John Beilein seemed pleased after Michigan’s 87-57 win over Alabama A&M and who could blame him? For one of the first times this season, Michigan came out of the gate hot and kept it that way — cruising to an easy victory. Here’s video of what the coach had to say about his team’s performance, followed by notes and quotes after the jump.
- Pleased that “that was one where we put together 40 minutes of some consistency to our game.”
- Decision-making and turnovers were still an issue, as they have been all season. Alabama A&M tried to play at a fast-pace, “which we’re comfortable with as long as we don’t hurry and we don’t go too fast for our brains.”
- On rebounding: “First of all if you do work on the glass they’ve got to miss a shot. So I thought we had a good game plan defensively… We’ve got to get clean rebounds, and then we can really run the floor.”
- On Novak: “With Zack being a guy that rebounds so well, and then when he pushes it out…he’s like 18-to-2 (assist-to-turnover ratio) in the last three games. That’s huge for our off-guard.”
- With Jordan Morgan in foul trouble in the first half, everybody else stepped up, although “we need Jordan to be able to get some more minutes in the first half.”
- On Carlton Brundidge, who played significant minutes for the first time in his career: “We had been working toward this, but haven’t really had the opportunities… We were able to spend some time with him over this last week, and then just say, if we’re gonna find out, we gotta keep putting him in games.” Beilein said he’d like to get Trey Burke around 5 minutes of rest each half, and Brundidge is “certainly a candidate” for those five minutes.
- Thirty minutes a game is about what Beilein would prefer Burke to play each game. “That’d be a great thing if we could give him a quality 30 a game.”
- As far as Beilein knows, Jordan Morgan is healthy, but “I didn’t think he was as athletic as he’s been. There hasn’t been anything that I know of.”
- Jon Horford didn’t dress today because of his foot injury; he will have an MRI this week and then “we’ll see where it is.”
- On Blake McLimans: “He’s just gotta rebound in his area better. It’s a big concern with Jon out of the lineup to be able to get those. It’s a thing that he’s working on. He still is a work in progress certainly as far as playing as a big man when his mindset is more on the perimeter.”
- Beilein mentioned a possession in which Evan Smotrycz dove on the floor for a loose ball as a perfect example of how Smotrycz is a different, better player this year than he was last year. “That did not happen last year. He did not take charges last year, he was just learning how to play with a 6-9 body, how to just use your body inside. I love the way he’s scrapping. For him to get those rebounds today, I would not have predicted that yet.”
- Smotrycz’s shot selection is much better this year, which is a big reason why his shooting percentage has gone up so much this season in comparison to last.
- Michigan won’t take tomorrow off; the players will lift at noon. “I think when you feel stronger because you’re lifting weights you’ll play stronger. That brings the toughness out of them.”
- Smotrycz’s transformation has been a big story so far this season, but “with every guy on our team there’s a lot of things.” Beilein mentioned Novak’s transformation into a solid two guard and Tim Hardaway Jr.’s newly developed mid-range game as huge improvements since last year also. Beilein gave credit to the assistant coaches for their work with the perimeter players.
- On turnovers: “As long as we keep getting double digit (turnover numbers) like this, it’s gonna be really hard to beat the really good teams. We cannot waste that.” The lower the turnovers, the better the team will be.
- Hardaway’s back is fine and had no effect on his shot today. He was just 1-for-6 from behind the arc, but “I can tell usually when they take a shot whether it’s in or out… I thought most of those had a chance of going in, and they did not.”
- Beilein doesn’t pay much attention to the other teams in the league during the non-conference season. “Once we have Bradley on Thursday, then it’ll be all about Penn State. I won’t pay attention to anybody else in the league. It’ll be all about Penn State.”
- Last year at this point, Michigan had the same record (8-2) as this year, but there were several differences. “We were actually shooting quicker, but our percentages were down. Our defense was very solid, but I don’t think we played quite the level of competition from Maui at this time. We only had I think three BCS type teams on the schedule. I do like the mixture we have right now, and if we can really make the court bigger by being able to shoot at four positions at all times, that’s the goal.”