2011-2012 Season

Notes, quotes from John Beilein on Big Ten teleconference

Michigan-at-Purdue-24-597x397[1]John Beilein met with the media this morning on the weekly Big Ten Teleconference call to discuss Michigan’s 2-0 week and upcoming match-up with Ohio State. Here are the highlights from Beilein on today’s call:

Opening statement: “I feel very fortunate to be talking to everybody after a 2-0 week. That was a game at Nebraska where we really were pleased with the way we played in the second half. Then a win over Illinois last night with another packed house was another good step in the right direction. We have a week here before we play Ohio and we have a lot of things we have to get better at and prepare for them because they’re a tremendous team.”

On the importance of having multiple scoring threats: “That is really a key to our success so far that we have not had to rely on one or two guys to do it every day and if they didn’t have a good game we had no chance. That would have made us more like a .500 team. We’re just waiting and probably came as close to it in a while (against Illinois) that everybody had a solid game. We all shot well, we defended well. Obviously there are areas for improvement, but to have that type of play and bench play, which has been good at times, (is important). If it’s good we usually have a good chance at winning.” (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

On if he will address the team about being in the hunt for a conference title: “We will address it this week. This week is a little different that we’ll spend the next two days, three days really, being a better Michigan team. And then as far as the prep for our next game, we’ll worry more about that Thursday and Friday. During that time, we’re talking all the time about being champions. Our thing is very similar to what Bo talked about. We’re trying to be champions of the Big Ten, but we’re trying to be champions of life. We talk about that all the time. It’s not just about life and it’s not just about the Big Ten. We’re trying to do both. They know the standings, so you just do the math and see right away if you win, we have a great opportunity here against a great team.”

More on the standings: “With some of our young men, maybe it’s good if they don’t look at the newspaper and don’t’ look at the standings very often. They know we’re in it. They don’t know how close it is and how it can change so quickly with a few wins here and there.”

On the importance of securing a bye for the Big Ten tournament: “I think the bye only makes a difference as far as winning the championship. Then you may be a little bit fresher. Not a lot fresher, because you’re not used to playing back to back. But the bye the first day has probably no bearing on game number one or two. As a personal belief, I think I’ve probably had a bye maybe three or four times, and I don’t think it was any easier of a game because we had a bye and they just played. Sometimes it’s a disadvantage. So I think it’s more about being in position to get to the NCAA Tournament by being at the top of one of these leagues than it is trying to get a bye.”

On Ohio State’s Aaron Craft: “All I know is that in the one game we played and the film that I’ve watched, he is a tremendous part of their success. He plays like a senior that prioritizes winning, prioritizes defense and prioritizes making the next pass. It’s like what we did from Novak and Douglass everyday, we think they’re really special defenders because they don’t have tremendous size or length or speed. They feel the game before the opponent does. And Craft is a specialist at that. It’s just that he really has a winning attitude that really helped that team so much over the last couple years.”

On referring to Ohio State as ‘Ohio’: “I don’t think there’s any message. I think Brady has called them Ohio, so for uniformity, we had no meeting, no nothing. Brady called them Ohio so I said, let’s have some uniformity here.”

On his feelings about the team at this point in the season: “I love the idea that everyone at Michigan has given me the opportunity to coach here and to let everybody just sort of grow with our goals of having a team that is well-rounded, a team that has good student athletes. They’re striving every day to be at the top of the Big Ten. It feels good, but with five games left and the tournament and hopefully the postseason, we still have a lot of things before I could summarize how I feel just yet.”

On the last time Beilein had a team in the hunt for a conference title: “I guess it would be at West Virginia I think my fourth year, I know we finished third in the league so we must have been in the hunt somewhat. You have to embrace those opportunities where you have chances to get to postseason play and you have some type of control — probably never enough — of your own destiny. I still think a tournament championship is wonderful, but winning a regular season championship is very unique. It hasn’t happened here in a long time, and that’s what we would love our guys to believe that they can be special and do something like that. You sort of strive for that knowing that if you don’t get there it’s not the end of the world. Dream big and focus small. That’s the dream, but we still have got to focus on the day to day task of being a better team.”

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