Video, Notes & Quotes: John Beilein previews Illinois


Michigan head coach John Beilein met with the media this afternoon to discuss Michigan’s upcoming matchup against Illinois at the Crisler Center at 1 p.m on Sunday. Here’s video of Beilein, followed by notes and quotes after the jump:

  • Opening statement: “It was good to get that ‘W’ at Nebraska. It was even greater to have our women go and get that win last night, to go in and sweep that state in two nights was good for us. So it’s a good feeling in this building right now. Now we move on to a really important game against Illinois, who has certainly a very talented team.”
  • On Illinois: “They’ve had some great wins, Ohio State, etc., Gonzaga I believe. Now we have to play really well against them. Because we’re home doesn’t mean we’re going to play well, but after we just played five out of six on the road and came out 3-3, I think there’s a lot of hope now that we can finish strong. But you never know.”
  • On if it helps at all to play Illinois after the Fighting Illini have lost five of their last six games: “I look at slumps differently than everybody else. It’s about who they’ve been playing, where they’ve been playing. I don’t think they’re playing poorly, I think that they’ve lost really tight games. As a result, they could have won all those games and been playing exactly the same except for one play. So I don’t see them as slumping.”
  • On Illinois big man Meyers Leonard: “He has a lot of skill. He reminds me of (former Illinois center Mike) Tisdale probably as a junior. He’s only a sophomore. He’s really tough to stop one on one; we have got to find ways to do that or double him or do different things with him. He presents a little bit of the same thing we saw with Cody Zeller. He can score, he’s got a big jump hook. He’s huge. He’s a true 7-1. It’s going to be a difficult one for us to match up with. We have got to stay out of foul trouble and try to guard him.”
  • On the fans and how the fan base has grown in recent years: “It’s nice to see that. I think every one of our Big Ten games have been a virtual sell out. And then we had a really good crowd for games that we had earlier in the year non-conference. To see it grow like that, it’s a good feeling, and I know that the accountants are probably happy about that as well.”
  • On freshman and Illinois native Max Bielfeldt helping the team prepare for the Illini: “He knows who they are as far as the people, but what their tendencies are? We use our own scouts and we’ll use synergy to tell us what they do.”
  • On Illinois guard Brandon Paul: “At 20 points a game, he has be the top scorer in our league. He rebounds it, he shoots very well from deep, he scores. Most concerning is he gets to the foul line seven times a game in league play. That’s the tops of what I may have seen so far this year, so that’s difficult. We’ve got to be able guard him and keep him off the foul line, henceforth keeping us out of foul trouble.”
  • In order to stay positive when players aren’t shooting well, coaches have shown film of times when shots were falling and have even had the players meditate.”All different things to see positive outcomes. You just have to do it…if you’re golfing and you can’t make a putt, at some point you have to make one to feel good about it again. So (Matt Vogrich) has gotten through that right now, and now we hope it’ll help. Same thing with Evan, with Blake, all those guys, it is very difficult to come off the bench and feel comfortable.”
  • Carlton Brundidge is still sidelined with asthma-related symptoms and will not practice fully today. “He just still hasn’t been cleared. We are not messing around with anyone with shortness of breath.”
  • More on meditation: “We do it all through the year, different things. We try to teach them about some meditation and just how to relax. I think a lot of athletes use it. I think it’s important to see themselves in positive outcomes…I meditate. There’s a lot of ways you can meditate. You meditate through prayer, you meditate just through simple meditation, there’s all kinds of different websites that can be very helpful.”
  • On whether or not Michigan is still playing to get into the NCAA Tournament or playing for a better seed in the Tournament: “I think we’re still playing to get in. We’re playing for Big Ten Championships somehow. Fortunately at this stage of the game we’re still in the hunt for the Big Ten Championship, obviously every team in the country is still in the hunt for their tournament championship, and then we’re in the hunt to get in the NCAA Tournament and then maybe go after a national championship. There’s a lot of things. Last year at this time, we were only hunting two: the tournament championship and then getting into the NCAA Tournament. So I think we’re still hunting all of them. We still have to keep winning.”
  • On Beilein’s coaching strategy at this point of the season: “I’m coaching like I’ve always coached, where you have to win the tournament in order to get into the NCAA Tournament. That’s the one way you’re sure you’re going. So what you’re doing right now is still making your team better so you can be good in March, as opposed to, we have to win just this next game. We do both. How do we win not just tomorrow, but in two weeks? That’s how we coach.”
  • On what the team needs to improve on the most: “There’s always a lot of things, but (shooting better) is one area we’re working hard at. I think we’ve made some strides even though you probably haven’t seen it yet. We’ve made some strides in those areas.”
  • On Tim Hardaway Jr.: “We’ve been breaking down a lot of things for Tim lately, and as always he’s receptive to it. I think he’s starting to see some things that I think will really be helpful.”
  • On playing a starter for most of the game: “I lookat the trend right now, there are so many 40-minute players in this league. If it’s that bad, then why are so many people doing it? I just see that it’s that time of the year that people shorten their bench a little bit, so it’s not as concerning to us right now. In practice, we think we’re getting our guys ready for the Tournament, but that’s hard to do.”
  • More on minutes: “This year just looking at the 38’s, the 39’s the 40’s, we’re not the only ones who are doing’re talking to one of the few coaches who coached before the shot clock, before the arc and before media timeouts. So I coached in all those eras and when you didn’t have a media timeout called every four minutes, you had five timeouts and there was no 30’s. So the first half you better use your bench because you might go 20 minutes without a stop. It’s not the end of the world if a guy has to play 40 minutes.”
  • On if it makes any difference that Michigan plays Illinois for the first time at this point of the year and then plays them again in two weeks: “I don’t think it makes any difference really because it happens at the beginning of the year. You play someone and you play them two weeks later. As always when you play a team for the first time, you have to watch them, you have to look at the stats. The players have to get to know them, but it’s different than Nebraska where they’ve played many of these guys.”
  • Sven187

    Meyers Leonard is absolutely nothing like Mike Tisdale.

    • rlcBlue

      They’re both bipeds.