John Beilein joined the rest of the Big Ten basketball coaches on the weekly coaches teleconference on Monday morning. Beilein talked about how he’s preparing for Ohio State, who will possibly start at the five for the game on Tuesday and more. You can read selected notes and quotes below.
Opening statement: “We had a heck of a game down in Bloomington. It was a great atmosphere. We obviously came out on the short end but I’m proud of the way our kids battled after a rough start. We battled back a couple of times. A few breaks here and there, who knows what would have happened. But Indiana is a really talented, well-coached team playing in a great home environment and a great representative of the Big Ten. I hope we were, as well.”
- On the perimeter defense of Victor Oladipo and Aaron Craft: “I think defensively, their recovery from fakes and things is incredible. The speed that they can recover. If you move one of them one way, or you screen one of them one way, both of them are really able to guard two actions and still stay in front of you.”
- On Trey Burke: “Well, he’s leading us in scoring, leading us in assists. Those are really two great things. He’s a really great leader. He’s really guarding some very, very talented guards throughout the Big Ten, throughout the country. He’s quick, and he has to guard quick people, and he’s done both of them. He’s become much more of a complete player like most people do in their sophomore years, given the minutes that he’s had to play.”
- On contributions from Jon Horford and Mitch McGary following Jordan Morgan’s injury: “All three of them being us a package of three different options. In some ways it’s different, and in some ways it’s very much the same. You have great experience with Jordan, you have Jon’s length and Mitch has a knack for getting steals and defense and is powerful in the low post defending. They all give us some unique abilities.” Said some combination of those three will have a tough time guarding Ohio State’s front court.
- On who’s starting against Ohio State at center: “We had a very light practice yesterday and Jordan practiced just a little bit. We’ll know more. We’d love to have Jordan Morgan back in the lineup as soon as we can, but we do like what Jon Horford and Mitch have given to us while he’s been injured.”
- On Michigan’s struggles against Ohio State: “Well I think they’ve been a very, very talented team for the last five years, and Thad Matta’s a heck of a coach. I think at the same time, we’re still building our program here. It had a lot to do with how they’ve really done a great job with their team. I don’t think we’re the only ones that have had issues with them. … They’re an excellent, excellent defensive team. Aaron Craft isn’t the only great defender on that team. And any time you have that, and then you have guys like Sullinger, like Thomas in there, they’re difficult for everybody.”
- On Mitch McGary’s development: Said there was a process of getting McGary healthy when he got to Michigan, “Getting his legs and his body up to speed to play at this level.” Said that may have slowed him down a bit. “As he went to the practices and just continued to work on his habits in practice, it takes time to develop strong habits in all you do. He’s worked very hard at that, especially in this second semester. I think every day he gets a little bit better because of his practice habits and Bacari Alexander working with him. We’re seeing improvement every day — sometimes there are spikes, sometimes there’s a step backwards, but for the most part it’s continued and going at a pace we’re very pleased with.”
- On McGary’s development since the end of the first semester: “I think any time you go through your first semester, there’s a lot of stress. There’s the serious academic load; there’s the travel; there’s a 20-hour practice week. All freshmen have that adjustment period. Once he made it through that, I think he felt, ‘well, I did it, didn’t I? I did handle all those things thrown at me.’ It gave him confidence that the whole package — the academics, the social life, the demands of the coaching staff, the demands of the expectations he makes — he had accomplished all those things.”