Badgers coach ‘is Burning’

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoThe University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team has been proving all year that this is a different Badger hoops team. The players are quick to admit that in past seasons, tough road contests at Northwestern and Illinois would almost certainly have been losses instead of wins. Yet more evidence that this is a different Wisconsin basketball team is rolling in as the Badgers are continuing to draw more and more national media attention, which historically has been sparse if not nonexistent. Tuesday afternoon, head coach Bo Ryan made an appearance on Jim Rome’s nationally acclaimed daily ESPN talk show “Jim Rome is Burning.” On the show, Ryan addressed subjects such as how his players are handling the intense scrutiny of being the No. 2 ranked team in the nation. “I think they’ve done a great job of handling all the attention,” Ryan said. “Now that classes have started, all their fellow students are back, and they’re adding even more to the excitement.” Ryan also shared complimentary words about his John Wooden Award candidate and star senior Alando Tucker, whom he claimed he knew early on was a one-of-a-kind player. “I knew he was special,” Ryan told Rome. “He scores in a lot of different ways, and he’s perfect for what we do.” The sixth-year Badger head coach also talked about what it was like to win his 500th career game earlier this season. “I’ve survived, and I think that survival is a good thing. Getting the 500th with a team like this, with a leader like Alando Tucker, it’s been pretty special,” Ryan said. “I’m living a pretty good dream right now, and it’s all because of the people who laid the groundwork ahead of us, and this is a lot of fun.” Ryan added that when he first got into coaching, he thought the junior high school team that in1972 was “about as good as it gets,” to which Rome replied, with a wry grin, “That was a hell of team, huh, Bo?” Ryan will also be featured in this week’s Sports Illustrated, which hits newsstands today, as the subject of award-winning columnist Rick Reilly’s back page column. In the column, Reilly describes Ryan as his new favorite coach. Bear down Tucker has had plenty of reasons to be a happy camper as of late, with his team riding the nation’s longest winning streak and his name often being dropped into the Wooden Award race. But it was hard to find Tucker happier about any recent development than when he was asked about the fortunes of his beloved Chicago Bears. “I’m very happy. We’re goin’ to the Super Bowl,” the Lockport, Ill., native exclaimed with a smile. Tucker went on to explain that he had plenty of fellow Bears diehards to share the joy with trying to reach him. “I had fans calling me all night last night,” Tucker said. “It kept me up; I had some people calling me at two in the morning, so they must’ve been happy.”last_img

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