Video: John Beilein Breaks Down Northwestern


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.”
  • KAB

    I dont see how we are only 3 point favorites at home over Nortwestern…

  • KAB

    Northwestern,sorry about the typo!

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      It might stem from the fact that they whooped us before… Or that the teams are similar statistically giving Michigan the slight advantage for home court.

  • KAB

    But still Norhtwestern is a middle of the road team and we have won 2 of 3 on the road and palyed OSU as tough as anyone.I think we should be favored by 6 or 7 at home.They did whoop us last time but we are playing as good as anyone right now.Oh well,I guess we will find out soon…We just can’t let Luka kill us!

  • peterklima


    Here is another good article and video (from the BTN) that came out right after you posted the “Tuesday Links” post:|topnews|text|Sports

  • Alex

    Don’t care who is favored as long as we get the win tomorrow night. I hope that there is a huge crowd at the game to get as much of an advantage as possible.

  • Kenny

    I don’t see any of the remaining game easy. The boys need to keep the intensity up and believe that they have good chance in every game.

  • Giddings

    Just checked out U-M’s Pomeroy page for the first time in a while. I was shocked at first to see that Novak is listed under the “Limited Roles” category, as he only uses 13.5% of possessions when he’s on the floor (for comparison, McLimans and Horford are at 19.3% and 19.1%, putting them up one category as “Role Players”). Considering the sheer volume of minutes that Novak plays (86% – #92 in the nation), I guess it’s hard to put up huge %Poss numbers, but then again Darius plays 86% minutes also and he uses 28.9% of possessions. Granted D-Mo is responsible for more of his team’s baskets than any other “power conference” player, but I think this fits with the analysis the last few games that Novak needs to get more shots.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Yeah… Ideally you want to look at %min and usage rates independently. However, it’s easier to use a few more possessions with a smaller sample size.

      Morris’ numbers are always going to be huge but I agree that it’d be good to see Novak take a few more shots. Pure jump shooters typically have much smaller usage rates though because they have fewer assists and turnovers.

    • Tweeter

      Novak definitely needs to get more shots or rather UM needs him to get more shots since he is one of our best shooters. The problem is that he doesnt have the ability to create a lot of shots on his own. He doesnt have a pull-up jump shot, he doesnt really have any kind of mid-range game, and although he can get to the rim and score, he is not great at it. Therefore, he relies on other players to get him shots maybe more than any other Wolverine.

      It seems like after he went on a hot streak, teams decided to just play him tight and not let him get a lot of looks. Unfortunately that means he just isnt going to get shots unless they come in transition. The good thing with that kind of defense is that there is one less help defender and other guys can benefit a lot from the way teams our playing Novak.

      • Azad

        I also think that after the MSU game, he’s been specifically targeted by the defenses in the subsequent games. I think that Hardaway’s emergence against Penn State; the fact that we had a second guy creating offense will make opposing defenses have to dedicate more attention towards him and open things back up again for Novak.

  • grandchamp

    I bet a buddy of mine that San Diego State would not get a #1 seed if they win out. What are your guy’s thoughts on this??

  • Northwestern fan

    NU fan here, obviously I hope we beat you tomorrow, but I just want to say Michigan is one of the few B10 teams other than NU that I actually like — you seem to run a clean program and the fans are pretty classy.

    Cheers to sportsmanlike and injury-free game tomorrow.

    • ToBlav

      Your comment is appreciated. I’ve always had similar feelings about NU. Seems you guys have always had a player or two that I’d have loved to have had with us, but can’t get the guys around him to compete at the top level.

      May the team that plays the best win.