Coach John Beilein met with the media Friday afternoon as Michigan prepares to take on Arkansas tomorrow at 2 p.m. Beilein noted that Jon Horford will not travel with the team, opting instead to stay home and continue to do therapy on his injured foot. Here’s video of Beilein’s entire address followed by notes and quotes after the jump:
- The team had the day off Wednesday following the MSU win. “We’re still very busy. Went only about 90 minutes yesterday (in practice) and are going to go about 95 minutes today, then get in the plane and get to Arkansas. Maybe shoot there for 15 minutes or so tonight. With a two o’clock game it’s really important and I think we just shoot one time without getting them up early in the morning.”
- On Arkansas’s up-temp0 playing style: “It’s certainly a tempo that is faster than what we see most of the time. Hopefully we can adapt and we can always adapt to whatever tempo people try to play.”
- Trey Burke’s defense “continues to improve,” and his help on Draymond Green on the last play of the game on Tuesday was the reason Green had to settle for a jump shot instead of a layup before the buzzer sounded.
- On whether he’s talked to the team about being in first place in the Big Ten: “No, I mean I never do any of that. When we’ve had even players of the week, I think maybe one or two times ever I’ve even told the team. We just focus on what we do.”
- On playing a non-conference game during the Big Ten season: “There are a couple reasons why this has happened. Number one, we’re always looking to get a quality opponent, non-conference, back here and balance it with the ACC-Big Ten challenge. We were looking for an opportunity to get on national TV and this opportunity came up, and it doesn’t matter where it is. We have to play the game. I always felt we needed one more road contest against a high level team.” Michigan’s exam schedule made it difficult to schedule a quality opponent during the first semester, so this was the best time to do it.
- More on the scheduling: “There are just so many dates that you lose because of a lot of different reasons. The Maui trip this year was a couple of extra days of travel that we lost. I think a lot depends now on where the Pac 12-Big 10 partnership goes. Are we going to play games in December between Christmas and New Years? And I don’t know anything here but that would be my thought,when you’re not missing classes so that the Big Ten schedule moves back a week and starts after January. Then you wouldn’t have this window maybe, so we’ll see. But this game may be replaced by a Pac 12 game.”
- Beilein is unsure if Douglass or Smotrycz will start tomorrow: “We’ll see after practice today. We have a lot of different things that hopefully we can do to try to get the best players on the court at different particular times.”
- On if Evan Smotrycz is struggling mentally: “I think everybody, when they take the game so seriously and they really want to do well… You don’t go skipping around like it’s the best day of your life. He’ll get through it. He continues to get through it.”
- On Jon Horford: “He showed a lot of signs of not being in the lineup for a while. He’s gonna stay back and do therapy this weekend. He’ll practice again today. It takes some time when you’re out 4-5 weeks like that.” There is a “chance” Horford could be back in the lineup next week but there’s also still the possibility that he could redshirt if he doesn’t continue to progress.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to w0rk on taking what is “the best shot for Michigan,” which he did in the closing minutes of the MSU game.
- On Hardaway and Smotrycz putting in time to get their shooting strokes back: “They’ve been in on their own but we haven’t had any time. You can practice your shooting too much, and then you leave it all there on those 300 threes you made that day. Then you can’t get the ball to the rim on the next day. We’re trying to get the recovery in their legs… We just can’t make a big deal about it. Just continue to take your shots.”
- On the Big Ten: “This may be the most difficult year… It looks like road victories are gonna be really hard to come by because the transition period is all but over for so many programs. Now teams are getting to where they want to be, so it’s like the Big East was last year, with 10 or 11 good teams. We only have 12 teams, and probably nine or ten of them are going to be vying for NCAA bid all the way.”