March 9, 2012
MODERATOR: Let's start with the coach giving an opening statement then go to questions for the student athletes. Coach?
COACH RYAN: Well, needless to say we had a player that was in the zone and teammates found him he worked hard to get open. And I think Rob Wilson's the story of the game as far as our offense end goes. And defensively, we did just enough to get by. But I think Rob has really stepped into his own here at the end of the year, and I know his teammates are thankful.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student athletes.
Q. Rob, how often have you been in the interview room before and when is the last time I know you haven't had this kind of game in college before, but when is the last time you had a game like this in your life?
ROB WILSON: High school maybe. I don't recall having I mean the weight of the ball felt like it was going in today. I don't remember that feeling in a long time. I don't know the last time I've been in the interview room.
Q. Rob, as you're heating up like that, what are your teammates saying to you as you're just getting more and more successful from the 3 point line?
ROB WILSON: They saying the same thing they always been telling me. Just be confident and always look to be aggressive.
Q. Rob, at the end of your career, to have a game like this, what's it mean to you right now? What are your emotions right now?
ROB WILSON: Right now it's a good feeling that we get to play another game in the tournament. And we get to go against a team that we failed to earlier this year to prove something.
Q. Jordan, a couple things I think you've said maybe even last year that Rob has, some things maybe not to this level, but are you surprised by anything you saw today? And then the second, part can you talk about the intentional foul call? What happened on that?
JORDAN TAYLOR: No. I think I meant to this level, I think Rob is he's a scorer. He can put it in the hole and he showed that tonight. But it's something he's been doing here recently now, and I'm just happy for him. I'm so happy, I wish I had 30, because the most important thing, we got the win.
And the intentional foul, I just thought I was just trying to get back in front of him and I guess I grabbed him, so it was an easy call.
Q. Jordan, you're kind of struggling there a little bit in the first half. How important was it for Rob to pick you up like that? And also how much better is this team with Rob performing like this this late in the year?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Yeah, it was definitely huge for Rob to step up like that. That's what coach talks about a lot. When a teammate is down, you gotta pick him up, and I think everybody really buys into that.
And as far as being a better team, what he's doing now, I think we're infinitely times better. Obviously teams are going to prepare for guys who are with the higher averages, but when you get a guy like Rob who may not kind of like a sleeper. We know what he can do but they might not, and you come in and he made 'em pay today.
Q. For Jared and Rob. Back to back possessions where one fed one guy and the other fed the other guy, could you take us back to those plays and what did you see in each of those plays that you fed each other for hoops?
JARED BERGGREN: The first one, I think I got a touch on the block and started to make a move, and I saw Rob cut to the basket, found him open, and I think he pumped back and had a good finish, though. That was good. And then on the second one, I had a little kind of wing screen action with Jordan going. And first time, I think it might have been there, too, and Jordan kind of told me, he's like, run to the rim. And then second time he went and set the screen, he just yelled, read it. And then I read it, Rob came over the top, I ran to the rim, had an open pass, Rob found me, and a couple big plays there.
ROB WILSON: Just like going off what Jared just said. He had the ball in the post on the first, the plays you guys talking about, I just cut to the rim, consistent movement. And Jared's a good passer, and he found me. On the second play, Jared set the screen. He just made himself big and no one was on him so I just found him.
Q. Guys, Jared, Jordan, at what point did you notice Rob was really in the zone and really going to stay and he wasn't going to miss?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Just I think he hit two threes in a row there from the top of the key, and I think on the second one, it was kind of like he's got it going, especially there in the second half. But like I said, we know Rob can do that. I've seen him get hot, maybe not in the game to this point, but in open gym, other stuff like that. We're with each other 45 weeks out of the year, so I've seen Rob get hot before and it definitely wasn't surprising.
JARED BERGGREN: I don't know if I can pinpoint a specific point where I knew that he was hot, but you could definitely feel it and you could see the confidence in him and it was good. And, I mean, he's been doing this in practice, in these last few games, and he's really been coming on for us. I can't honestly say I expected him to have 30 before the game. I knew he was capable of putting up good numbers, so it was fun to see.
Q. Rob, knowing how well you've played this second half of February and obviously now into March, knowing your career with Wisconsin is coming to an end, is there any active change? Are you saying I'm going to go out with a bang or anything like that?
ROB WILSON: Yeah. You always want to go out with a bang, but it's that time of the year when every team in the country steps it up and every player steps it up because it's tournament time. So that's what I did, stepped up as a senior's supposed to.
Q. For Jared and Jordan, you've all alluded to the defense did just enough to get by. How tough is it to defend against Indiana? But also there were two blocks. Jared, you had one on the jumper, and I think Ryan had one as well. Those turned out to be key plays.
JARED BERGGREN: Both those turned out to be pretty big plays. They were kind of chipping away at our lead and trying to make a comeback, so any time you can get a stop when they're trying to get a little momentum going, trying to get the crowd back into it, things like that, both of them are big.
And I thought we gave up a little more points than we normally do, a little higher scoring game than what we are really used to playing in, so defensive effort wasn't great, but like you said, it was enough to get by.
JORDAN TAYLOR: Jared pretty much said it. They did a great job of just keep fighting back. And every time we kind of pushed our lead up, they just went to getting it right back down to two or three or whatever it was. And we just did a good enough job, like Coach said, to withstand their runs.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Ryan?
Q. Bo, can you honestly say you saw that coming from Rob?
COACH RYAN: Pardon me?
Q. Can you honestly say you saw that coming or anything close to that coming from Rob Wilson?
COACH RYAN: You know, he's had some streaks on the scout team. Last year we probably should have red shirted him with the hamstring injury, but he kept battling through it.
And because he couldn't do some of the things that he wanted to do, I think he withdrew internally somewhat about the aggressiveness to getting minutes and getting on the floor.
So sometimes other guys come in and they're performing better. Josh Gasser, hard to get him to the bench, hard to take his minutes away. It's a competitive world.
So what happened was we started talking about the clock ticking one day in the locker room, and I should have used the term sooner. But with the assistants and I talking about it, it's like ever since and he realized, hey, yeah, this is it. So is that what it takes to no, you still have to put the ball in the basket.
I mean, there are a lot of guys who can give go out there and run around and really hustle and will do this or that. But in order to execute, that's something that comes from within.
He believes every shot he takes is going to go in. We've got some guys on our team that don't believe that. They try to get us to believe it, but if they played defense, hustle rebound, things like that, guys can play for us. But Rob is one of those guys where in streaks, he has done this in practice at times.
But did I see 30? No. But I've known some guys that got lucky for one night. But that wasn't luck. I mean, you look at those shots, he was open. His teammates got him the ball. He was squared up. I think he might have forced one shot, one shot that might not have been a solid follow through finish type of shot, round the basket or from 3 point range.
And if you want to write down that I should have been playing him more sooner, feel free. Where were you earlier to say: Hey, how come?
But we sure enjoy having him and he's worked so hard. His mom was so proud for Senior Day. First in the family. He's going to get his degree this end of the spring. It's pretty good stuff. So but we gotta play tomorrow. We got another 40 minutes. So hopefully he has a lot more in him. Okay. That's it for Rob.
Q. Wisconsin has struggled in the tournament in the last couple of years. I know you're not thinking about the past; you're thinking about this year but
COACH RYAN: Where were you between '04 and '08? Were you doing your job here?
Q. In the past couple years.
COACH RYAN: Oh, okay. Bad timing.
Q. But does that makes it extra gratifying to be getting a strong start this year?
COACH RYAN: I think we beat a good team. I think we came into a tough environment I think for our guys. You have always wanted your guys to play as many games as they can. So we didn't even talk about '08, '09 or '10 and we just prepared for Indiana. So I can't say that it's any different. Feels good, but that will die off. And we got a tough one tomorrow.
Q. For those of us who don't follow your program, could you talk a little bit more Rob, just the kind of kid he is, what he's gone through in his time at Wisconsin, just who he is because he's very quiet.
COACH RYAN: He is quiet, but, boy, he works. He's always done everything we've asked.
You know, as we grow as human beings, there's just certain times in our lives where maybe things click. I've seen it happen to so many young people. Whether it's on a basketball court or in the classroom or for people socially, they become they mature a lot. I always think of that cheese that doesn't get passed because it hasn't matured.
People mature at different stages and things click at different stages. I'm just glad that this is his stage. And his teammates really appreciate that, too, because there's no one who dislikes Rob Wilson. No one.
Q. In addition to Wilson's second half scoring, at halftime, what did you tell the guys would be the key to victory not the key to victory, but the key to sustaining the lead the second half, playing on what was essentially home court advantage for IU?
COACH RYAN: Well, we've been pretty good on the road so I wasn't concerned about that. Our guys had confidence away from the Kohl Center. Not overconfident that's for sure. But they believe they can get things done.
We just needed to do a better job of we had three turnovers in the first half, and two of them were shot clock violations, not because we were intentionally taking it down, but the ball got tipped away. And so while the ball was rolling on the ground, especially on one of them, it gets off in the corner and then we don't get a chance to get a shot.
So we were talking about making sure we got a good shot whenever it appeared, 25 seconds on the shot clock, 10, 30. If it's a good shot, we're not knocking it down. So we reminded them of that.
And then defensively to try to keep the ball out of the post. Zeller has improved so much, and I thought we did a good job of making them work, which if you make somebody work on offense, they're not as good defensively. Or at least we've seen that a lot of times with bigs.
So that's what we talked about at halftime, just try to keep it out of post and take away dribble drives. We must have been when I look at the DVD, I'm sure there were fouls so or they wouldn't have called them. But I think we were half a step behind on several of them. If we could have just gotten our bodies over there a little bit quicker, we could have done a better job with their penetration.
Q. Coach, when you in the game in Madison, I think you guys made four 3s. You made 13 today. Was it a more of a point of emphasis? Were the shots just there?
COACH RYAN: No, shots were there. I mean, that's what we got. Those were the looks. I thought our guys moved the ball extremely well. Wasn't that Indiana wasn't playing good defense. I just thought we made the extra pass several times. And I thought guys spaced better than we had in some games. And I think that allowed for open looks.
Q. Some criticize the Wisconsin style. Do games like today answer that criticism or how do you
COACH RYAN: I never heard anybody.
Q. Can you just talk about what Bud Foster has meant to the Wisconsin program? I know that obviously you passed him in wins today, not about that achievement, but what he meant to this program.
COACH RYAN: Well, he won a national championship. There are schools that don't have any. A lot of schools. Wisconsin has one. And that team he had was pretty good. I had a chance to meet some of those guys and I had a chance to meet Coach Foster. A gentleman, first class, a guy you definitely would want to play for. Stuck up for his players. And obviously did a pretty good job because he lasted 20 some years in the Big Ten, and that's hard to do. Even back then. He's a good man.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with questions for the student athletes. We'll get Coach Crean here shortly. So questions for these guys.
Q. Did you guys sense the absence of Verdell Jones today?
JORDAN HULLS: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Having a good player like Verdell not being able to play for us, it's pretty difficult, but a lot of years have been the next guys stepping up, and we have the guys on the bench who can fully do that. But you can't replace directly a guy like Verdell, but we just gotta adapt to that.
Q. How difficult is it to top a Wisconsin team when they're shooting like that and seems like everything is falling from beyond the arc for them early?
CHRISTIAN WATFORD: It's difficult, but we did some crazy stuff. We just weren't playing intelligent on the defensive end and they made some shots.
Q. Cody, you only finished with one rebound. What were they doing defensively, keeping from you pulling down some of those rebounds?
CODY ZELLER: I mean, some of it has to do with them shooting 3s, but a lot of it had to do with me. I gotta catch up at the boards harder. I gotta give better effort.
Q. Jordan, with the win yesterday and the competitive loss today, what did you guys really, really get out of these two rounds?
JORDAN HULLS: We always want to compete and obviously win, but I felt like we played hard, but we have to play a lot smarter to carry that into the next games that we have to play. So we gotta play more intelligent and get that team chemistry and keep building on that.
Q. When you guys say you didn't feel like you were playing intelligent on defense, what does that mean? What did you feel like you guys were doing wrong? What wasn't working for you on that end?
JORDAN HULLS: Just whether it's switching. Whether it's closing out with the hand lower than it needs to be on a shooter there, just rising up and hitting shots and pretty much open, so just gotta communicate a lot better and that's just part of being intelligent.
Q. Jordan, until that 3 pointer you took at the very end, you didn't attempt one, Matt Roth didn't attempt one. Were they just taking that away today?
JORDAN HULLS: I was just trying to be aggressive off the pick and roll, so my shots were just mostly pull up jumpers. I wasn't going to try to force 3 pointers if it wasn't there. So for me, that's what I really felt. But as far as Matt or anybody else, that's probably partly my fault too not driving and kicking enough and finding an open man on the 3 point line.
Q. Christian, I know that you obviously don't want to lose in a tournament in the second round, but having those couple of days before Selection Sunday, does that give you guys a little bit of a chance to catch your breath and get ready for the NCAA tournament?
CHRISTIAN WATFORD: Oh, yeah, it does. But, like you said, we definitely didn't want to lose today, but we'll go back home and we'll get ready and we'll find out where we're playing and who we're playing. We'll be ready.
Q. Before the game what, if anything, did you guys know about Rob Wilson?
CODY ZELLER: I mean, our coaches did a pretty nice job of doing the scouting reports and stuff for us. We knew that he could shoot the ball, but we gave him too many openings. Especially once he got hot, we didn't change anything in our defensive strategy to get out on him more.
THE MODERATOR: Coach Crean, if you would please make an opening statement and then we'll go to your questions.
COACH CREAN: It was a high level game in a lot of respects. We shot almost 50 percent, they shot almost 50 percent. Rob Wilson had his best game I've ever seen him play. I'm not at Wisconsin so I don't know if they've seen him play better.
But as we told our team, he was the most improved player on our team since the first time we played him. He had a great game at Ohio State, and he really brought a different dose of energy to their team when he was in the game.
But to shoot it the way that he did today, in the last five games he hit seven threes and today he hit seven threes. Now, some of them were reading screens wrong, some of them were over help situations. The one late in the game where we helped on the (Jordan) Taylor drive and left him was a mistake. No question about it.
But they don't put anybody out on the floor that can't make shots. But as far as us scoring, we weren't having a lot of trouble scoring ourselves. We should have made it a little harder for them, but again, it was a high level game and we had some guys play very well, they had guys play very well. The difference was Rob Wilson played tremendous. And his aggressiveness and the way that he shot the ball, sometimes we were right there draped on him and he made shots; other times he was a product of good ball movement and our over helps.
But the other thing I would say about the game is every time we were close to getting momentum going back our way, they made a big play, and it was usually Rob Wilson making that play.
Q. Coach, kind of like what I asked Christian, the fact that you guys do have a couple of days to rest up, get healthy for the tournament, what will that mean to this ball
COACH CREAN: I'm not sure. We've been getting a lot of rest. As it is, our guys have a lot of energy. They're fresh. We didn't lose today because we didn't have energy, and it was both teams had it.
We won't make a lot of changes. I haven't really thought that far ahead and to that structure. So we'll get together as a coaching staff and decide what we need to do next.
Q. Coach, you kind of stuttered on this answer a little bit, but in terms of just defending the three and some of those things, just what all just didn't particularly go right there?
COACH CREAN: I think the over helps. I think the key with any great driver is you've go to keep your chest in front of the ball, and a couple times we didn't do that.
And Ryan Evans played very well, without a doubt. And Taylor, as much attention as we gave him, he did a good job of moving the ball today. And again, they're a highly skilled team.
And to have Rob Wilson playing that way for them, that's (how) you can sleep a lot better at night going into the tournament knowing that you've got a guy that's got those capabilities. But again, we knew he was playing better, and but to shoot it like that, he got hot. We didn't do a great of changing that. That we put different guys on him, but a couple instances we went under screens. Another instance we over helped on the post. And another instance we totally helped on the drive when we should have stayed connected to him. We really wanted to do a better job than what we did of staying connected to some of their shooters. But at the same time, when you have breakdowns on the ball, then that's going to create help situations.
Q. I know Will (Sheehey) returned to the game, but how's he doing going forward?
COACH CREAN: It's hard to tell. It's hard to tell right now. Haven't had a chance to talk to Tim Garland, our doctors. So we'll see here in a little while.
Q. Wisconsin did a good job taking away Victor Oladipo or at least making him work for his shots. He didn't shoot particularly well from the floor. What all did you see that went into that?
COACH CREAN: We still shot 50 percent almost for the game. And we didn't take a lot of 3s. Frankly, we didn't need to. We got the ball in the lane. We got the ball into some post up situations. We wanted to get to the foul line.
And Vic, it wasn't one of his better games. But there's a lot of room for improvement in him and he's improved a great deal this year. So we fully believe and expect that he will. We're asking him to do a lot, and he's been doing a lot more for us since the first injury to Verdell after the Michigan game or during the Michigan game and been a big part of why we've played so well. And now with Verdell out, he's gotta do even that much more.
But again, for him, so much of it comes down to how he's defending, and he did some really good things and shooting the ball on a couple decisions, he'd probably like to have that back, but we're very confident in what he can do.
Q. Tom, did you ever get an explanation as to why they wouldn't go to the monitor on the Elston charge?
COACH CREAN: The one late in the game? It's not reviewable. They said.
Q. Tom, I'm just curious what did your scouting report say going into this game about Rob Wilson?
COACH CREAN: Well, we said that he was again, in the short time of preparation, we watched as much film of him as of anybody. He was the most improved player in our minds since we'd played him the first time, and he didn't do a lot in that game. But really, the Ohio State game at Ohio State was where he really, I thought, came to life for their team.
So in the last five games, he was averaging six points but he'd made seven 3s. He was shooting 39 percent, I think. And we knew that he was an x factor because of his aggressiveness and his attack-ability. And there were times we were there, but there were other times that we weren't.
And certainly, when you begin your plan with Jordan Taylor and Ryan Evans and Jared Berggren, but Rob Wilson was fully accounted for in the way that we prepared. It just didn't look that way today, and he got really, really hot, and then we didn't do a great job of taking him away.
And again, some of the 3s he made, he earned them. And other ones he made because he was open because we over helped on the ball. But we were fully aware of Rob Wilson's been a factor for them for some time. But again, he really had been playing well for them.
So in a short period of time we just didn't want to let him get a lot of middle penetration. He's got a great burst and explosiveness. And again, when you don't have your chest in front of Rob Wilson or you don't have your chest in front of Jordan Taylor, those are problems. And there were too many times today where we didn't have our chest in front, and they hurt us with quickness and that created the helps.
Q. Coach, I know you're disappointed about today, but looking ahead, come Sunday, knowing what that program has been through the last three years, you know you're going to be selected. Just talk about what that moment is going to be like for you and this team.
COACH CREAN: I'm probably going to think more about that later. I'm not really in that mode. But it's well earned. I know that, as I've said of this team many times.
You have to earn your way in that door. That is a tough door to get in. And the door gets the room gets a little smaller once you get in, and that's where you don't want to beat yourself.
And I'll be excited for these guys. They've earned their way in. There's nobody that's handed them anything, there's nobody that they weren't anointed, the group, to go back to the NCAA Tournament. They really, really had to work.
So in that sense, I'll be really happy for them and look forward to seeing their faces and the families of the staff and my family's face. And about 15 minutes later, it will be time to start planning for who we're going to play.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.