John Beilein addressed the media this afternoon to preview Michigan’s Thursday evening game against Bradley. The Michigan head coach discussed coaching against his son, the challenges Bradley poses and shared that Jon Horford’s injury may keep him out longer than originally anticipated.
On preventing distractions from finals week and the holidays … "I think the whole idea that we’re playing a team with a lot of talent and that they’ve seen their talent on film, they know that we’re going to have to play well. They’re not looking at a team that has played all road games and they’re 0-8 and they’re waiting to get to their league schedule. I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. They all have flights the next day sometime after noon, so I’m sure they’re thinking about going home. We’ve got to prevent that."
On having balanced scoring and rebounding as a team … "I do like the idea that we’re getting points — I think we almost have five in double figures right now and those are pretty good teams when you can put those numbers up of that equality as far as who can score points for you. Our rebounding numbers as a team may not be up, that certainly has to do with shooting a high percentage on offense and a few things. Stu (Douglass) is getting rebounds, Trey Burke is getting rebounds and then Evan’s (Smotrycz) numbers are so far up. We’re sharing a lot of the action that I think that’s important."
On Evan Smotrycz’s high shooting percentage … "First of all, it’s very difficult I’ve found to guard when you have a four-man that can really shoot. There is usually a matchup problem somewhere out there. The thing is that someone’s not traditionally ready to guard a great three-point shooter at that position. He’s going to get himself open with being more patient. He’s worked a lot individually just on his technique — making sure his follow through is clean and direct. He’s worked hard to get his balance and his footwork always the same on every shot. Sometimes younger kids will come in and either they’re hot or they’re not. They don’t know that mechanically they’re may be a reason for that."
On what to expect from Bradley … "I think that (Taylor) Brown is an extremely talented player that can go out and get 18-25 points. Their guards are long and quick, both 6-3. (Jordan) Prosser gets a bunch of offensive rebounds. They’re closer to what we’ll be expecting in Big Ten play. They’re in transition with a new coach, which is difficult, but they can beat anybody they play, I really believe that — I just want to keep that until the New Year."
On Jon Horford’s injury … “Jon’s foot is still not healed and it maybe longer than we expected. I think it will probably be a week-by-week basis. Today he’ll be mostly in therapy, he won’t practice. Whether we’ll use him on an emergency basis we’ll just have to see. I don’t think that [it’s season ending] but foot injuries are always scary.”
Transcript adapted from MGoBlue.com.