Notes, quotes from John Beilein on Big Ten teleconference

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Michigan vs Houston Baptist_7John Beilein spoke with the media Monday morning as part of the first Big Ten coaches teleconference of the year. The coach talked about overcoming the youth of his team, getting ready for Arizona on Saturday and much more. You can read notes and quotes from the interview below. (Photo: Scott Mapes)

Opening statement: “As everyone probably knows, we’re 6-3 and we’ve played a pretty challenging schedule. We have played really well on some occasions and then we’ve played some great opponents where we have to improve at some things in order to beat those opponents in what we saw in those three losses. We have a great opportunity this Saturday to play maybe the No. 1 team in the country, Arizona. We’re going to have a packed house at Crisler and we’re going to do our best.”

  • On contributions from the freshmen: “They are having really good years for freshmen. They have been able to come up against great competition at times and step right onto the floor and from the very beginning feel as comfortable as freshmen can feel in that environment. Another very positive point so far this season is that they’re both willing to come in off the bench and Derrick (Walton) is a starting point guard. Everybody he seems to play against, and this game against Arizona is no exception, is a third-fourth or fiifth-year point guard, and here he is a 18 years old trying to figure it out. And I’m really proud of the way he’s performed. Zak (Irvin) is coming off the bench for the first time in his life, I’m sure. He’s come off the bench and made big shots right away. Those are both really positive signs.”
  • On what Arizona being ranked No. 1 would mean for the game on Saturday: “I don’t think the number one makes any difference. I know it didn’t make any difference for us when we had a short time with it last year. They know they’re a good team, but they also know people will be gunning for them because they’re a really good team. I’m sure the media loves a No. 1 team and watching and seeing how they do, but this is just another really good team that we get to play here at home.”
  • On the atmosphere for the Arizona game: “I think we virtually sell out for every game over the past two years … Nobody would have thought it was at least three years ago where Arizona called and asked about a game. We have a good history of playing against Duke, UCLA, Connecticut, playing some really good teams out of conference home-and-home. They wanted that opportunity. They weren’t where they are now and we weren’t where we were this past year and hopefully in the future. Two teams get it going and now it turns out there’s two very good teams playing against each other. It’s great TV and great for both programs.”
  • On Nik Stauskas“Nik is a gym rat. Nik has worked really hard at some things in his game that he knew, once he got to college, he would have to improve on. HIs strength, his body, his defense, his play off the dribble, his embracing contact. And he has really done a great job with every one of those areas. He’s still young, he’s a full 40 games into his college career, and the best is still yet to come. He’s got a very high ceiling.”
  • On the new rules: “The hand-check … I think it’s really — we’ve adjusted to it and I think it’s leading to a cleaner game in some respect. I don’t like watching a game with 66 fouls and people are going to have to adjust. I’m not too crazy about the charge rule because I think there’s just — it’s really hard for a referee to decide whether or not a guy had started his upward movement, let alone a player who’s about to take the charge. So they’re still going to take the charge, and what it’s leading to is more foul shots, more foul shots, more foul shots, and I don’t think we want more foul shots, we want better basketball. So eventually it will work itself out, I believe, but I have no objection certainly to the hand-check rule.”
  • On having a whole week free: “The way they’re playing, they’re really in a great rhythm. We do need the rest — we’ve been banged up. We really do need the rest. We’ve played a schedule of abut two game a week or even more at the beginning. With exams coming up we need some time. But it is difficult to go cross-country and play from a Wednesday to a Saturday at noon, but that’s part of the landscape we all have to go. But the rhythm they’re playing with right now? I don’t think it will be a huge deal for them.”
  • Indiana_Matt

    Speaking of the schedule, what happened to playing MAC schools (Eastern, Western, Central, Ball State, Bowling Green)? It would be nice to play some teams that are a little better than the Houston Baptists of the world without them being teams ranked in the top 50.

    • BlueBear_E

      I agree. I love that we are playing tough non-conference games, but our RPI is going to suffer from the non majors that we have scheduled this year. I don’t think that playing those teams really helps us prepare for March all that much either. There is no way to predict what a team’s final RPI is going to be, but there are certainly teams that are more likely to end up in the 200+ range.