John Beilein discussed Michigan’s upcoming game against Penn State while looking back at the non-conference slate and ahead to Big Ten play. The most notable update was that Jon Horford has a stress fracture in his foot and is out for at least one or two more weeks. You can watch Beilein’s press conference in the media player below or read the quotes after the jump.
Transcript and quotes after the jump.
- “It’s a great time to embrace this time of the season. Watching all of the other leagues start up and it’s very challenging. The guarantee games are done, we still have the one non-conference game to go, but that presents the challenges that every other game does. We hope that we can take some of the things we did in the second half against Bradley and just keep going against Penn State.”
- On how this team is better equipped for starting conference play: “I don’t know. Last year with the start to our season, the only game that was really surprising to me with that young team was Minnesota at home. We played everybody tough and then you go on the road at Northwestern and Indiana. Those are places where we’ve only won maybe once or twice total anyhow. I don’t even want to think about what’s down the road or whatever, I just want to see what we can do to get to 1-0.”
- On what he sees from Penn State on film: “They are very similar to the way we’ve played at times with a lot three point shooting. They are still working to establish an inside game. Billy Oliver has the exact same stats, he’s their center, as Tim Hardaway Jr. from three. Exact same makes I think and the exact same attempts. I would not like to guard Tim Hardaway Jr. as a five man because of the match-up there. Tim Frazier, you look at his stats and they are almost where Darius Morris was last year. Darius had 90 assists last year at this time and almost nobody on our team had more than 20. You look at Frazier and it’s the same thing, he’s at 80 and he’s controlling the action. They have a good plan for what they have because they don’t have a dominating inside guy but they lead the Big Ten in offensive rebounding, so they are finding other ways to get the ball inside.”
- On Jon Horford: “He will not play again (this week). He has not practiced all week. I don’t know what the plan is for next week to have one more close look at it to see if there’s been some progress but we didn’t expect any. He had an MRI right before the Bradley game and that showed a stress fracture in one of the metatarsals – in the fourth metatarsal.
- If there’s no progress, whether they might shut him down: “Yeah, if we feel that the rest of the season is in jeopardy then it doesn’t make sense to play him. Unless there’s a time in February where he’s 100 percent healthy and he really wants to play and we feel we need him to play – which is pretty obvious – then he can continue on with his season.”
- On what Horford’s injury does to the rotation: “Well it will shorten it for sure. We’re trying to get Blake more minutes. It puts Evan more in a five man position. Hopefully with some emergence of Carlton Brundidge right now maybe we can play him and Trey at the same time so we don’t wear too much on Zack and Stu. At the same time, I look around the league and there are a lot of teams that are playing guys 35 to 38 minutes. It happens, maybe it shortens, maybe we’ll discover something now by throwing Colton, throwing Blake in there, getting Eso some time. Maybe we’ll discover some things by the void left by Jon’s injury”
- If Max Bielfeldt is an option: “That was brought up at the table today. I think we have to see how the rest of us react now that it’s pretty sure that Jon won’t be around for a week or two at least. We have to make sure we have the right depth behind that.”
- On Brundidge getting opportunities: “Oh yeah. In spots here and there as he gets more comfortable. Today we’ll practice about 95 minutes but he’ll go through another 30 just dummying and going through situations he’ll see in this game – not thinking he’ll paly 35 minutes and we’ll wear him out but getting him more chances to get comfortable with running a team and what it’s like to play guard in the Big Ten.”
- On preparing freshmen for the Big Ten: “We’ll show them film a little bit. There are a couple films from last year where things were so physical that we have to see that. That’s about it and all you can do. Hopefully they’ve seen some of that in our earlier games, they’ve seen how rough and tumble things can get when we were in Maui. The best thing is to just get in there and they are going to learn.”
- On judging where the team is at after non-conference: “That’s one of the hardest things. I try to measure where I am with the team compared ot other years. I look over the stats from last year, I looked at the 12 game stats from two years ago. I try to measure all the things and I can’t get great answers for that other than do my best every day to coach them and see what they need. Re-evaluate, re-evaluate, re-evaluate. Who we have, what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.”
- On the 1-6 start helping this year: “I don’t think much about it at all. I think the starts, the runs, have so much to do about who you’re playing, when you’re playing and where you’re playing them. It’s not about how you’re playing as much and there are not too many teams, especially young teams, that can do that. We’ll have some times in our schedule where it’s going to be extremely demanding and we could play our tails off and have similar type of results. Not the kind you want to have but you just have to grow from it.”
- On scheduling non-conference games during Big Ten play: “We tried not to do that this year but the Maui trip, because of the travel time, we lost a couple days so we had to get that 13th game in during the second semester. We scheduled that game next year in December, when Arkansas returns. At the same time, you look at the schedule and a week off is good sometimes but it works out alright. My preference would be not to do it but my preference also is don’t go into the pre-conference and be overloaded too. But if Michigan can get on CBS TV on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon we’re always trying to do that no matter where it is.”