Video, Notes & Quotes: John Beilein discusses the NCAA tournament

John Beilein met with the media tonight after Michigan was selected to play Ohio University in Nashville, TN this Friday in the NCAA tournament round of 64. Here’s video of Beilein, followed by notes and quotes after the jump:

  • Opening statement: “You never lose that excitement of watching that. We’re back in the NCAA tournament. We’re thrilled to have another chance after yesterday’s semifinal loss to go out and play. We respect Ohio University a great deal. They are a very talented team and have shown that over the year and over the last couple of years. So we’re going to have to be ready to play and do everything we can to win that game and take it one game at a time.”
  • On representing the Big Ten: “It’s a great statement for the Big Ten to have so many teams. I think it’s five teams in the top four (seed lines). Five teams in the top 16, it tells you what the league was like this year. It makes us very proud to be the regular season champions as well.”
  • On watching the selection show without the uneasy feeling of being unsure about whether or not the team would be selected: “It was different. The suspense was who we were going to play and where it was going to be. I’m not going to lie about that, but still you don’t get over the moment of when you see your name up there, and then the suspense of who you’re going to play, and then who’d you play if you’re fortunate enough to advance. There’s a lot that goes through our minds. Our kids are all thrilled. With the loss yesterday, we’re eager to get back to work.”
  • On any connections with Ohio: “I know (Ohio head coach) John Groce was at Xavier with Thad when I was at Richmond, and then he was at Ohio with that when he was there. He’s done a great job. I believe he’s a very close friend of (Michigan assistant coach) Jeff Meyer as well. I haven’t seen them a lot. You can bet your pay check that I’ll be seeing a lot of them in the next couple of days.”
  • On bouncing back from losses: “We’ve grown in defeat, and any time you grow in defeat, the quicker you grow in victory.”
  • On preparing for a team in which Michigan hasn’t seen: “We video just about everything that goes up in the sky. We have enough time, they have enough time. When we played Nebraska for the first time, we knew very little about them. So we just have to adjust, but they’ve been watching us on TV and we’ll have enough of their video to be able to make some pretty good guesses about what’s the best way to play them.”
  • On Michigan being past feeling happy just to get into the tournament: “You never get past that stage. I never want to lose that part of it. There’s 240 or 250 teams and you’re one of the 68 that’s in there two years in a row, three out of four. Michigan hasn’t done that in a while. So we don’t want to lose that, but our kids love this time of the year and they really liked their experience last year. I’m sure every one of them, including the coaches, we want to play right until the end. Hopefully we’ll get victory after victory after victory. We just have to get number one first.”
  • On the focus heading into the tournament: “I probably will focus one game at a time, and the team will too because we can’t look past anything. I think we can answer that question about how we feel if it comes to where we do lose at some point, I think that’s when we can answer that question.”
  • On the importance of seeding: “These teams can play that are at the end of this bracket. They’re champions. You better be ready to play when you play against champions.”
  • On calling Ohio State ‘Ohio’ and what Michigan now refers to the real Ohio: “We’re playing Ohio University now, a great university down in Athens, Ohio.”
  • On the benefits of playing in the Big Ten, especially this season: “I think it prepares you for adversity. You better be ready for anything. This is no different than if we were playing on the road or even playing at home against teams that go out through our league… We know what it’s like, when we’re at Penn State the last game, when we’re at Nebraska, when we had Iowa, all those teams that were not ranked and we were, we have to be ready to play whoever it is, and we have to be able to react to the adversity.”
  • On considering how the Big Ten tournament affected Michigan’s seed: “I do look at those things. I know there’s a huge difference of maybe being a one seed or a two, or being an eight or a nine, or a 15 seed. But when you get between threes and fours and six and sevens, it’s the best guess of the committee. And they’re also putting it so that you don’t play each other, so they’re moving numbers around. Let’s play.”
  • On the pressure on the coaching staff to prepare in the next few days: “It’s not pressure, it’s just the same work we do every day. I often reflect that  to my family when they say, ‘That game had me on pins and needles.’ The games don’t have me on pins and needles. We’re just working. This is our career, our chosen path. We just work at it, and that’s what we’ll do this week.”
  • On what the team learned from the Ohio State game: “Ohio State is extremely talented… If we run into a Sullinger and a Thomas and those guys, we might get exposed again in those length and strength areas. Hopefully there’s not too many of them there waiting for us. We saw some things that we have to just continue to improve as a team and improve in the program, because those guys are really, really good. And obviously Michigan State is tremendous as well too.”
  • On the state of the program: “We took baby steps to get where we are. We’re not going to change that plan. There’s going to be baby steps along the line, and we’ll get some breaks. If we’re in that thing every year and we continue to improve what we do as a total program, those baby steps will lead us there. Sometimes you’re going to get lucky, sometimes you’re going to get unlucky, but we just hang in there and stay the course of what we’re doing.”

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