Video & Quotes: John Beilein talks Eastern Michigan win

John Beilein spoke to assembled media on Thursday after his team’s 93-54 blowout of Eastern Michigan. You can watch the full press conference using the embedded media player below or read selected notes and quotes after the jump.

Opening statement: “I’m really pleased with the way we played today. With the preparation the last two days, we prepared just as we did playing West Virginia — a different style of defense for them, but I thought our focus was incredible, our kids had a strong desire to beat a team that’s right down the street. I knew we’d have to play well given the fact that they’d already beaten Purdue and had five other wins besides that. There’s a lot of distractions this time of the year. They’re going to go home on Saturday morning. Many of those freshmen have been here pretty much since way back on June 27th, when classes started. I’m really proud of my guys right now, the way they played with passion, with energy, because you have to in games like this.”

  • On the patience Michigan showed offensively against the 2-3 zone: John Beilein referenced Michigan’s 26 assists to just 11 turnovers — “That was really good.” He then praised Trey Burke, who finished with eight assists and just one turnover. “We pride ourselves on being a good passing team. That zone can be difficult. We had a few deflections early and had some turnovers, but I think we understood the angles better that we had to play.”
  • Is Trey Burke’s ball security the biggest improvement he’s made this season? “That’s really big. Sometimes less is more, with all players. He wants to win at everything in life, and he wants to be the best he can. So he knows that’s a good number (of turnovers) to have if you want to be a winner as a point guard. If you want to be a great Michigan player, that’s a great number to have.”
  • On Tim Hardaway Jr,’s career high in assists: “Moving him over to the two spot was a thing that we wanted to do, but at the same time there are some responsibilities there passing that he needs to learn. There’s more dribble game there. We have a lot of agendas there to make him the best player he can be before he leaves here.”
  • On Mitch McGary’s double-double: “Things happen when Mitch gets the ball. Today, in the second half, there were a lot of good things happening when he was around the ball. Those energy rebounds he gets — we preach that all the time: rebounding, people say it’s 25 percent ability, 75 percent effort. He has that effort out there, so that double-double was good for him.”
  • On Caris LeVert: “I got here today, about 6:00, and I heard the ball bouncing. He and Trey were in the gym. I think they were playing one-on-one, which I wasn’t crazy about … but they were getting extra shots up. That’s who that young man is. I compare his time in that gym — he’s like (Zack) Novak putting that extra time in there.”
  • On the mounting pressure of being No. 2-ranked team in the country: “I don’t think they feel any of that pressure. We don’t put them in a cocoon, we just don’t talk about it. Our mantra every day is just, ‘let’s get better.’ Let’s seize the day, today, and let’s get better. … hopefully the wins will just take care of themselves.”
  • Any thoughts on starting 12-0, the 2nd-best start in school history? “Not a thought. I really like winning, though.”
  • “There’s a great quote that Red Berenson has used before: ‘Practice like you’re in second place, play like you’re in first place.’ I stole that from Red. It’s perfect for what this team needs to do. When we practice, we have to practice like we have a chip on our shoulder and we’re trying to get there. And then when you go out and play, play like you’ve been there before and you know what it takes.”
  • On Trey Burke taking Caris LeVert under his wing: “The two guys from the 6-1-4 (area code in Ohio), they enjoy being from the 6-1-4, especially when they’re playing for Michigan.”

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