John Beilein previewed Michigan’s season opener against Slippery Rock this afternoon with the media. Beilein made it clear that he won’t overlook the Division II opener and also relayed some injury news. Freshman guard Nik Stauskas is dealing with back spasms and is “probably questionable” while Jon Horford is expected to be in the rotation Friday.
You can read the rest of the notes and quotes after the jump or watch the full press conference using the embedded media player below.
From Beilein’s opening statement: “We’re excited about opening the season. There’s a lot of Division I games opening Friday night. People probably do not realize what Slippery Rock has become as a team, particularly this year. This will be an extremely, extremely talented Division II team. This is a team that, with some breaks, can win a Division II championship. They return four out of five starters and their fifth starter is a very good player as well. Just scrimmaged at Navy, and they were ahead by 30 in the second half. 30, in the second half. They’re really well-coached. … We have our work cut out for us.”
- John Beilein is not overlooking Slippery Rock. “This is not your father’s Slippery Rock.”
- “It’s going to be more than a test, it’s going to be the real deal. They run action that veteran teams run.” Preparing the Michigan freshmen for the kind of efficient play that is typical of veteran teams will be a challenge. “We’ll probably have four freshmen out there a great deal.”
- Beilein said he’ll probably go “seven or eight” deep against Slippery Rock. “We’ll probably try to keep it pretty short.”
- The starting lineup will be Trey Burke, Matt Vogrich, Tim Hardaway Jr., Glenn Robinson III and Jordan Morgan. Spike Albrecht, Mitch McGary and Nik Stauskas will probably be the first three off the bench.
- That being said, “Nik Stauskas has a little bit of a back problem, he’s probably questionable for this game.” Jon Horford will go “full go” today, will be worked into the rotation on Friday. Beilein called Stauskas’s injury a “sore back” and said he did not go yesterday, it was not a basketball-related injury. “He has a little bit of a spasm going on.”
- On the new ability of his team to rebound: “I’m not used to it, but I’ll accept it, it’s okay. Hopefully we get those three or four extra possessions.” Singled out Morgan as an “expert” offensive rebounder and McGary is learning from him. Said Horford is up there as well, but is a better defensive rebounder.
- On Max Bielfeldt: “He’s right there. He’s still adjusting to playing as a perimeter floor or even in the high-low game. And the other day his feet were giving him problems so he couldn’t go in in the first half. We’re still working at that.”
- On Caris Levert’s redshirt: “We have to consider that strongly. Let’s see how we play. We can’t go back once he goes into a game, so I’d like to see our team play more before we make any definite decisions there. I don’t expect to see him play, but he’ll dress.” He’ll preserve the redshirt “as long as I can” in order to make an “educated decision.”