Michigan head coach John Beilein addressed the media after his team’s 66-57 win over Illinois Saturday afternoon.
“Really great win for us today. We needed that badly. Kids gave a great effort at Wisconsin on (Tuesday) and had to follow that up again. I thought that was as hard as we’ve played on defense all year. We really challenged them to take away their 3-ball game, they didn’t have any at halftime, challenged our players to not let them have second-chance points, which they had at their place. But the offense took care of itself. It wasn’t a great offensive night, but it gets the ‘W’. I’d rather have that than an 85-82 loss. So we’ll take that ‘W’ and get a chance to get a little bit of a four days off before we play a really good Indiana team here Thursday.”
“I thought we were really much more aggressive than we were at their place in guarding the post, not letting the postman get it in their sweet spots, and more physical without fouling. We had to have that. We gave a little bit more help, and we didn’t resort to any double-teams. When they went in there, they did get some shots but we made them earn those.”
On DJ Wilson:
“I thought it was much better today. DJ didn’t score against Wisconsin, it’s tough to get rebounds there, but you’ve got to get in there. If you’re not in position to be in position, you’re not going to get anything. So I love the way he was involved, sometimes multiple times, so big for him. And to have a kid like that, look at his assist-to-turnover ratio right now as a stretch ‘4’, it’s a really high number for him, so we can do more things through him, play him at both sides of the court, do a lot of things in the future.”
“There’s two ends of the court. … That position for us, you can’t have five guys that you’re dialing up (plays for). It just can’t happen. So he’s got to create for his own. And we will dial him up. But he’s just got to find opportunities. Just about every stretch ‘4’ everywhere in the country — and he’s not a stretch ‘4’, he’s an athletic ‘4’ who can shoot it — he’s got to find opportunity. He’s got to get in there. … He was not leaving the paint so he can rebound and stay in there instead of stretching. … He can really shoot, but he’s got to understand, if we’re going to win, if he wants to play at another level, he’s got to mix it up inside. And he’s very receptive to that coaching, but the habit is to drift out. And getting in there, that’s where he gets stuff.”
On Derrick Walton Jr.:
“… He really seemed to be very aggressive. Made a couple big shots for us and really did a much better job defensively — he had three point guards running at him. He had to guard all three of them, they were all rested and you see Derrick didn’t get much of that.”
“We don’t know where the outliers are going to come from, but that’s an idea. We certainly didn’t have that out of DJ the other day, and Derrick, he’s got to look to shoot the ball. … He didn’t have many of those rebound games before, but he can rebound better if the bigs make good contact and stay in their box-out, and they did that. But who knows who it’ll be next game. I think each game we need it, but gradually we’ll get to this point — hopefully before too long — that guys feel really confident and they know they’ve got their swag enough to play at their highest level every day.”
Symbolism of blue jerseys?
“They did that on their own. I’m not smart enough to realize what they were talking about. They said, ‘We want to wear blue today, coach.’ I said, ‘Why is that?’ They told me and I said, ‘Alright, go with it.’ Like I’ve said, much ado about nothing. But our kids got the message—maybe when it comes from outside and not from coaches, and it comes from another player, maybe that message is even stronger…whatever they intended (with the comment).”
On UM’s 14 turnovers:
“We had some walks early that were unfortunate. … Just getting our eyes up and seeing the floor. We had some late—our guys can’t put their head down and just dribble in and say, ‘I hope something happens.’ Those are turnovers. Very uncharacteristic of Zak (Irvin) to have no assists and (four) turnovers. Moe (Wagner) and guys like that—that we’re giving great freedom to—have got to know what winning plays are and how when they do drive they’ve got to be strong with the ball, land on two (feet), and make good decisions.”
DJ finding balance of playing both ends on court?
“…That position, for us—you can’t have five guys you’re dialing up; it just can’t happen. He’s got to create some of his own and we will dial him up. … He’s not a stretch four; he’s an athletic four who can shoot it. He’s got to find opportunities. He’s got to get in there. One of our zone things was he was not leaving the paint so he could rebound and stay in there instead of stretching. I’ve never seen a kid who can shoot threes that would rather play in the paint. He can really shoot, but he’s got to understand that if we’re going to win and if he wants to play at another level, he’s got to mix it up inside. He’s very receptive to that coaching. The habit is to drift out. Getting in there, that’s where he gets stuff.”
OK with Billy Donlon defacing wall?
“I’m up for anything that’s legal, that’s motivational, that makes our kid realize there’s another degree—the 212 degrees that you can play at. Sometimes you’ve got to be very simple with your approach, and Billy was certainly very simple with that one. We won’t have a painter come in until next year at least.”