With the short turnaround, Michigan head coach John Beilein was only available via teleconference to discuss Michigan’s upcoming game at Penn State on Sunday. Listen to John Beilein in the audio player below or read his comments after the jump.
On campaigning for Trey Burke to win freshman of the year: “I pay so little attention to that and I would never push in any way. We’re such a ‘team, team, team’ attitude right here. He’s had so many freshman of the weeks at this point and he just takes it all in stride. Whether he got one or ten, he’s still the same guy. Maybe it’s a weakness but we don’t concern ourselves with that. Luckily, those who vote make their decisions based on what they saw.”
On Vogrich’s recent contributions: “One thing that Matt does is he gives us space to play because everyone knows – especially over these last five games – he’s back with his shooting touch. He may not have numbers but he gives us great spacing on the floor. It allows Trey Burke to get to where he needs to get to and allows more room for our big guys. He can change a lead in a minute to go from up four to up ten or down four to all of the sudden being up two. He’s really helpful knowing he can come off the bench, especially when he’s playing with the swagger he is right now.”
On Jordan Morgan and Evan Smotrycz’s health: “We’ll know more after tomorrow’s practice. All of our guys played heavy minutes last night and won’t do much today. They’ve seen the trainers, they are in rehab now and we’ll see how they feel after tomorrow. [Nothing major structurally] that I’ve heard of so far.”
On playing a game and not thinking about the situation: “It is very unique. As you know, when you’re in this position where you’ve had a very good season. We’re not on the proverbial bubble – apparently. We’re really playing for something on the last game of the season, a lot times you’re not playing for a championship like we are. I love the timing, we’re playing first and won’t know what’s going on. We’re stressing: this is what we’ve been fighting for all year long. We can only control this. I also love the idea that we could have a 5-4 road record in the Big Ten. We’re focused on the opportunity that we have in front of us.
On rooting for Ohio State: “I don’t know if I’ll be rooting for anyone. I’ll just be watching the scoreboard with great interest.”
On Tim Hardaway Jr.’s breakout pushing Michigan past Illinois: “Tim was really playing with great confidence and faith in himself. The other thing is at that time, when they were making that run we got stops and clean rebounds. Even when we didn’t score, they weren’t able to make shots and that had a lot to do with our defense. We got an extra possession where Tim hit a three after Jordan Morgan got a tough rebound and got it back out. We played both good defense and with great pace and poise when they made their run.”
On growing ability to win on the road: “The Purdue game was a bench mark so to speak. We went and won in a really hostile environment where we haven’t played well. Illinois, sure they’ve lost some games at home, but they also beat the two other teams that we’re battling, Ohio and Michigan State at that same place. Over time you get more experience and you get used to it.”
On changes to Tim’s shot and extra practice this week: “I won’t go into detail on what we saw. HE just worked really hard on having a good foundation and balance before and after his shot. He was very inconsistent, even shooting in practice, so he really worked at having better balance all through. I thought last night his shot selection was excellent. That also was a key point of why you can go six-for-seven. Seven shots and 25 points might be a new record, I don’t know. Looking to take the best shot and not necessarily your first shot.”
On Tim Frazier: “There are some fast guys in this league and usually that is the point guard. He’s as fast as they get. He has a unique ability to get in the lane, float, tear drop, runner and shoot in in-between spaces over big guys. He’s one of the more, if not the, most improved players in the league. Last year we would help off of him on our scouting report to get to Talor Battle. It’s unique to see a kid make such a climb in one year.”
On the role of Stu and Zack and the assistant coaches in the program’s turnaround: “[Zack Novak and Stu Douglass] are foundation players. We went out there that first year and we really didn’t know what we had. I was hired in the beginning of April and we could only work with the team for two weeks. Then in that first year I really felt we needed to get really solid in some areas that we knew we could count on – even if it was players that didn’t have a big reputation. It’s good to see that it works with just getting the right kids on the ship to start. Get them there first and then build from there because it’s worked out very well. With the staff, they’ve done a tremendous job. You’re only as good as a head coach as your staff will allow you to be. “