in, you still do that.
And also there's -- we don't stand around a lot, but there's more stoppages in play to make a point about the other team, this is what they're going to do in this situation, this is their out of bounds, this is their full court pressure, this is what they do on free throws.
So, it's not as much on the legs on a day like today. But you still -- I've never -- people talk about walk-thrus. Never had a walk-thru in 42 years because you don't walk-thru. Every time you run a possession, you never go half speed. That's when people get hurt. That's when things, you know, the guys start to not pay attention as much.
So, we always do everything at game speed. It's just we stop the action and then go back and everything is done as quickly and as game speed like as we can.
Q. Coach, Andy Glockner of Sports Illustrated suggested that UNVL versus Ball State and Loyola Marymount in --
COACH BO RYAN: That's not a contrast. Ball State ran it up and down.
Q. Said the score was 62-60. The next one was in the 90s or 100s. Something to think about.
COACH BO RYAN: Who was at Ball State then? Rick? Ray? What year?
COACH BO RYAN: Ray McCallum, Rick Majerus.
THE MODERATOR: I would think Rick. Not official.
COACH BO RYAN: Dennis isn't going on the record. You can go on the record. Okay. At least we got a contender out there. 1990.
Q. Coach, can you talk about your familiarity with Elgin Cook and him being a Milwaukee native and seeing him play in his youth and now at Oregon?
COACH BO RYAN: I'm happy for a young man that can go the route he did, be able to compete, work towards a college degree on this level. Every player from Milwaukee, Wausau, Madison, anybody from the state that gets a chance to go on and further their education, I'm all for them. He's another example of that.
Q. Bo, if we get back to Saul Phillips for a second. When he played and worked for you, was there something about his basketball IQ or work ethic that made you think he might eventually be a pretty good head Coach.
COACH BO RYAN: When I saw him play in high school at Reedsburg, which ended up being a hot bed for us at Platteville and then at Madison, it was UWM, Clayton Hanson asked out of his scholarship at UWM when I took the job at Wisconsin, but when I saw him in Reedsburg, always hustled, good leader, and I understand recently he told the story of because he always -- I always said he was one injury away from being a starting point guard on an undefeated game of 31-0 in 1995. He says it's more like the whole bus having an accident away from being the point guard, but I try to humor him as much as I can.
He told the story, I guess, about -- we were playing somewhere. Must have had a lot of his family there, whatever, they started chanting, "We want Saul, we want Saul."
So "Saul, come here."
Saul starts taking off his warmups. He comes running over.
"Saul, you see those people up there who are yelling? Go up there and see what they want (laughter).
So he did. Saul, he's pretty -- his wit doesn't compare. I don't know if anybody's wit compares to his. He enjoys doing what he's doing. He always tells people, "Hey, I could be running my dad's hardware store now. Look, I'm doing this. This is a lot of fun."
You've heard all those. He was always a hard worker, smart, great personality. I'm glad my son is with him. My son is learning a lot with him.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else for Coach? Thank you. Good luck tomorrow.
COACH BO RYAN: All right. Thanks.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports