Mt. Vernon Register-News


February 4, 2014

Wisconsin looks for answers, slides out of Top 25

The Associated Press

Bo Ryan sounded like a self-help guru.

Wisconsin’s coach still trusts his players even if they’ve lost five of their last six games. But if the Badgers have lost confidence along the way, they’re going to have to find some way to break out of the winter funk on their own.

The school-best 16-0 start is a distant memory. Maybe a trip to last-place Illinois on Tuesday will get them going.

“What happens with players ... if they have lost confidence, it isn’t because anybody doesn’t believe in them,” Ryan said Monday. “But it’s because they have self-doubts ... It’s a tough thing because it’s you — you’re the ones who have to overcome it.”

The Badgers (17-5, 4-5 Big Ten) are sliding down the league standings following losses last week to Northwestern and Ohio State that dropped them out of the Top 25 on Monday.

With three decades of coaching experience, Ryan has just about seen it all. In a typically calm voice, he spoke about the coaches’ duties to help to point guard Traevon Jackson and the rest of the team feel like they have a chance to succeed on every possession, every game.

To help gauge his team’s aptitude, Ryan for the first time gave his team a test during a video session. Twenty-eight clips, 28 questions.

“Pretty perceptive group. They caught a lot of the teaching points, but you never know,” he said.

It also gave him another avenue to figure areas in which the team needed to improve going into the Illini game.

“At least it was encouraging to know that this player did not rotate or this player did not pump fake or this player did not — and we did it without worrying about who, what individual it was,” Ryan said. “But the idea was, OK, these are the things that we have to work on.”

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