Here’s what the Badgers had to say about the win over Northwestern.
Q: Have you paid any attention to Michigan’s week, and kind of what they’ve been dealing with?
A: “It’s funny, I actually told the guys before we took off I was like, I think they’re going to play better now, because they have this, “We almost died,” kind of thing. So anything else, like having the Big Ten Tournament, is kind of taking a back seat, because they have life, so now it’s just like let’s go play basketball. Like I almost died, now I can go play basketball. It’s probably a blessing in disguise for them. As bad as it could have turned out, they’ve done a good job. Not that they weren’t already playing well to begin with, but I think it’s just more of a relaxer, on what they went through, and now they can just relax and play.”
Q:How big is this opportunity, to play a few more games here before the NCAA Tournament?
A: “It’s huge, it helps definitely, to see what we can do, what we’re capable of. We’re playing well. Obviously the ball going down, means we’re playing well. The basketball gods have a way of doing that for you. They can punish you when you don’t do well, and they can also take care of you with some shots.”
Q: You started the game with two air balls, which isn’t ideal. When that happens, do you just keep shooting, or what do you do?
A: “Oh yeah, keep shooting. I mean just keep swimming, just keep shooting. I can’t miss forever, and I won’t miss forever. I work too hard, put up too many shots. So, two air balls is perfectly fine…like I always say, I’m not the best shooter, but if Steph Curry airballs a shot, I’m allowed to airball a shot.”
“I just wanted to stay aggressive. The more aggressive I am, the better we play as a team. So if I can keep that doing, we’ll do alright.”
Q: Did you feel like you guys needed this tournament to get ready?
A: “I don’t know if we needed it. It’s definitely nice to have a couple of games where you can, you know, all come together, have fun playing, and obviously going into March Madness, hopefully we can keep it going.”
Q: After missing out on the Big Ten regular season champs, was it kind of your goal to win the Big Ten tournament?
A:”Yeah, I would say so. That’s kind of always our goal. Win the Big Ten regular season, and then win the Big Ten Tournament, and then obviously the tournament.”
Q: What has Vitto been able to give you guys recently?
A:”He’s given us a lot. I’m really proud of him, the way, even if his shot’s not falling, it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t bother him as much as maybe it would have a couple weeks ago. You can kind of tell he told himself, he’s just going to play very hard, get rebounds, which is what we need.”
Q: Were you guys pretty HAPPy to see Ethan knock down some of those free throws tonight?
“You guys all see him shooting hundreds of thousands of free throws before and after practice every day, and it’s nice seeing that pay off for him now, especially when it counts.”
Q: How does tomorrow’s game kind of compare to the Big Ten Championship game two years ago?
A: “Nigel and Bronson had a big impact on that game, but I feel like this is more “our” team. Like we were all on that team, but I feel like this is more our team I guess I would say. So, that’s going to mean a lot going into tomorrow, so we can try to get our own ring.”
Q: What does the possibility of winning the Big Ten Tournament tomorrow mean to you guys?
A: “I think we kind of missed our first opportunity, and now we just have to take advantage of this one. We’re in a great position. I think we kind of focused on this when we knew we were out of contention for the first one, and we immediately became focused on winning a Big Ten (Tournament) Championship.”
Q: What do you plan to do in tomorrow’s game?
“It’s tournament time, and it’s our last go-around in this tournament. So, I think we’re all just leaving it on the court. You know, you can’t take anything with you, and we’ll be looking back on this one for years to come.”