Video, Notes & Quotes: John Beilein previews Northwestern rematch


John Beilein met with the media this afternoon to preview Michigan’s upcoming matchup at Northwestern tomorrow night. Here’s video of Beilein, followed by notes and quotes after the jump.

  • Opening statement: “It was an emotional, highly-spirited day Saturday and now we get back on the road for three out of four. I don’t know if there’s a more challenging place to win at than Northwestern. They have two losses there this year, three maybe with Baylor, but they are really good. They’re unique in every way that they play so that there’s a lot of prep in two days to get ready for. I think we’re past the Ohio game and now we move onto Northwestern and all the challenges it brings us. It also is a great opportunity though to get a road win, and you have to win on the road if you’re going to win the Big Ten Championship.”
  • On the team’s mental attitude following the Ohio State victory: “One thing, just go to work. Our guys were here yesterday for about three hours between film, weights, therapy. I think everybody would always like to have three days to get a rest day, but they (Northwestern) played as well. They had a good win over Minnesota on Thursday, so they had the same thing. I think our kids are pretty focused about taking each day as it comes. They deserved to win a game like that because they’ve worked so hard. But now we just have to move on. When you go on the road to play, it’s always difficult, and Northwestern especially is difficult. I think the last two times we’ve gone there, it was usually over at halftime. So we’ve got to be better than we have.”
  • On why it is so difficult to win at Northwestern: “Because of their unique style. It’s different than everyone else in the Big Ten.”
  • On the Big Ten race: “If we’re in the mix at this time of the year, that’s good. But I haven’t done any math or anything. I know that someone is going to have to win road games here and protect at home to win it, because it’s so tight at the top.”
  • Beilein said he has not looked at the schedules of the other teams in the race for the title. “The league is so balanced, I don’t think that there’s anyone you could go to and just say, well they’re going to win this one, or they’re not going to win this one. So it doesn’t really make a difference. I’ve got enough things on my mind.”
  • On Northwestern coach Bill Carmody, who Beilein said is one of the best coaches in the country: “There’s just so many things, you better try to be prepared and hope the ball bounces your way. But he specializes in people not having enough time to prepare for all they do.”
  • On defending Northwestern: “I think you have to have great focus, especially if you have a whole bunch of different rules with them. They throw so many things at you, and the speed that they run it at is really interesting. We’ll blow up some of those rules just by mistake, but you’re not going to shut them out. And then they’ll still make some incredible shots.”
  • On Saturday, Michigan expanded its lead while Novak was on the bench in foul trouble. “I didn’t realize that, but it’s good if we can have that sixth (man). I thought Evan had a solid game. We didn’t get much deeper into our bench after that, but it’s good that if (Novak) is out of the game, we can at least stay in it.”
  • On Jordan Morgan: “He should play with confidence. He’s playing against a guy like Sullinger, and whenever we went one on one coverage with him, (Morgan) was outstanding. So if you can guard somebody of the likes of Sullinger, you can play against a lot of people.”
  • On playing through the ups and downs of this season: “I thought it was really positive that we weren’t on a roll individually (but we were still winning). It’s just good that hopefully this is how we’ll finish up with everybody playing the way they are. It’s painful for them to go through those times. I just want them to feel good. As soon as they feel good, they’ll start playing better.”
  • Northwestern is currently sitting right on the bubble in terms of making the Tournament. Will they be playing in desperation on Tuesday? “I think (they will play with) more of an inspiration because this has been a long time for Northwestern to get here. I told Billy last time he was here, I really thought his club was the best that I had seen so far, and they had beaten us pretty good over the years. They’ll be inspired, but I think at the same time, we have something we’re fighting for because we’re in the hunt to be the best of the best.”
  • On the legacy this team can leave, specifically the seniors: “With Stu and Zack in particular, who have battled like crazy, they’ve been a great example for some of our younger players. They have a great chance of going to three out of four NCAA Tournaments while they’re here. That says a lot about what hard work can do. I know that’s exciting for them.”
  • More on the seniors: “I don’t know if you noticed, but i started hugging all three of those guys before each game, because I know it’s limited. At West Virginia when my son was playing, I used to put these marbles in a jar and take one out every day that I knew I wouldn’t be coaching that particular group, and particularly my son. It’s almost that type of feeling right now because they haven’t quit, and they’ve had a lot of tough games and some tough weeks here, but they’ve just persevered.”
  • On Northwestern’s John Shurna and Drew Crawford: “I was sort of looking forward to Juice (Thompson) graduating, and now this (freshman Dave) Sobolewski kid is doing everything (Thompson) was doing, but with less turnovers. They’re a better team, and (Crawford and Shurna) are a year older.”
  • Alex

    If yesterday was any indication, tonight should be a battle. Connecticut and Villanova went to overtime (that was a game Uconn had to have). Baylor just was able to make enough plays to beat Texas on it’s home floor.