2011-2012 Season

Video, Notes & Quotes: John Beilein previews the Big Ten Tournament

Coach John Beilein met with the media this afternoon to look back on this year’s season and to preview the upcoming Big Ten tournament. Here’s video of Beilein, followed by notes and quotes after the jump.

  • Opening statement: “It was a great day yesterday for our entire team. It was magical a little bit in the way it all worked out, and we’re very excited about being Big Ten champions because we’ve talked about it so much. Now we move onto the tournament, and there’s another championship involved in every tournament you play in. From the world I came from in the low majors, winning the tournament was the only way you got to the NCAA. So it’s very important that we go into it with that mindset now that, alright, this is another step. You want to really have a great season? Go win a Big Ten tournament championship, because you don’t have to share that with anyone.”
  • On whether or not this tournament feels different, going in as a two seed: “No, it’s no different. I think just because the importance of Big Ten championships at Michigan, I think that’s where it’s important. But now as a number 2 seed going into the tournament, we’re certainly going to have a battle when we play either Northwestern or Minnesota.”
  • On how the team will prepare this week: “We’re going to take two days right now to really regroup ourselves – do a lot of therapy, lot of rest, work with our young guys still, and then do film watching and then have our days on Wednesday and Thursday for prep. It’s absolutely no different than if we were a one seed. One through four is no different.”
  • On how the team will prepare without knowing who it will play: “We’re allowed to go down and watch the proceeding game, so two of our guys will go down and watch the game before. Northwestern is fairly fresh in our minds. Minnesota seems like it was a year ago, so that’s where I’m going first in my scouting. We’ll go Minnesota, Northwestern back and forth in practice. And then we’ll know by 7:30 on Thursday night who we’re playing, and use that time to really hone in on who we’re playing.”
  • On the last 24 hours: “It’s been fun. You have to embrace it. It’s really part of the job that we continue to sell our brand of who Michigan is. I like the opportunity to talk about the University of Michigan and our basketball program. We’re just trying to do things the right way every day. We play for the love of Michigan and all our fans, and we’re really thankful that it’s worked out this year as well as could be expected.”
  • On Beilein’s expectations earlier this season: “I don’t expect much other than daily do the best we can, but as the year went on, and we went down to Indiana and we could see well heck they just beat Kentucky, and we’re right there. And then when we beat Wisconsin here, I said we’ve got a chance here. We just have to hang in there. We’re going to have to win some road games eventually but we had some fortuitous bounces. Those Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan State games at home all could have went the other way and I wouldn’t be standing here talking about being a number two seed.”
  • On the team’s health: “If that’s the way Evan’s going to play when he’s hurt, that was a very good hip pointer for us. I think they’ll be fine today. I think Zack’s legs were a little dead. When he misses foul shots, I know his legs are dead because he doesn’t miss them very often. I think we need this time just to regroup. Very rarely do they get to take two days off their legs and stay with it, but we’re going to use that.”
  • On which team Michigan will prepare for more, Minnesota, who Michigan has played just once, or Northwestern: “Given the complexity of Northwestern, we’ll probably spend equal time. I know we’re going to do some things with our scout team on Northwestern more than Minnesota because of the complexity of what they run – not to say that Minnesota’s not difficult, but that’s what’s difficult about Northwestern is getting our scout team to know it. On the other hand, it’s going to be very difficult to duplicate Minnesota’s athleticism, their shot-blocking ability, their speed and quickness.”
  • On the meaning of this Big Ten championship: “A lot of good coaches and a lot of good players have been able to play at Michigan and not do what we were able to do, so it does mean a lot to us. This is our 13th Big Ten championship overall. We’ve been playing for a long time, so they only come about every 15, 16, 17 years, so it’s really unique for us to have this honor right now, and we hope we get a lot more of them. That’s one of the ultimate measures of success for this university.”
  • On the legacy this championship leaves for Douglass and Novak: “What we talked about earlier in the year was they would be, after 11 years without being in the NCAA tournament, they’d be three out of four if we could get there. Again, talking about the conference championship, that really was special. Now you’re one of only 13 teams in the history of Michigan to win a championship, so now that’s put them to another level.”
  • Cazzie Russell called Beilein this morning to congratulate him. “Cazzie’s call obviously was special because when he came in in this dedication (of the PDC), some of the things he had to say were very great. When he told me he wanted to meet Zack Novak, I said, ‘You know Cazzie, Zack probably wants to meet you too.’ And (Cazzie) wanted to be in (Zack’s) foxhole, it’s pretty special.”
  •  On meeting goals the last two years: “What I liked is the way we finished the two years in a row. Understanding, trying to do those things, I don’t know the answer, I’m just glad that we’ve been able to do this, to finish strong.”
  • On Jordan Morgan: “I think he really focused on what he does well. We’ve talked to him all year, here’s how you can really help us: big time motor, play great defense, and you’ll get points by just being in the lineup and being around these guys, they’ll find you when you’re open. And I think once he just focused on things he could control while he works on other ways of his game, I think that really helped him be a very good player. His rebounding has been really huge for us.”
  • On Evan Smotrycz: “Firstly I want to get him rest, that’s the most important thing. After yesterday, he put in a lot of time and because he’d only been playing half the game (normally), he probably was struggling because of the amount of time he played. So get him rest, and then those following two days get him reps. He’s worked more on his shooting from game action – don’t sit there and shoot 100 threes. Do it out of the action that we run for you. And that’s really been helping him.”
  • On Colton Christian, who seems to have surpassed Blake McLimans on the depth chart: “He had shown in practice that he deserved a shot. He’s rebounded well, he’s shooting the ball better in practice. Rebounding is his strength, so we feel if we need it, we went with him. And he’s a more multi-dimensional factor as well. He can guard in the perimeter and in the post. His quickness can help him. When he’s in (the post), we have to give him a little more help for support, and he knows that. Just make him score over you. But if there’s a ball up around the rim, I like Colton’s chances of getting it. But it is certainly a size disadvantage.”
  • On this year’s tournament: “I don’t look at the whole bracket and say oh, wow. But when I looked at that thing and saw that whoever finished third or fourth could possibly play Indiana in that second round, that’s – I don’t think there’s a true home advantage, but certainly they’re going to outnumber a lot of the other crowds. Overall, it’s going to be a great tournament as it always is. There could be a team out there such as Penn State that could earn their way to the tournament as well.”
  • On winning the Big Ten championship in such a strong league: “I’ve thought about that. With five losses, I think of all of our Big Ten championships, this is the only one with five losses. So it does mean this must have been a heck of a league if you can still win it with three teams involved, especially two teams that have had such great success the last couple decades like Ohio and Michigan State.”
  • On who Beilein thinks the Coach of the Year will be: “I don’t know. There are really some good coaches out there this year, and I’m sure the right guy will get that award.”

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