After one of the ugliest home losses in John Beilein’s tenure at Michigan, the Wolverines’ coach spoke with the media about Michigan State, his team’s mental toughness, shooting and defensive woes and more.
“My wife was up on the concourse and I was seeing some family and I invited her down to the press conference. She loves to come down here to watch the press conferences, but she didn’t want any part of this one. Just ‘See you later, see you at home.’
“So obviously Michigan State is a much better team than us. They’re really an elite team. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life … They’re really playing well. The adversity they had earlier in the year when they had some close losses, Denzel came back, Forbes is a better player and it really made a lot of them better players, and they’re just better than us. They’re more experienced than us.”
On decision to play zone defense:
“We’re ready to play it at different times during the season and for different things. We couldn’t stop them man-to-man, and then we went to zone for a short bit, and we probably should have gotten out of it after it worked a few times.
Obviously we’re a better team with Caris out there, but today I don’t know if it makes a difference, they were just really really good, they run their stuff so well. I told Tom before the game, I’ve seen your team for nine years, and I’ve never seen a team executing the way they’re executing right now. And so it’s hard to get answers to it and then they defend well too, and they’re really a good team.
These are No. 1 type of seeds that we’re playing here, and we just can’t compete with those teams right now, we’re just not good enough and not as good as those teams with the state of our roster right now.
On Duncan Robinson:
“We got him open a couple times and he missed it. These are these walls guys hit during the season so I think now these past few games he’s 2-for-12, 2-for-13 … we were trying to get him as open as we could, and one of the ways he’s been able to get open is in transition, and if you don’t get any stops because the (other) team’s shooting 60 percent. … We couldn’t get stops.”
On questions about team’s mental toughness:
“Our kids are trying everything that they’ve got. Everything they’ve got. Those are typical excuses. I’ll tell you the same thing I said at Indiana, they’re so much better than us, you guys have to looking at that, and we have to get better. We’ve just got to get better through improvement, through maturation, through our guys getting older and avoiding injuries, then we can play. It’s really hard right now.
“It’s not about leadership right now. It’s about everybody just keep working and persistence. Time is a friend of truth. Just persistence of doing the right things, and trying to get better.”
On Caris Levert:
“I’m not going to give out a timetable, but he worked out today for 30 straight minutes, all basketball stuff. He’s dribbling the ball off his foot, doing things that he hasn’t done, but he hasn’t been able to go and be tested all full speed. We’re not putting him out in games like this yet.
“Now we’ve got to get him in shape. He’s been in water, he’s been on treadmills, everything, but he’s not in shape.”
On moving forward:
“We’re going to go into the barn. We’re going against a team that hasn’t won a league game yet, hasn’t won in a couple months … so yeah, this is going to be a real test of our guys and how tough we are and what we’re going to do, and win or lose, how we’re going to grow from it.
“You get knocked down, and now somebody just stepped on your head, what are you going to do? We’re going to have to work hard and get that back.”
On 3-point shooting woes:
“That’s big, but it doesn’t really make a difference. We’re having trouble stopping people — elite teams. We’re going to have to out-score them, that’s the only way we can beat elite teams right now … we’ve got to be on fire, and we haven’t been able to do that. Our defense has to improve, and we need to do it through maturity.”