John Beilein previewed Sunday’s match-up with Ohio State this afternoon in his pregame round-table. Of note, Beilein said Jon Horford will do a “full workout” today, but a final decision on whether or not he will use a medical redshirt still has yet to be made. Here’s video of Beilein, followed by notes and quotes after the jump:
Notes and quotes after the jump.
- Opening statement: It was “unusual” to have four days between games. “We were able get a good workout in after the Purdue game, take a day off, and now we have two days to prep for Ohio State. It feels good to be in that situation. Today is a ‘get better day’…how can we be better at Michigan?”
- On Ohio State: “They were Big Ten champions last year, they lost two terrific players, but Lenzelle Smith Jr. has picked up a lot.. Where Lighty did a lot of the garbage in between work, offensive rebounds, things like that, (Deshaun Thomas) is getting a lot of residual action because of Sullinger, Craft and Buford.”
- The key to being competitive against Ohio State last year? Poise. “But what they’ve been able to do is do things that only Sullinger can do. There’s four guys around, somehow he ends up with the ball and at the rim, and maybe getting the foul as well. So that’s been the key. It’s not the keys that we did to stay there, I think it’s more keeping Sullinger in check somewhat.”
- More on Jared Sullinger: “He looks a little quicker, and he’s shooting threes. We didn’t worry about a 3-point shot (last year), even though we knew in his high school resume that he could do that. Now he’s good for just enough that you gotta guard him. And that’s always a concern when you’ve got a five that can pick and pop, and pick and roll. It’s a big roll that’s coming down there and it’s a big pop.”
- On why other teams missed out on recruiting Trey Burke: “I think there were an awful lot of teams that coveted him. He wanted to play in the Big Ten, and in the Big Ten, everybody had their point guards early. That’s the other thing that happens in our league, with other teams electing to give scholarships to sophomores and even younger sometimes. That roster may already be filled. It’s not that we don’t think he’s good enough many times. It’s we don’t need a point guard. And that was a thought that we had for a little bit as well. We did not anticipate Darius going pro at that time when we offered the scholarship.” Burke also originally committed to Penn State as a sophomore, which took him off the board for a while as well.
- The best part of having four days in between games is rest and having time to simply get better as a team. “We’re going to do drills today in practice that we did on October 15th and 16th, because we need to get back to fundamentals.”
- On the game plan revolving around limiting Sullinger: “That’s part of it, but why they’re good is they have the pieces around him. You have to have a lot of plans in place when you’re playing a team of this extreme talent and success.”
- On Jon Horford: “He’s going to have a full workout today… We may give him a breather here and there. We’ve all found out that playing and practice and being on a bicycle or in a water tank running is very different. He’s gotta feel comfortable and he’s gotta play at a really high level in practice for us to say hey, let’s burn this medical redshirt.” There’s still a chance he could redshirt if he’s not productive in practice.
- On if this team is Beilein’s best so far at Michigan to beat Ohio State: “All I know is I love coaching my team. Whether they’re better than other teams or not, I think that’ll be determined in a couple months.”
- Playing in several close games this year has been beneficial for Michigan. “I think we realize that one play or a run by us or by others isn’t going to determine the outcome. It’s just play by play, just keep going… The fact is, that’s the way it’s going to be most of our games. We’re not going to get blown out of the water, and I don’t think we’re going to blow too many teams out of the water. It’s so competitive this year.”
- Eso Akunne, who is out 6-8 weeks with a foot injury, had surgery today. “Eso had been really playing well in practice. That’s why that was so disappointing… So now it’s Matt Vogrich and Carlton. Those two have more opportunities now.”
- On Vogrich’s ball-handling skills and if he can handle playing the two guard: “That’s something we’ll find out. He’s working at that. That’s something he works at daily.”
- On Trey Burke returning home to Columbus: “We’ve spoken just about this part of it, family, friends. Keep a very tight circle. Stay focused on this game. Embrace this experience that you’re going back home, but you can’t become a distraction.”
- On the first time Beilein saw Burke play in person: “I saw him make a couple of plays and I just said, if we need a point guard, my assistants say he’s good enough, and I believe he is, just watching him for a half. He’s pretty good. Then of course we get a lot of film after that…the more film we watched, the more we were convinced that if we were going to give a scholarship to a point guard, he should be the guy.”