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February 7, 2011MADISON - Millions of people gathered around their televisions Sunday evening in time to catch the Packers and Steelers square off in Super Bowl XLV.
You can count Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan among the masses.
"I got a little loud at the house," Ryan said. "We were yelling. My wife keeps saying that the TV can't hear me. I'm not buying that. I'm not buying it."
Ryan had an opportunity to meet newly minted Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers in the past and came away quite impressed with the way he carried himself and his demeanor. So it wasn't really a question as to who Ryan was cheering for during the big game.
He was a 'Packer Backer' to the fullest.
"After having a chance to get to know Aaron Rodgers and spending some time with him he's just a very impressive individual simply by the way he handled everything coming in," Ryan said. "I told him that. He actually knew stuff about our basketball team. If he was just trying to make me feel good that's okay too. He's a basketball guy. He knows about basketball. So we had a couple of pretty good conversations.
"I've been pretty impressed with him."
When a speaking engagement in the Green Bay area brought Ryan up to Green Bay last fall, he also thought it would be a good time to swing by the Packers football offices. That's when he had an opportunity to meet and converse with McCarthy, a fellow Pennsylvanian.
Similar to the way he left his meeting with Rodgers, Ryan came out of his time with McCarthy just as impressed.
"We stopped by just to say hi and he brings us in," Ryan said. "We sit down and we put our feet up on the coffee table in his office and we're telling stories. We are there and I'm thinking why is he spending all this time talking to us? But what was nice was he knew where Chester was and he knew all about the basketball history. I was impressed. I thought, 'Wow, this is pretty good.' But you get to meet him and you spend time with him.
"It's like anything else. When you're around people that are real and genuine you forget what they say most the time. But you always remember the way people make you feel. Aaron Rodgers and coach McCarthy make you just feel pretty good when you leave them.
"It was Pack all the way."
The Cousy Award panel cut its list of finalists down to 10 Monday morning. Curiously, Wisconsin point guard Jordan Taylor was not among them.
"They have 10 pretty good ones," Ryan said. "That's not surprising because there have been some pretty good guards that weren't on that. I haven't seen the list today."
Jimmer Fredette (BYU), Kemba Walker (UCONN), Nolan Smith (Duke), Norris Cole (Cleveland State), Brandon Knight (Kentucky), Isaiah Thomas (Washington), Mickey McConnell (St. Mary's), Corey Fisher (Villanova), Demetri McCamey (Illinois) and D.J. Gay (San Diego State) make up the 10 finalists.
"I never worry about what list anybody is on," Ryan said. "Or award or anything else. I'm one of those old coaches that never gives out individual awards at our functions. I always thought it had Wisconsin on the front of our jersey. Jordan will be okay.
"He'll recover from not being on the final 10."
Not thinking twice:
Tom Izzo said he had no hard feelings when Ben Brust took and made a late three as time expired during UW's 82-56 trouncing of Michigan State. One day after the fact, Ryan was of a similar mindset.
"Not at all," Ryan said. "The game clock was not going to run out. I was like, 'Why don't they just turn the thing off?' While I was saying that to the official he shoots the ball. Hey, I watch guys that come in at the end and they get 15 shots up. That's nothing new in basketball.
"I thought it was impressive that it went in when you're cold coming in off the bench."
With wins over previous top-10 Purdue and Michigan State last week, Wisconsin's jumped a number of spots in the two national polls. Entering this week's play with games at Iowa and at home against No. 1 Ohio State, the Badger currently find themselves ranked No. 13 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 14 in the Coaches Poll.
The following is the audio file from Monday's presser:
Bo Ryan, (2/7/11)