Notes, Quotes & Video: John Beilein After Michigan’s 59-41 Win Over Wisconsin


John Beilein met with the media after earning his first win over Wisconsin on Sunday. Here’s video of what the coach had to say, followed by notes and quotes after the jump:

  • Opening statement: “This was such a team win for us, and what really makes it special is who you played and how well you played against them. Wisconsin has done a great job over the years of not beating themselves… that’s a big part of our formula, so to have them come to our place and being able to beat them like that is a good step in the right direction.”
  • Beilein said Michigan’s defense was the best that it’s been since he’s been here.
  • On the physicality of the game: “You’re not gonna beat Wisconsin unless you play that way. They’re rugged, they’re tough… we had to compete like that.”
  • Jordan Morgan‘s five offensive rebounds were huge. “We didn’t shoot great, but we got extra possessions against a team that doesn’t want you to get possessions.”  Michigan had 12 offensive boards on the day.
  • On Hardaway: “He just was very selective. You play Wisconsin, it is not a time to get thirsty and say ‘I gotta shoot, I gotta shoot.’ It is a time to be very selective, and he was, as were all our guys.”
  • Beilein was very pleased with the shot selection, especially with the way Wisconsin plays defense. Many of the shots didn’t go in, but “that’s because Wisconsin usually… they don’t take it away, but they do a great job of contesting shots with long guys that makes it difficult.”
  • Because of the second half lead, Wisconsin was forced to speed up the game, which lead to more possessions and more points for Michigan.
  • On the defense: “Our defense was solid, I thought for 40 minutes. Very few mistakes. I loved our attitude, our stance, or vision, our talk, and then you get down to individual jobs on Jordan Taylor by both Stu Douglass and Trey Burke. Wonderful job by them.”
  • On the team’s mentality after the loss to Indiana on Thursday: “You just say, you needed that loss to beat Wisconsin. You had to have it drive home that these little parts of a game really matter in order to win… If you win that game, my favorite saying is fools gold. You’ve got so much to improve on.”
  • The team has been focused on practicing and playing “smarter,” and that really showed today.
  • When Beilein sees his players diving on the floor for loose balls, “I think that’s how every coach actually dreams his team to play. There’s not a coach in the country that doesn’t love having that. I think it’s come natural for Zack. For Stu, he’s got to that point right now that all he cares about is winning, and if I gotta dive on the floor, if I gotta guard a great player and just never give into fatigue, I’m gonna do it.”
  • Several former players came into talk to the players before the game, including Cazzie Russell. “They only spoke for about 30 seconds each, and it was probably better than any locker room speech than any coach can ever give, because they’re looking at tradition, they’re looking at history, pride.”
  • Russell told Novak that if he was in a foxhole and he could choose one person to be with, he would choose Novak. “That’s pretty moving.”
  • On Trey Burke guarding Jordan Taylor for most of the game: “For Trey to go out and take that challenge, it’s a great step for us as a program.”
  • The coaching staff has changed a few things in terms of Burke’s defensive game. “We’re really trying to simplify his defense and what he has to do.” It’s taken a few times for Burke to catch on, but now he’s “locked in,” which is rare for a freshman.
  • This is probably Michigan’s best win of the season, given everything that was involved – short turnaround after the Indiana loss, the opening of the Player Development Center.
  • A big focus defensively today was to have five guys in a stance whenever Wisconsin had the ball, and Michigan did that. “You think that’s easy? It would take a long time to get five of you guys to stay in a stance for 36 seconds. We said today, we gotta guard Wisconsin for 36 seconds. Not 35… 36. They did that several times.”
  • If Michigan had beaten Indiana on Thursday, “I don’t know if we woulda had that same toughness today.”
  • The win was especially big for Novak and Douglass, since they had never beaten Wisconsin in their four-year careers.
  • On Jordan Morgan, who had to sit for most the first half with two fouls but still ended the game with 11 rebounds: “He’s playing so hard, he’s playing outside himself. He wasn’t doing that as much earlier in the year, so he’s getting winded quick, but I really love the way he’s rebounding.”
  • On Hardaway, who had 17 points and 10 rebounds, his second-career double double: “His offensive rebound percentage is not acceptable. He knows it…it’s a thing he’s been working on. Easier said than done. When you’re on the perimeter, you’ve got a long way to run, then you got a long way to run back. You gotta have that mindset. He’s really working on it, and we’re working on it with him. He’s arguably one of our best, if not our best athlete. When the ball’s around the rim or above the rim, he’s gotta be in there competing. He’s doing that little by little. It’s baby steps.”
  • I love the way they’re focusing on rebounding with Timmy. With his length and that kind of attitude he will really, really help us board (and that mentality will serve him well at the next level, when he goes).