John Beilein spoke with the media during a post-game press conference after his team’s 68-46 victory over Northwestern on Wednesday. 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 tested this out with Tom Wywrot already. My birthday’s coming up pretty soon, and we’ve played Northwestern 12 times. I’m going to be 60 soon. I’m going to celebrate it as my 72nd birthday because they’ve aged me 12 years. Getting ready for them is incredible. It is a tremendous challenge for our team to just get ready for this game. I’m so proud of our guys, the way that they guarded them, because that team is developing … right in front of your eyes. From where we saw them just a month ago, they’re going to get better and better, evidenced by their wins against Minnesota and at Illinois. I feel relieved right now, because those two days after our Sunday night, getting ready and then today, was difficult for our team, difficult for our coaching staff. I’m really pleased to get that W today.”
- On zero turnovers and one foul in the first half: “That was a concern of ours, as they get to the foul line 20 times a game, Reggie Hearn gets there eight times a game. … We did a good job of not fouling.” Beilein said at the beginning of the game Northwestern was on pace to score 64 points. “I did not like the early way we were guarding them, but it takes time.”
- On Jordan Morgan: “I don’t know. I think he walked around pretty well.” Said he’s responding well to treatment, credited John Sanderson with “pre-hab,” strengthening joints to prevent injury in the first place. “I’m not sure until we see what he’s able to do in the next couple days.” Has not done anything live in practice.
- On the assist numbers for Michigan: “The assist numbers were really something.” Said Trey Burke “set the tone early. … That’s really how we have to play. … There’s a lot of sacrifice going on out there. That’s hard in today’s world for kids to sacrifice for the team.”
- On Jon Horford’s play: “People need breaks, sometimes, to get an opportunity, and he really performed well. He’s not been healthy in two years, really. … He’s doing a better job of playing big and was huge tonight. He got a couple rebounds that only Jon Horford could get.”
- On the loss to Ohio State preparing them for Indiana: “I don’t think there’ll be any big correlation other than it’s another place.” Beilein said they’ve had plenty of road experiences in tough venues, including Minnesota and Illinois. “(Assembly Hall) is a really tough venue to play in and we’re going to have to play really well.”
- On making the decision to start Horford: “Here’s how part of the decision was made: we were still here, because of this prep, we were still here last night at 8 o’clock. Kids had study hall before practice. We studied, we ate, then we had some more film to watch. And I said to Mitch McGary, ‘What do you feel about tomorrow? I don’t know what to do. You both practiced well.’ He said, ‘Coach, I’ve been coming off the bench for two years. I’m cool with coming off the bench.’ And that really helped to make that decision, and that’s what we have on this team.”
- On the big men not fouling and playing smart: Beilein said that many times big men entering college have to learn how games are called and those calls may run counter to their habits. “Bacari (Alexander) and myself will have to stop practice with a big man and say, “That’s going to be a foul in the game.”
- On controlling the hype going into the game against Indiana: “I think we embrace it more than I probably give up. We embrace this moment of being number one, but we’re not focused on ‘we made it.’ No, we’ve got a long way to go.”
- On Trey Burke: “He was not happy with his shooting performance at Illinois. I isolated him a lot, just because of the way they were playing us, and he took a high volume of shots. He didn’t like his numbers. He was in the gym after training table today getting more shots up, and it’s helped.”
- On Nik Stauskas saying “I’m back” after hitting his second 3-pointer: “That’s Nik. That’s just Nik. Nik’s favorite saying — we’ll give him all this stuff, and we’ll say, ‘you all right?’ and he’ll say, ‘coach, it’s just hoops.’ And I say, ‘alright Nik, it’s just hoops.’ That’s just how he acts. He’s an interesting young man that this team really loves.”