John Beilein met with the media this afternoon to preview Michigan’s final home game of the season. The Wolverines are a perfect 15-0 at the Crisler Center and will have their final test at 6:00 tomorrow night against Purdue. Here’s video of Beilein, followed by notes and quotes after the jump.
- Opening statement: “That was a bit of a heart-stopping win the other day against Northwestern. When you watch the video, they made a lot of tough plays down the stretch, and we were very fortunate to get into overtime. But then in overtime, it really showed our toughness, it showed what great conditioning we were in. I do think Northwestern was at the last game of a five-game cluster, and that always is difficult to get through. But we felt really good to get that win. Now we have a very NCAA tournament hungry Purdue team that is sitting there in great position to get in the NCAA tournament, and I know they would love to get a road win over us to solidify their resume.”
- On Purdue’s Robbie Hummel: “He was rebounding like Dennis Rodman in the Nebraska game. He had to sit out a few years here, he really values this experience. He’s treasuring every moment he can play basketball. You don’t want anybody to go through what he’s gone through, but it certainly makes people appreciate their health.”
- On the key to Michigan’s success at home this season: “I don’t know. We have had a good home schedule. I think we’ve had some good breaks at home. The Northwestern game could have gone a different way, the Michigan State game certainly could have gone a different way. I don’t think there’s a different focus this year, I think sometimes the ball bounces your way and you’re able to do this. We would love it to bounce our way one more time.”
- More on the undefeated home record with one game to go: “That was a goal early in the year. We set a bunch of goals. I don’t release all of our goals, but now that we’re almost there, that was one of them. I don’t know what the record books tell you, but 16-0 at home – we’re fortunate to be able to play 16 home games – but at the same time, to win every one of them against some of the teams that we have played, it means that we came to play every night.”
- On whether or not Beilein has given this team more freedom on the court: “I pride myself on letting our guys play. It just may look to others like there’s these stringent rules. There’s not. There’s just trying to get them one-on-one with leverage, that’s all we’re trying to do all game long. I think every player wants to play one-on-one. Now how you get there, some years it might take two passes, some years it might take 10 passes to get there. This team has been able to get into things very quickly because they have experience, and our point guard has been terrific all year long at putting pressure on the defense.”
- On the home atmosphere this year: “I guess the byproduct is us winning, but we’ve had some pretty good records here in the past. I mean, last year the only games we lost were to Kansas, Ohio and Minnesota at home (and Wisconsin), but we were pretty good at home last year too.”
- On how to not get caught up in senior night: “Well I’ve had a lot of senior nights, and you just realize it’s special and that these kids are really special, but you just go through it because the most important thing is that on their senior night, they want to win. So as a coach, I don’t think too many of us get caught up in those festivities other than, what’s the best way to send them out of here with a ‘W’?”
- On Zack Novak and his emotions heading into his final game at Crisler: “He’s emotional, but I haven’t seen him in that (sad) emotional way ever. He gets mad, but he doesn’t get sad. We all understand it’s a win we’re trying to get. It’s about a Big Ten Championship, it’s about an NCAA berth. It’s about all those things. Senior night is a good part of it, but it’s not the biggest part of tomorrow night.”
- On his emotions toward the seniors: “I have reminded them throughout the year that you only have five or six left, or you only have three or two. I’ve reminded them of that, but we remind the other guys on the team as well that this is a special group. They have been the face of Michigan basketball for four years. They’ve had great success, and that it is unique to have two seniors like that who have fought. And then Corey (Person) as well, and Ben Cronin. To have four guys who have come in, and they have fought so hard to prove themselves. That’s what really makes it special.”
- On watching other Big Ten games that may determine the fate of the conference race: “I watched a little bit of the first half (of the Michigan State-Minnesota game), and then I didn’t watch anymore. I think I was reading a book. You can’t control it. If I get stressed out watching other games, I just don’t need to do that. I’m reading a really good book right now. I’m almost done with it, and I’m trying to finish it. I get tired by the time I read about ten pages.”
- Still, Beilein does keep an eye on the standings. “I will be looking at the scores immediately within a few minutes after I wake up. I treat myself to all the scores and all the records and all the standings, and then I move on and don’t look at it until the next day.”
- On Carlton Brundidge: “He practiced yesterday for the first time really going full out. He was sick before our last trip. He had an upper-respiratory infection, so we didn’t take him on the trip. But he practiced well yesterday so we’ll go full go.” Brundidge will be available for tomorrow’s game.
- On Jon Horford: “We’re working him hard in the half court, but we’re thinking about the future and what he can do. I don’t think it makes much sense (to play him this year). It’s just not fair to him.”
- On the attitude of the team at this point of the season: “We’re pretty much the same way. We had a really spirited film session yesterday. There’s a lot of good vibes from everybody. They’re asking questions, we’re all into this thing now of trying to be the best team we can be, and really reach our potential. Every coach, every player, every manager, they realize we had the ball bounce our way earlier, and we’ve been thank goodness virtually injury-free with our starters, and as a result, we’ve been able to fight through adversity and still win enough games to be in this position.”