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February 3, 2012MADISON -- Just 24 hours before Saturday's scheduled tipoff, Bo Ryan met with the media Friday.
The Wisconsin head coach talked about a number of topics regarding Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft, and the rest of the Buckeyes.
Fueled by a thrilling second-half comeback, the Badgers knocked off the previously unbeaten top-ranked Buckeyes a year ago at the Kohl Center.
They need a similarly impressive performance Saturday to get a win over Big Ten-leading Ohio State.
The following is a transcript from Ryan's media session:
Question: How important will it be to limit Sullinger's touches tomorrow?
Ryan: Well, I mean, you always try to limit post touches period no matter who you're playing. So, it isn't like you're going to invent something new for the next team that's coming in. But he works hard, he's going to get touches. Other players are going to get touches.
You've just got to, if they do get touches, you've got to try to make sure they don't get something out of them. Touching the post's one thing, and then getting something out of it is something else.
Q: What's the big jump that Craft has made from last year to this year in your eyes? Obviously, he's getting more playing time, but he's always been a solid defender. Just, what are the big jumps you've seen from him watching film?
Ryan: Well, he's playing with some very good players and he distributes the ball and he's able to make plays defensively. He gets after people knowing he's that he's got some people in behind him that can clean up. So, you know, he's a good player on a good team.
Q: When you look at his defensive game, Craft's, it seems like he has really quick hands. How much does that benefit what he does defensively?
Ryan: Well, it means a lot. Having been someone who was known for that also, I can relate to those kind of guys. Quick hands are a good thing to have. As long as you're using them for the right reasons. Meaning not fouling; sometimes that can get you in trouble. Quick hands, quick feet, quick muscle twitch, in athletics, that's a pretty good thing.
Q: Bo, you're always the same whether it's a Tuesday night game in State College--
Ryan: [Quickly raises hand to face and back down] Did you see that?
Q1: Muscle twitch?
Q2: What'd I miss now?
Ryan: Quick hands.
Q: You're always the same whether it's a Tuesday night game in State College or a big Saturday game here. How well do you think your guys do at kind of maintaining a straight line and not getting too up or too down?
Ryan: Well, it's pretty simple. Success isn't an instant thing. It's something that develops over a long period of time. These guys didn't become good basketball players by one week working really hard and then going, 'Hey, now I think I'm a good basketball player. So, everything you do in life, it takes time.
Success is something that is a series of building blocks. And in order to stay successful you still have to improve. Once you maybe accomplish what you think is something good, there's always something around the corner. That's why I always talk about next. I don't see our guys getting too high or too low. You keep an even keel, you work. They're going to have to do that in their lives from the time they're 22 to 90, or 100, or 115, however long they get a chance to stay around.
It's the same as any other lesson in life. Just prepare for each moment, and do the best you can while you're doing it. That's all you can do. Because if you try to make a big deal out of one thing, what do you do the next time? I've said that a million times, so I figure you all have that one written down.
I don't think I'm the only one that's ever said it.
Q: For as good as Ohio State's been in past years, the recent past, they haven't had much success here. Any insight to that, why this place has doomed them in the last decade?
Ryan: No, not really. You know, our players have been successful against a lot of programs, so, to just single one out, I can't. I don't know. You've just got to give our players credit for what they've done. It isn't what somebody didn't do. It's what our guys have done.
Q: I think each of their starting five has led the team in scoring in a different game this year. How difficult is that to defend?
Ryan: Well, I mean, you always have to defend the five that are on the court. Some are 3-point shooters, some are more post players. Everybody has their strength. The only way you can win consistently for a long period of time is to be a team that recognizes strengths and tries to minimize those strengths of the other team.
Some nights you are. But the programs that are doing it more often than not are teams that are taking away the other team's strength as much as possible and trying to minimize their own weaknesses. That's how we teach.
Q: Is it fair or unfair to compare them and their athleticism to what you saw against Carolina earlier this year?
Ryan: Yeah, they're all different. All teams are different. Was that in this century we played North Carolina? I don't know. That's too far back. All the DVDs I'm looking at now are all Big Ten stuff. But you know, they've obviously manhandled several teams. So, they're pretty good. And that's more than just five guys. They've got depth also.