Coach John Beilein met with the media this afternoon to preview Michigan’s upcoming matchup against No. 6 Ohio State. Beilein talked about what he called a “day-long commercial” for the University of Michigan with ESPN GameDay in Ann Arbor, what he thinks are the keys for a Michigan victory, and more. Here’s video of Beilein, followed by notes and quotes after the jump.
- Opening statement: “Every game is more important as you get into this time of the season. They certainly have tremendous challenges that we have to overcome. They’re a really good basketball team as you can see, but we’ve worked hard and we feel good about the direction we’ve gone this week to get ready.”
- On limiting distractions with College GameDay, etc.: “Today was the only day (where it was different) really. I think it should get everybody a lot of energy and enthusiasm, but I’m pretty sure it should not distract us in our focus.”
- On this week’s preparation: “Every year I’ve been here we’ve had one of these weeks. I don’t know how we’ve handled the week off in between, how well we’ve done after it. Wednesday we had a little bit of an inner-squad game. Really those first three days, there was a lot of rest involved. Novak and Burke and Douglass, we tried to get them really back to back with no legs. They did upper body, they did rehab, but back to back no legs just to get them fresh a little bit. Then the last two days have been pretty normal.”
- The whole team will appear on GameDay tomorrow morning. Douglass, Novak and Beilein will be interviewed on the show. “We’re going to nestle that around our first walk through and our first video. And then the second one would be at 4:45, which is our last just clean up of any last details, called fast facts.”
- On what Michigan needs to improve on the most that they didn’t do in their first matchup with Ohio State: “They scored a lot of points on transition offense and transition rebounding, so that was a big difference in that game. Half court it was pretty evenly matched.”
- On how much it will help Trey Burke now that he’s already played the Buckeyes once: “I think it helps both teams. We’re playing a really good team with an excellent coaching staff. I think for any freshman, the learning curve is a little bit more, because they’re going to grow leaps and bounds. Aaron Craft is still going to grow from that game, but he doesn’t have the same type of innocence that Trey has. He’s learned more by that time.”
- On Tim Hardaway Jr. and if he’s been more confident in practice: “Absolutely. Confidence is something that has waivered just a touch, but not a great deal. It’s not like he’s ever had a lack of confidence. But I think any shooter when they’re on and they’re really shooting well, their confidence is going to be at an all time high. But Tim is not one that does not have that swagger that that shot’s going to go down.”
- On rebounding and how Michigan will try to keep Ohio State off the offensive glass: “Most of it was stuff that is very difficult to practice. You’re running full court, you’re trying to find people, the shot goes up, and you’re not in block out position or you assume that you don’t have to block out. So it’s very very difficult to simulate. And their length, you can do everything right and the ball is above the rim and you’re not going to get it. So that ball might need to bounce our way a little bit.”
- On Trey Burke, who committed an uncharacteristic amount of turnovers in the first matchup against the Buckeyes: “Craft is really good. I just think he played a very good basketball for a freshman in that situation. I will take it every time, and he’ll learn from any mistakes that he did make.”
- Carlton Brundidge, who has been out with complications with asthma, will practice on the scout team today, and there’s a possibility he’ll be cleared for tomorrow’s game. Jon Horford is still only practicing half court and his status remains up in the air.
- On the Ohio State rivalry: “Rivalries in basketball, they’re certainly big, but they’re not like football, where you add to the rivalry where every game determines who the champion is going to be. For us, we played at Ohio three times two years ago, three times last year, any one game is not huge. They’re all important, but any one game does not determine as much as it does in football.”
- On if this game is a must-win game for Michigan to still have a shot at a Big Ten title: “It’s important. I think there’s still five games for most teams to play. We have a lot of basketball left to be played before you say this is a must win. It certainly is advantageous to win, but I don’t know about must. You’re probably never getting me to say a game is a must win. Ever, ever, ever. Unless it was the NCAA Tournament and you’re saying we must win this game or we don’t get to play tomorrow.”
- On how hard it is to prepare without knowing how much physicality the referees will allow: “I think both teams have bodies so you can be physical without maybe the refs noticing because they’re so large. There’s no secret to how the game is called many times. I’m not saying it’s called poorly, it’s just the nature of calls and breaks in the game that can determine some pretty important factors of the game.”
- On what the national exposure of this game does for Michigan: “This is really good for us to be picked. How many of these do they do, maybe eight a year? For us to be one of those eight, I think that was pretty forward thinking for them into September or October to pick for us to be on GameDay. Who knows where our season could have gone, but it’s an important weekend for both teams. To have it here and have it be a day-long commercial for the University of Michigan, what better timing with this new facility.