Notes and Quotes: John Beilein reacts to Big Ten title

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John Beilein addressed the media tonight following Ohio State’s 72-70 victory over Michigan State, which gave Michigan a share of the Big Ten title. The title is the Wolverines’ first since 1986. Find Beilein’s press conference audio here courtesy of MGoBlue as well as our standard notes and quotes.

  • On the emotion of winning a Big Ten title: “The most rewarding part of what just happened is watching our young men’s faces. When you’ve coached this long, and our staff knows this, it’s not about the W’s. It’s about the journey. And while it’s not the end of the journey, it’s certainly a highlight in this year’s journey, and for some guys a four-year journey.”

  • On Beilein’s feelings on the championship: “Certainly when you’re rebuilding a program, it’s very similar to the highs and lows in the other programs that we’ve tried to establish something. You have some moments that you just have got to embrace and build from. But there’s moments of disappointment. Now to get to this point, it’s just very rewarding because of the intangibles involved, all the hard work. We start every practice with: we say ‘Good evening’, they say ‘Good evening,’ we say ‘We are,’ they say ‘Michigan,’ we say ‘We value,’ – and that’s our core value – ‘Wolverine excellence,’ and ‘We are working to become champions’ is the way it ends. Well today, we said ‘We are,’ and they all screamed, ‘Champions.’ It was very fitting because it’s all we’ve talked about all year is to set that goal. If you don’t get there, at least you’re going in the right direction.”
  • On whether or not he thought this was possible a week ago: “I knew everything would have to break our way. We’d need Michigan State to lose two in a row against two really good teams, and that we would still have to take care of our business. We had to win two road games to do it. I certainly wasn’t confident, but I wasn’t in a situation where I was saying it can’t happen. Because you couldn’t control it. Michigan State was playing very well, but they were playing good teams.”
  • On his involvement in the MSU-OSU game: “I think there were many games when you were a bubble team. If I was watchign that Tennessee State-Murray State game yesterday, I would have been involved in that one. This was really a bubble game, whether we’re Big Ten Champs or not. It felt like back to those days when you were trying to sort out the math of getting to where you wanted to go, but this was much better now, because in those days you didn’t know whether you’d get in yet. We knew that as soon as that horn went off today, we were champions. I know we’re tri-champs or whatever people call it, I don’t care, this league was at its best this year, and for us to be at the same win-loss league as two other quality teams is special… It is really special here. And I realize it more every day I’m here.”
  • On when the last time Beilein won a league title: “I think it had to be my second year at Canisius. I think we had a second or third at West Virginia, and Richmond we might have had a second or third seed, but not the champion.”
  • On what it was like to watch the team celebrate: “Just the whole engagement, everyone from the guys that do not play a lot to the guys that should be dog tired right now, they were into that. If you watch Colton and Blake, they were so much into it. Certainly they haven’t had the same effect that those guys have, but they’ve affected our program by just being really great young men.”
  • On the plane ride and bus ride back to Ann Arbor: “When we got on the plane, were just checking scores and I think it was 22-9, so I wasn’t really optimistic about the score when it would land. But when we saw it was six or seven points, the whole way here, the bus driver couldn’t drive fast enough, and when we got here we got a chance to go in our video room and watch us together.”
  • There were a few fans outside the Player Development Center waiting to greet the team, and Beilein took the time to talk to them. “I think it was a media timeout and I wanted to make sure they felt good enough to be in here and get the tv’s on here, because they had waited for us and I wanted to make sure they could watch it, although we were going to keep this very private for our team.”
  • On whether or not it’s sunk in: “I know this is a really good cup of coffee, I might have a really nice glass of wine when I get home and a coffee the next morning. Really tastes good. So that’s when it’ll sink in, probably tomorrow morning when I make my first coffee.”
  • On when preparation for the Big Ten tournament will begin: “It will start tomorrow morning, right after I have that first cup of coffee. The big thing is now to get your schedule down, now we know it’s a 6:30 game, we know the two teams that we could be playing. I’ll have to go back and forth Minnesota, Northwestern all week, but the first thing is get these guys rested and ready to roll.”
  • On the initial celebration: “I hugged everybody on the team really hard when it was all done, but I let them go. It was almost a moment that I just wanted to watch them. I got everybody on the team and the assistants, and it was meaningful.”

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