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Ryan says UW’s defense can be even better

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Associated Press
January 5, 2010
— Wisconsin leads the Big Ten in scoring defense and just rose six spots in the polls.

Coach Bo Ryan, however, said Monday his 17th-ranked team has room for improvement as it prepares for its toughest week of the season so far. Just don’t try to get him to say what the problems are.


“I’m not pleased with a lot of things but for me to express it really doesn’t help a lot of things unless it’s expressed in a constructive way, looking at a tape or on the practice floor or something else with my players,” Ryan said. “So I don’t air that in public, never have. Believe me, we’ll still be working defensively today in practice.”


Wisconsin hasn’t shown many major kinks on its way to a 12-2 start, including 2-0 in the Big Ten. The Badgers have beaten three ranked opponents in Maryland, Duke, and Ohio State. It gets two more ranked teams this week, on the road Wednesday (5:30 p.m., Big Ten Network) against


No. 10 Michigan State (11-3,


1-0 Big Ten) and at home Saturday against No. 4 Purdue (13-0, 1-0).


Much of Wisconsin’s success is due to that stingy defense.


The Badgers are allowing only 56.4 points per game, tops in the Big Ten and fourth best in the country. They held Penn State to nearly 24 points below its average on Sunday.


“I know people look at numbers but I look at possessions and there’s things, several clips that we took out from the Penn State game, where we can be better defensively,” Ryan said.


With so much not to be pleased with, what is the coach happy about?


“We landed in State College and we took off safely from State College and I’m really pleased with that,” he said. “Fifty, 60 mile-per-hour winds. That’s what I’m pleased with.”


Seriously, Bo. What’s the secret to the defense’s success?


“The reason we’ve had some success defensively is we’ve played together with the idea and the whole mindset that we can still improve a lot,” Ryan said. “As long as they feel they’re green and they’ll grow, then we’re in pretty good shape as far as effort goes.”



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