John Beilein addressed the media on Friday, discussing lingering questions from the loss to Virginia on Tuesday and previewing Saturday’s matchup against Iowa State. Here’s video of the press conference, followed by notes and quotes after the jump.
- It feels a little bit like the Big Ten season right now, playing high quality opponents back-to-back.
- Iowa State has some very talented transfer players that have already made an “immediate impact.” They are a “tremendous” 3-point shooting team, and they shoot more deep balls than Michigan.
- On 6-foot-8 forward Royce White, who is averaging over 14 points and 10 rebounds per game: “Sometimes he’s out there looking like Lebron James as a 6-8 point guard, and the next thing he’s in the post.”
- The team took Wednesday off, had a good day in practice yesterday and hopes to see more of the same in practice today.
- A couple of Iowa State’s transfer players – Chris Allen (MSU), Chris Babb (PSU) and White (Minn.) – are former Big Ten players , which helps “a little bit” in preparing for the game on Saturday.
- Playing against a team with so many transfers poses a different type of challenge. “The things that some of the transfers they’ve had in the past were extremely successful because their back’s against the wall, they can’t transfer again. It usually ends up to be pretty positive.”
- The ball screen has “become so complicated because of the different angles that were not even seen ten years ago, even five years ago.” That’s what breaks down a lot of perimeter defenses, and it’s something the offense has been trying to do more of and something the defense is working to stop.
- With White down low and a myriad of 3-point shooters on the perimeter, “you gotta be very careful. We have many things in our package.” Have to be versatile in covering White, but have to make sure you cover the 3 too.
- Not surprised that the Big Ten won the Big Ten/ACC challenge – the Big Ten looks good, and a lot of ACC teams are going through coaching changes right now.
- Playing at Virginia was a great experience, even with the loss. “It’s incredible. I don’t know if you’ll see the byproduct of that learning experience tomorrow, but down the road, you’ll see it.”
- On Hardaway and not playing him in the first half after he committed 2 early fouls: “As long as we’re ahead in the game until the last 2 minutes of the first half, that doesn’t make sense to put him in with 2 minutes to go.” Hardaway needs to not press quite as hard in the second half if that early foul trouble does happen, although obviously you would prefer not to have to sit him in the first half anyways.
- The energy against Virginia was great. Some of the guys just made some unintelligent plays in the second half, but they’ll learn from it.
- Reasons for playing Eso Akunne and Colton Christian: foul trouble, and “We’re not gonna know what they’re gonna do unless we put them in there.”
- Sai Tummala, who was out with concussion symptoms earlier in the season, is “ok right now.” He’ll likely redshirt, but “he may be our most athletic player.” Aside from Trey Burke, he also may be one of the quickest players.
- The Virginia game was one of Evan Smotrycz’s best games, but “he continues to have issues with just understanding his body posture and how he’s going to guard people…he learns from it, but it’s day by day.” Foul trouble is still an issue also.
- Trey Burke is still learning on the fly. The players love playing with him. Would like to be able to give Burke more rests throughout the game, but it’s sometimes not possible with no other true point guard on the roster. “We don’t want him outta there too long as long as he’s playing at a pretty productive level.”