March 19, 2009

Leuer's length will be key against FSU

MADISON, Wis. - As one of Wisconsin's lengthier players, Jon Leuer will play an instrumental role in the Badgers opening round game against Florida State Saturday night. The Seminoles feature five players taller than 6-foot-9, including freshman Solomon Alabi who stands 7-foot-1.

Considering Leuer is the Badgers tallest player in the regular rotation, UW will be undersized throughout the contest with FSU. Before the tournament begins for Wisconsin, caught up with Leuer before the team left for Boise, Idaho.

The following is a question and answer with the Badger sophomore:

What have you seen on tape, or what do you know about Florida State heading into this match-up?

Leuer: I haven't really seen them play a whole lot, but I know they are a very talented team. They're really athletic, they're big and we're going to have our hands full. At the same time, we look forward to the opportunity.

When talking Florida State, the first player mentioned is usually Toney Douglas. But they have some pretty lengthy guys, too. How tough is it going to be going against that, especially defensively?

Leuer: Yeah, you've got to prepare for that length. There are not a lot of teams, from what I've heard, that are as long as them. We're going to have to definitely prepare for that. But at the same time, the principles and the rules that we've stuck to this whole year, we're going to stick to this game. Nothing's really going to change. We prepare the same way for everybody and like I said, we're just looking forward to getting on the court.

The ACC isn't really known for its defense like the Big Ten is. Do you guys look forward to getting out of the conference and playing someone you haven't seen?

Leuer: Yeah, I think in the Big Ten, the majority of the teams just value possessions so much, as we do, and know the value of the possession and take good shots and make teams play defense. It's hard to get a good shot right away in the shot clock. So it will be fun to see a different team and see how they play. Seeing a Big Ten team for that last however many months, you kind of see the same thing. So now, it will be fun to get out of our league and play somebody else.

You guys got the No. 12 seed, the lowest seed in school history, do you kind of relish the underdog role a little bit?

Leuer: Yeah, I guess you could call us the underdog and we could take that and run with it, but at the same time, once you step on the court, it doesn't really matter what seed you are. The hungrier team is going to win.

When you go against a team as long and athletic as they are, is attacking the lane a top priority?

Leuer: Yeah, we want to touch the post because that kind of makes our offense go. We get a lot of good shots when we get the ball in the lane and kick it out. Obviously we want to draw fouls and attack inside, that's been what coach Bo Ryan's systems have been predicated on. I'm pretty sure we're going to stick to that.

With this being spring break, how do you feel about Boise, Idaho?

Leuer: It's not exactly Cancun (laughing), but we're going there to play basketball and we were just happy to go wherever they put us.

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