Despite Badgers’ 2-game skid, Ryan confident

first_imgBo Ryan isn’t discouraged by UW’s play over its last two games and is confident moving forward.[/media-credit]After failing their first two tests of the season, there’s little discouragement coming from the top dog of the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team.The No. 14/16 Badgers (6-2) dropped two consecutive games against their first ranked opponents of the season by a combined 10 points last week after beating up on unranked foes by an average of about 26 points.By dropping out of the top-10 rankings in both major polls, Wisconsin may have disappointed some as the basketball season entered its second month, but head coach Bo Ryan isn’t necessarily one of them.“I don’t have levels of disappointment,” Ryan said in his weekly Monday press conference. “My job is to help people through the emotional rollercoasters that they’re on. They’re in their element right now, so somebody that’s been through it needs to help them get through it.“So I don’t measure my discouragement, or how discouraged I am; that’s really not what it’s ever been about. The key is … you can’t agonize over what did or didn’t happen. Just break the tape down, go over it.”Three days after falling on the road 60-57 to North Carolina, Wisconsin returned to the Kohl Center, where the team had not lost in 23 straight contests. But in-state rival Marquette, in a 61-54 win, laid that streak to rest Saturday afternoon.The most glaring trend from the two-game skid was the Badgers’ shooting percentage, which dipped from a .494 success rate in the first six games to a .371 clip in the two losses.Production slipped in other areas near the rim, as well. The Badgers were out-rebounded 86-61 by the Tar Heels and Golden Eagles after leading in that category in each of their first six matches.Marquette’s defense also got the better of Wisconsin in creating turnovers, an area UW usually excels in. The Badgers averaged 7.1 turnovers a game last year and were putting up 8.1 a game until the Golden Eagles created 12 takeaways on Saturday.One area the Badgers didn’t see a slide in production, Ryan said, was their own defense.Although North Carolina and Marquette both shot better than Wisconsin in their respective matches, the Badgers still limited their opponents’ ability to run an efficient offense. The Tar Heels converted 42.2 percent of their shots from the field, including 33.3 from the arc, while the Golden Eagles worked on a 38.3 percent clip from the field and a dismal 18.2 mark from the perimeter.“I thought, defensively, we stuck to our roles,” he said. “Didn’t do some things on the boards that I think we’re better than what we showed, so shore those up and it gives you a batter chance in the next one.”Nevertheless, Ryan said he was able to take away positives from his team’s lack of success in cleaning the boards.“They’re pretty gritty,” Ryan said of his team. “Physically, we might not match up real well with some of the teams you’re going to see us play, but I really liked how hard [the team played], especially the [North] Carolina game. If you break it down, and you go possession by possession and look at some of the things that our guys did, it’s very encouraging.”Wisconsin continues its tour of in-state rivals over the course of the next seven days with a home billing against Wisconsin-Green Bay Wednesday evening and, after Saturday’s game against Nevada-Las Vegas, a short road trip to Wisconsin-Milwaukee.The Badgers went undefeated last season against the trio of teams from the state of Wisconsin.UW always makes a point to reserve three of their non-conference games for their neighbors, and for Ryan, a former head coach at UW-M, it’s a welcomed segment of the schedule.“Having been on both ends of it, it’s pretty exciting because not every sport at [Wisconsin] has rivalries like that within the state,” Ryan said. “Having coached at UW-Milwaukee, I knew what it was like getting ready for this; you know what the players are thinking.“But still, on this end, there’s nothing like playing where there’s some familiarity, that’s for sure.”last_img