Video, Notes & Quotes: John Beilein After 60-59 Victory Over Michigan State


An excited John Beilein met with the media following Michigan’s 60-59 victory over Michigan State tonight. Beilein wouldn’t say much about the importance the Wolverines winning their third straight over the Spartans, but he had plenty to say about the game. Here’s video of Beilein, followed by notes and quotes after the jump:

  • Opening statement: “So many great players, so many great players stepping up. Michigan State, I’m telling you, is one heck of a team. They’re difficult to defend and they’re difficult to score on. Fantastic coach, coaching staff as well. Draymond Green is as good as anybody that there is in the country and we really feel fortunate to get a win, especially over a program like that.”
  • On MSU’s last possession: “We just had to keep them in front of us, make sure they could not get to the rim. We tried to completely deny Draymond Green the ball.” Beilein said he thought MSU would either give Appling a ball screen from Green, or Green would post up. “Fortunately they didn’t have success with either one. I don’t know if they even got to it.”
  • On where Michigan would be without Trey Burke: “I don’t want to even think about that… Trey Burke is a special young man.”
  • It’s “very rare” that any college team has to play five games in 13 days,” (Like Michigan’s recent stretch) “Can’t complain too much about coming out of it 3-2.”
  • On starting Douglass over Smotrycz: “I think just it was two things in mind. We want to put our best five on the floor from the beginning. And most importantly, guys that we felt that really understood our defense and understood what we were doing the best. Stu is such a great defender that I wanted him on the floor from the very beginning.” After bad starts in the Northwestern and Iowa games, Beilein wanted to mix it up “and let them match up with us a little bit.”
  • On the rivalry shifting in favor of Michigan: “It’s always been a great rivalry. You look at the last 10 or 12 years, it hasn’t been much of a rivalry. They’ve been beating us pretty well. Our thing is we’re trying to win a Big Ten Championship. Michigan State is so good, and I admire what they do so much. The whole university, everybody, it’s a great place. You’ve gotta beat places that you admire, you’ve gotta do that to win a Big Ten Championship.”
  • On Tim Hardaway Jr.’s big buckets down the stretch: “We just went to him. Trey was wearing out a little bit and they were really locking down on our shooters, so we’ve got a sleeve full of plays for Tim. Two of them we called, he executed beautifully.”
  • On Trey Burke: “There’s been very few times where I’ve looked at him and said, ‘Aw he’s just a freshman…’ When the ball is in his hand, he doesn’t show anything like being a freshman.”
  • According to Beilein, winning three in a row against Michigan State doesn’t make too much of a difference in recruiting. “We just try to go out and get the best players. That’s all it is.”
  • Michigan really did an “exceptional job” of keeping the Spartans off the foul line. MSU attempted just five total free throws.
  • On slowing Green defensively: “We tried to give him a lot of different looks at different times and we limited him to three assists. That was big because he literally just sees over everybody.”
  • On rebounding: “They had a couple tap-ins early, but if you look at the numbers… We’re not going to rebound great in that game. We send three people back on every possession. We weren’t trying to get offensive rebounds.” A lot of MSU’s rebounds came when the Wolverines were in help-defense down low, and the ball fell into the hands of a Spartan. “The rebounding margin really is not indicative of who won the game.”
  • This win was especially big for the two seniors Novak and Douglass. “I know that they’ve been wounded before, and it’s nice to be able to have that as they leave here.”
  • On how the culture of Michigan basketball is affected by the past three wins over the Spartans: “I would say the perception would be really good. Our culture is our culture, and it is good… You can have all the pretty things and you don’t ever win this game, the perception is not where you want it to be.”
  • On coming back after being down by four late in the fourth quarter: “For us to come back out of that was huge. Our crowd was great, our students were great, but I really like the way we responded. We could’ve melted a little bit there… People don’t understand because we may not have some really huge guys out there, (they might think) that we’re not tough. This team is tough.”
  • On if this is the best win of the season: “I don’t get into that, ‘The best.’ They’re all so great. This is simple. If it means so much to so many people, then it means a lot to me. But it’s not what drives me. What drives me is getting to be a better coach every day, and get this team to be better players every day.”
  • On the noise-level from the crowd in the closing minutes: “That can be confusing to other teams, when you can’t turn to the next person and even call a play. Those last situations, our defense was outstanding. I think that’s where the crowd was so helpful for us.”
  • On Smotrycz who played just 10 minutes: “I just wanted to get him in there and just get him playing with some energy and doing some things. I think he’s really worn down right now, so we brought him off the bench.”
  • On MSU’s offensive tip-ins: “Here’s what happens. The shot goes up… Most of them were in fast-break situations. In fast break, you’re scrambling and now there’s no chance to even block out. You’re trying to keep the ball from going in the basket, and now they’re following from behind and tipping it in. So I think a couple of those we could not have happened because they’re longer than us and they jump higher than us.”
  • I really enjoy his pressers. What he’s saying about Evan being worn down makes sense. Hopefully they can get him recharged and refocused so he can contribute toward the end of the season.

    I liked the nice thing he had to say about MSU as well. Very classy.

  • ColinNer

    Good to know that even on a day when THJ struggled, Beilein still have confidence in him. I would like to see some plays drawn up for THJ early in the game to get him in a rhythm early instead of jacking up threes.

  • Sarah

    After watching both press conferences. SO glad we have the classy coach who gives credit when credit is due. But ultimately knows this is just a game. And yes we love to beat rivals but at the end of the day it is all about being a better team for the long haul! So glad he is our coach and the tide is turning. They beat us at Breslin but we get to enjoy this one till Saturday!! GO BLUE!!!

    • DLup06

      There’s an old trope that to get to an elite level, you have to hate losing more than you love winning…watching Izzo and Beilein, it seems to me that you can get there either way.  I LOVE having a coach who is so obviously giddy after a big win.  It reflects the zeitgeist of the fans, and to dust off an mgoblogism, shows us just how much he “gets it”

      • Sarah

        He gets it. But can handle both losing and winning with grace. NO need to throw players under the bus. Izzo likes to whine and blame