A relieved John Beilein addressed the media tonight after Michigan’s 66-64 overtime win over Northwestern. Here’s video of Beilein’s post-game address, followed by notes and quotes after the jump.
- On Northwestern, specifically Shurna and Crawford: “I know you saw for yourselves, it is a really talented team and they are gonna win a lot of games if they stay healthy. They’ll find ways to wins games. Today we fortunately found a way to win ourselves.”
- Early in the game, “we got our leader and our captain (Zack Novak) in foul trouble.” Beilein said he might have put Novak back in in the first half if Northwestern continued to hold a sizeable lead, but because Michigan kept the deficit within reason during the latter part of the second half, he kept Novak on the bench until the second half.
- Bottom line: “Our defense bailed out the lack of shooting that we had, and our point guard did a great job of finishing the game from the foul line.”
- On guarding John Shurna, Northwestern’s best shooter, who surprisingly started the game playing center: “We didn’t have a plan for Shurna as a five man. Their five mans have a total of three 3’s on the entire year… (Shurna) is one of the best in the country.” Michigan had to adapt on the fly, which is one of the reasons for the slow start defensively.
- In the last three days, the scout team focused on playing like Crawford, Shurna and freshman point guard Dave Sobolewski, and to Beilein, “that was the difference.” It really helped the team prepare.
- Michigan was getting good looks early, they just weren’t falling. Happy with the way the defense responded after the slow start.
- On the win: “Our kids know they earned this. We did not play a low IQ game today. We played a pretty high IQ game. You can get a false sense of good if you win a game that you really did not play smart basketball. Today we played smart basketball.”
- Beilein said that before the game, he gave the players a list of teams – Texas, Florida, Virginia, Xavier and others. Then he asked, “If we played them would you be jacked up?” The players obviously responded with a resounding yes, and Beilein responded, “Well their RPIs are worse than Northwestern’s. Northwestern had a 33 RPI after 17 games. That’s legit.”
- Following that point, the win over Northwestern is now Michigan’s best RPI win yet. “It’s not your grandfather’s Northwestern. This is a really good team.”
- Burke and Hardaway both played the full 45 minutes tonight. “If we’re not down and trying to stay in there, it’s a little different.”
- On offensive rebounding: “We got enough offensive rebounds that really made a difference.” Trey Burke’s offensive rebound late was huge, although normally Beilein would prefer Burke to just get back on defense and not worry about offensive rebounding.
- The team will take tomorrow off, and then start prepping for Iowa, which tips off at 1 pm on Saturday. “It’s a difficult challenge. I’d rather just think about that than what’s around the corner. But we’re very fortunate to get this win today. Hopefully it’ll give us a lot of confidence but make us a better team… Easy to learn from defeat, harder to learn from victory.”
- Trey Burke went right to the cold tub after the game to start recovering so he’s fresh by Saturday.
- On the hectic finish to the game, from Morgan’s technical foul to Hardaway’s foul on a 3-pointer in overtime with .3 seconds left: “I think that was a great practice for mental toughness. With Jordan, he feels real bad about that. He reacted poorly. We’ll deal with that in a separate way. They’re young kids… All of the sudden things change… One of the big sudden changes was alright, where’s number zero (Novak)? We adapted and played through.”
- Novak wanted to go back in in the first half, but Beilein was only going to let it happen if the lead got out of hand.
- On Northwestern’s offense: “Their stuff, you have to guard it over and over and over again, and then they’ll still get you. It is that innovative. It’s so good.”
- On Smotrycz and if he’s wearing out: “I hope not, and I don’t think so. Three games in 7 days, it takes it’s toll. And we’ve got a day off tomorrow.”
- On winning on the road: “Unless you have a team that is so talented and such an incredible rebounding team, it is just difficult to win on the road. And usually, it takes a few games. This’ll be our third true road game, four road games overall. It takes a while, but at the same time, all you need is one to make it happen. We’ll do our best.”