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March 7, 2011MADISON - Minutes after his team was drilled by a white-hot shooting Ohio State squad, Bo Ryan took to the podium at his postgame press conference.
The veteran coach could have took a sullen, disappointed approach in front of the media, however, having been through the grind of major college basketball as long as he has, the wily Ryan had a different approach in mind.
"He hit 10 at Penn State," Ryan told reporters during his weekly Monday presser in regards to Jon Diebler's performance. "It was just a matter of trying to break the ice in the room at the press conference when I mentioned that we did a hell of a job limiting him to seven.
"How about that one guy's laugh? He was into it. What else are you going to do when you get kicked?"
Wisconsin, of course, lost 93-65 to the nation's undisputed No. 1 team at Ohio State. The Buckeyes shot a blistering 93 percent (14-of-15) from distance, including 14 in a row to end the game. The loss dropped the Badgers to a three seed in this weeks upcoming Big Ten tournament.
UW will play the winner of the Penn State, Indiana game come Friday night. The tournament will give the Badgers an opportunity to get back onto the court after one of its more humbling outcomes in recent memory.
"I can't change that one at that time," Ryan said. "We can change some things getting prepared. But (Diebler's) on fire. It started with us fouling him on the first one that he made. He missed his first, but he was real comfortable.
"When you get real comfortable you've got to try to take somebody out of that. It didn't matter. There wasn't a whole lot of separation there with the threes that he took."
Entering Sunday's disaster inside Value City Arena, Wisconsin had done a swell job of limiting opponents and their scoring outputs. Though UW's defensive proficiency hasn't been its best from an efficiency standpoint, it has still done a fine job of limiting opponent's final scoring output. Until Sunday, only one opponent (Purdue) had reached the 70-point plateau.
Ohio State cruised past that with nine minutes to play during Sunday's game.
Are the defensive shortfalls and the miscues that haunted the Badgers particularly on the perimeter correctible?
"You always believe they are," Ryan said. "They did some things. The three's are what stand out, but it was some stuff early that there are just times when people must be forgetful. They forgot some things. It's not giving anybody up to be the sacrifice because I've never done that. It's just that there are things that guys did that weren't a part of what was being prepared and you pay for it.
"Just like everybody else does."
In a game where so many things went wrong, the best thing to come out of it is the fact that the Badgers still get to play on. Sunday's loss to the Buckeyes wasn't the end all be all for the 2010-11 season.
Like it has done so many times before, UW will have a chance to bounce back following a loss and extend that winning streak to 20 games. There is nothing more welcoming after a tough loss than the fact that the season plays on.
"That game could have been scheduled in the middle of the season," Ryan quipped. "The two best games that Ohio State played at home were against the two teams that beat them. Does that have anything to do with anything? Purdue, I think they (OSU) beat them first and then they went to Purdue and lost. So they come to our place and they lose. So now you're going back there and Purdue loses the night before.
"Ohio State, just ask them, they knew there won't be any tie. The way they played, it was letting it all hang out. They're good. They're very capable. It just shows you how fortunate we were to get the one here."
Wisconsin, for the 11th straight season, earned a bye in the Big Ten Tournament. UW will seek its third conference tournament championship and will host the winner of the No. 6 Penn State - No. 11 Indiana tilt.
It will give the Badgers another chance to gain some potential ground when the NCAA tournament field is announced in less than a week.
"If you have to play those three games in a row or four games in a row as some teams happen to, what does that leave you if you're in the tournament," Ryan said. "In the ACC, Big 12 and Pac 10, teams have lost their first game and used that time to actually get some good things down or things in house organized a little better. There are other teams that get on a roll, get to the championship game and then boom, take that and go.
"There isn't an answer. There's always speculation. You go there to be the team that's on the left hand side after you play and then you get somebody else. You just compete, but I can't say winning or losing early has been a factor in the NCAA tournament."
SOME FORESHADOWING .MAYBE?
With the recent swell in recognition that junior guard Jordan Taylor has been receiving, the elephant in the room is starting to emerge. Will he test the NBA draft waters? Will he return for his senior season? Etc, etc, etc.
Though most close to program think he'll return for his senior season, it seemed as though Ryan might have hinted otherwise. Of course, the veteran coach could just be talking about the rest of the current season and this reporter could have simply read too much into the following comments.
The reader can decipher it however he/she wants.
When asked about Taylor's overall numbers in conference play and whether people truly understand the significance and importance of them, Ryan responded with the following:
"To do the things that he has accomplished to this point - and I certainly hope he has a lot more in him - because it's fun to want. But he's done some things where it's obvious we're not 13-5 (without him). You could say that about every player, basically. He's just had that kind of season where he's made things happen for his teammates and for himself to put us where we are. He's earned it.
"I don't know where he was picked early in the year. Do you guys ever go back to October and look at who was picked for what? He wasn't on any lists? Good for him. You would hope a guy like that would be unanimous because I don't know of that many guys in the league that did more for their teams the way he did with the numbers that show he's not a one-man show.
"We're looking at assists and we're looking at defense. He should be on the all-defense team. He's guarded some people and done a very good job - not so much on number of steals because we're not an in the passing lane, run and jump type team - but he's always been so solid handling screens and handling the guy he's assigned to. Then, even if he gets into a switch situation, how he's ended up blocking out some pretty big guys and doing a great job with what.
"But I always like to say it's early yet. I certainly hope he's got a chance with the rest of his teammates - Jon Leuer, Keaton Nankivil, Tim Jarmusz and the seniors - to wear Wisconsin for quite a few more games."
-With a win at Indiana and a loss at No. 1 Ohio State, Wisconsin dropped from No. 10 in both national polls to No. 13 when they were released Monday afternoon.
-The Big Ten Network will unveil the All-Conference awards, including player of the year and coach of the year, Monday night starting at 6:00 p.m. (central). Leuer and Taylor are two players, along with Josh Gasser who could be up for some hardware or recognition.
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