Video & Quotes: John Beilein talks win over Western Michigan

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John Beilein spoke to the media after his team’s 73-41 victory over Western Michigan on Tuesday. He addressed the superb play of Trey Burke and also passed along that Max Bielfeldt sprained his ankle late in practice yesterday and may not be able to play against Arkansas on Saturday. You can watch using the embedded media player below or read selected notes and quotes after the jump.

Opening statement: “I don’t know how close you are to our bench but if you looked at our faces in those first ten minutes, we did not predict that outcome. I love the way Western Michigan was playing early. The ball was flying around, they got a lot of good passes. They have a great scheme that they’re running, and they run it with such speed and precision that our heads were spinning. Our guys picked up the pressure a little bit. We did a few other things and we had to feed off our defense because out offense, we missed some shots. Our fast break keyed the first half.  In the second half, we executed offense really well and our defense was terrific.”

  • On getting outrebounded by Western Michigan in the first half: “I didn’t even notice that. I’m not looking at that number very much. We missed some shots, they block out well, we didn’t shoot a very high percentage, and they shot the ball well. They had turnovers. If they shoot it, and we get the rebound, then we win it. They had ten turnovers or something at half (it was 13). It was a game of possessions.”
  • On Trey Burke’s two charges in the first half: “We got on him on film because he bailed out of one at Bradley late in that game, and we got on him because he’s gotta show that toughness for the rest of the team. He stood in there really well.” In his last two home games, Burke has 18 assists and no turnovers. “I’d check your record books, Tom (Wywrot, Michigan’s Sports Information Director for basketball). I don’t know if anybody’s gone 18 assists without a turnover.”
  • Caris Levert, who tallied his first college points on Tuesday, led the team in singing “The Victors” after the game. “He had earned (his playing time) and the team was in favor of it. That was exciting to see him get up there. Very rarely do you see a kid make his first college shot.”
  • On Max Bielfeldt: “He ended up spraining his ankle with about a half hour left in practice yesterday, and it’s a pretty good sprain. So we don’t know whether he’ll be available Saturday or not.” Beilein is unsure about a specific timetable. “I don’t know other than it’s blowing up pretty good and I don’t think he’ll be playing tomorrow or the next day. Now, there’s a chance on Saturday, but we’re hoping it’s not going to be more serious than a week or two.”
  • Beilein said Nik Stauskas got some open looks because Western didn’t help on him in pick-and-roll situations. “What I do like about Nik is that, while some shooters shut down, he can get in the lane and find other people… You just try and get him open and he obviously has a green light.”
  • On Michigan forcing 13 turnovers in the first half: “Those turnovers were big. We won the possession battle. That’s why we were up by 14. We didn’t necessarily win the rebounding battle, but I think it was big.  … There are a couple schools of thought: when you can really block out and defensive rebound and defend, well that’s sort of a turnover, too — a bad shot with a rebound. But I do like (the turnovers), because usually the turnovers are out at half-court with Jordan and Trey and they’re easy baskets.”
  • Beilein was fine with the performance of Glenn Robinson III. “He got ten shots off today. He’s just trying to get comfortable in his space with where he’s playing and what he’s doing. He’s growing every day in leaps and bounds. I’m really pleased with the way he’s playing.”
  • On Mitch McGary: “He came in here and had formed habits over the last couple of years where his balance was off in situations where people are collapsing on him or sandwiching him. His balance was bad. He’s really improving it — you didn’t see it today, but he needs a lot of individual attention here for the next month just to get him ready for Big ten play because he’ll have some bigger bodies on him then.”
  • Previewing Arkansas, who Michigan plays on Saturday: “They run up and down on everybody. I think they beat Oklahoma by a few, but they’re going to really force the tempo. We’re going to need a big crowd here to help us, and I think we will (have it). … We’re going to simulate the best we can, and then hopefully we can adjust as well as we did last year, but just not get down early.”
  • Beilein said that there is “certain action that he’s doing that we’re doing to get Glenn Robinson III the ball. We’re still watching and seeing what his strengths are. Same thing with Mitch. We know Nik can shoot. And we found out just last week how good he can play in the ball screen. Mitch, Glenn, Spike Albrecht, Caris. It’s still an experiment to see where they are most comfortable in games.”