John Beilein joined the rest of the Big Ten coaches on a conference call on Monday. Beilein discussed his team’s tough loss to Ohio State, what it’s like playing in the Big Ten with five freshmen and more. You can read selected notes and quotes below.
Opening statement: “We had an exciting game in Columbus yesterday. We didn’t come out with the win we had hoped to have, but we learned a great deal, we will learn a great deal from it. Hopefully it will be very positive in our development as a team. Going on the road right now, playing high-level teams on the road, is going to be a challenge for us and for everybody in the Big Ten. Great conference, and I expect the wins and losses to be very difficult challenges for everybody all year long.”
- On moving forward from the Ohio State game: “I said earlier in the year, … The Big Ten is going to be so strong this year, with so many high-level teams. Last year we were a champion with a 13-5 record. Now even 12-6 could be a Big Ten title winner. It’s just going to be very challenging. … What we learn (from the video) and then going up to Minnesota is an invaluable part of the process.”
- On what he’s learned going into Minnesota: “I don’t like to make excuses about our young team, but we found out, the way that game started yesterday, about the speed and the strength of the Big Ten, the way the game is officiated. Our young guys … are going to really learn how this game is played in this league very quickly and it’ll be very hands-on.”
- On what he could have done differently to prepare his team better for the Ohio State game: “It’s hard to do that. We thought we did as much as we could by playing Arkansas, by playing North Carolina State, Kansas State, Pitt, going to Bradley. We did everything we could. There are some things in the process you can’t speed up no matter what you do. (The freshmen) have really performed way above what many freshmen normally do. … This one was too difficult a task.”
- On Nik Stauskas: “Once again, we said the foul trouble is going to limit his touches, and Ohio’s defense is going to limit his touches as well. You don’t know until you see it. They did the same thing last year against some of our guys, locked the rails and made you play 2-on-2 in the middle. Between having Craft and (Ravenel), those are tough guys to be able to beat. … We need to find other ways of getting him open.”
- On possibly getting Mitch McGary and Jordan Morgan more touches down low: “All things are a work in progress. Things in practice, we continue to work at, whether we throw the ball inside or whatever we do. We’ve got everything on the drawing board. We’ve been averaging 80 points a game, going into today, so who we threw it to, how we did it was not a big concern going into that, and why would it be? Overall, when you have a game like that with such great perimeter defense, that’s certainly an option we have to explore.”
- On how difficult a match-up Ohio State is for Michigan: “I just think they’re really a good team. You have to play well, and you have to play with incredible poise in this league. … They have great experience, good length, great quickness, whether it’s match-ups I don’t know. Craft is a great, great defensive player. … he impacts the game like a great middle linebacker or a great safety can impact a football game. That’s what he does. But the rest of their guys are really good defenders as well.”