Wisconsin Final Four Report - Thursday - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Wisconsin Final Four Report - Thursday

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Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan and Kentucky coach John Calipari meet the media on Thursday Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan and Kentucky coach John Calipari meet the media on Thursday
Wisconsin senior guard Ben Brust Wisconsin senior guard Ben Brust

Arlington, TX (WQOW) -- The national spotlight is shining bright on the Badgers at the Final Four. The team meets the media for the first time at a press conference on Thursday.

Wisconsin and Kentucky are meeting in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. That game was played in the Sweet 16 in the Metrodome in Minneapolis. When they meet again Saturday it will be at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, another football venue. One of the biggest challenges is dealing with the sight lines.

"We've played a lot of different arenas. Whether it be a smaller arena, whether it be a pro arena, a college arena or now a football stadium, we're going to do all the same things we always do. Coach Ryan does a great job with that. We get shots whenever we go to different places. So I think we just prepare the same way any place we go to, and it works for us. So we're just going to continue doing that," says senior guard Ben Brust.

Another big key for all the team at the Final Four is managing the emotions. It's not an easy thing to do with all the hype leading up to a Final Four.  But Bo Ryan has confidence in his Badgers.

"Once the ball is first thrown up, you still have to manage in those first timeouts -- no matter if it's division one or division three -- you still have to manage those emotions and energy and try to channel it the right way. Get everyone focused on what it is we do and don't try to be someone we're not," says head coach Bo Ryan. "So again, we try to encourage our kids to take in the ambience and the surroundings. But when it comes time to play, then just be who you are."

The national media had definitely discovered Bo Ryan this Final Four week. But Ryan says just because he's made it to this point in his career, at a Final Four in division one, he's not going to change who he is, he's not going to change the way he runs a program. Ryan says he's the same coach as when he coached at UW-Platteville or even way back at Sun Valley High School in Pennsylvania.

"I'm the same person I was three weeks ago, a month ago," says Ryan. "So for me, it's not what you think it is to me because of how I got into the profession. I was a teacher first in junior high and then they gave me a coaching job. I didn't do it the way most of the guys who are coaching now, I just happened to do it a different way. I get excited seeing a student get an 'A' on a test the same as seeing a player get better and perform well. So for me, I want you to put it on the players. I'm happy to be here and roam the sidelines."

Ryan has his best offensive team at Wisconsin. All five starters are averaging over 32-percent from three point range and four of the five starters are averaging in double figures.
 
"We've gone out there and done some good things. It's nice to go through the lay up lines and look around and see all the guys I have on my team and say it could be his night, or his night or his night. So, we definitely do a good job of being efficient offensively and I love that we have a really unselfish group and we all care about each other, which makes it really fun to go out there and play with them," says Brust.

Bo Ryan's team's have always been known for their physical and mental toughness. It's something that has caught Kentucky's attention.

"We've been informed that this is one of the better offensive teams that they've had," adds Kentucky freshman Julius Randle. "They can really score the ball, move the ball and they've always had a great coach so it'll definitely be a challenge for us."

The Badgers will hold a practice Friday open to the public at AT&T Stadium. Sports Director Bob Bradovich will be on hand and will have reports Friday. Bob will also be part of a special half-hour preview show on the Badgers, which will air Friday at 6:30 P.M.

 

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