John Beilein was available to discuss Michigan’s upcoming home game against Northwestern. Notes and quotes are after the jump.
- “Getting ready for Northwestern is so complex sometimes.” The Wildcats continually add to their package all year on offense and they also do some unconventional things on defense.
- Not trying to tire his players out too much near the end of the season, but preparing for Northwestern is difficult. “We have some bright young men who can pick things up on the fly a little bit.”
- Nice to have already played them, but Northwestern is constantly making adjustments. “They did some things against Illinois in their last game that they didn’t do once against us.” The playbook is so big that Bill Carmody will simply pick out what he feels works against Michigan.
- The experience of Michael Thompson and Jon Shurna is a big reason why they are able to run such a complex package. When Beilein’s had veteran teams, “we’ve been better at what we do,” but hasn’t generally expanded the playbook much.
- Still trying to figure out which role each player is comfortable occupying, which is common for such a young team.
- Michigan’s game in Evanston was “one of our missed-layups games.” Got some open looks, but couldn’t convert. Northwestern also did a good job making life difficult once Wolverines got in the post.
- On defense, team is “playing better position defense,” and “staying attached to our man when we need to be, and seeing the floor when we don’t need to be attached to our man.”
- “If everyone could get their team to run their cuts as hard as Northwestern, all the scoring everywhere in the country would go up because they run their offense at a high, high speed.” Said teams that run a Princeton-style offense get a rap for being slow teams but the Wildcats are very fast on offense.
- “We’re a better team than we were a month ago, There’s no question about it. They are, too.”
- Crucial to keep the focus on each game, especially near the end of the season. “I know we have seven games to go, I know that I’ve looked at the schedule and only three of them are away, and you got to try and win every game whether it’s home or away.”
- “We’re evolving every day.” Said they see so many different things from each team that it forces Michigan to change as well. “I don’t think we’re in a position as our talent is developing to say, ‘this is what we do.’ We have to change what we do to some point and not overcomplicate the game.”