John Beilein joined the rest of the Big Ten coaches on the weekly teleconference on Monday morning. You can read selected notes and quotes from the call below.
- On Nik Stauskas’s health: “I have no update yet. He wasn’t fine, he had a pretty good gash over his eye, and it was pretty swollen when he left (the arena). I have no update I can share with you yet, let’s just say that.” Beilein said that three doctors examined Stauskas and that he walked out of the arena under his own power. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)
- On contributions from big men: Beilein said the goal for the center position on this team is for all the players rotating in and out to combine for 15 points and 10 rebounds. Max Bielfeldt has looked like he can contribute to that in practice, getting healthier.
- On Mitch McGary: “I see more and more solid plays coming out of all this hustle we get from him. Sometimes you can’t, I guess, hustle your decisions. You have to be patient with your decisions while your hustle is more physical. I’ve seen a great growth in that area, playing hard and playing smart. And I thought we saw that yesterday.”
- On the improved ball-screen defense: “In our game against Penn State, we did not guard that action very well. There were several things going on, not just with our big men. But that was an emphasis over those two days of practice. It’s just a matter of angles sometimes. They change so quickly. But I think that we did a wonderful job of guarding the ball screen all night long, and it was the difference in the game. Our lack of of ability to do that against Penn State and our ability to do that (against Michigan State) were directly opposite during those two games.
- On the rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State: “I think it’ll always be a great rivalry because of our proximity and the way that our fans interface so much in their lives. They just see each other all the time. I think it’s always been a great rivalry, but I think when you have this element to it — forget about who wins right now — you have two high-level teams, top-10, top-20, top-30, we don’t care. Two teams with great opportunities to go to the NCAA tournament playing at the same time. It wasn’t like that for a while. That, I think, just heightens the rivalry, because I think that if you have two team that have these resumes that we’ve both established, so they’re both fighting for a Big Ten Championship, that just enhances everything. It’s not just about who won those games. It’s great, it’s healthy for the state, it’s healthy for the fans bases and college basketball in general to have these two teams both performing at a similar level on a national scale.”