John Beilein came before the media on Friday to talk about his team’s upcoming game against Bradley, what he saw from the Wolverines in their game against NC State and whether he might be making a tweak to Michigan’s starting lineup. You can watch using the embedded media player below or read selected notes and quotes after the jump.
Opening statement: “We really have our work cut out for us tomorrow at Bradley University. I’ve had one game there before, when I was at Canisius. We understand that it’s going to be a really, really large crowd. It’s our first true road game. Anyone who was at our games in Madison Square garden, it wasn’t exactly ‘neutral’ with the support that we had there. We’re excited about it because I think it is very representative of what we’ll see in the Big Ten as far as a hostile home crowd, a talented team, and a team that’s 5-1 right now.
- On Bradley’s physicality: “They’re a really good man-to-man, physical defensive team. We have to be able to score points, and then we have to be able to stop them. That’s a team we were not able to stop last year.” Said he remembers the game being tied or Michigan being down for 30 minutes last year.
- “They are a talented, veteran team.” They have one junior college player, and other than that there is a lot of experience on the team.”
- On the atmosphere at Carver Arena: “I remember it’s very loud, and other people who have played there several times know it’s as loud as it gets. We’re practicing that right now, but you have to do it sometimes. You can’t play only home games.”
- On why his team is shooting so well: “I think that we’re getting offensive rebounds, which lead to good percentages, and I don’t think we’re taking a lot of bad shots right now. In every game, we chart how many bad shots (we take). There have been times when there has been as many as eight or ten, in past seasons. Now we’re working to find one or two. … We’re really very selective.”
- Michigan spent significant time in practice this week “cleaning up” what Beilein saw at the end of the NC State game, when the Wolverines let the Wolfpack back in it. “It was just timing and understanding what we are trying to do.” Also need the players to be cognizant of the timeout situation. “We were a little mixed up on our delay game, what we were trying to do there.”
- “We thought coming out of those timeouts (at the end of the the NC State game), we didn’t execute very well.” The team will be working in practice on knowing what each other’s responsibilities are coming out of a timeout.
- On the possibility of a mental letdown against Bradley after playing a highly-ranked team in NC State: “Any time you go on the road, you’re always susceptible to that shock of, ‘Whoa, we’re in for it.’ We can’t back down in those situations. It’s even more of a shock when you’re playing a team that doesn’t have ‘Duke’ or ‘North Carolina’ on its jersey. We have to really understand that this team can play.”
- In order to feel like they’re taking advantage of their depth in the post, “We’ve worked extensively the last couple days on some big man packages, because we had to do that.” There are a lot of players fighting for minutes at the 4 and 5 spot, and the coaching staff is trying to figure out how to get everyone playing time.
- On Mitch McGary almost kicking Governor Snyder in the face during the NC State game: “I’m glad it was the governor and it wasn’t me.”
- On what he learned from the Big Ten-ACC Challenge: “There were a couple games that surprised me. Some were good surprises for the Big Ten, some were not.” What stood out was the equality of the two leagues. “Both leagues are very good.”
- You can’t really teach young players how to play on the road — “They have to experience it.” Beilein cited the Virginia game last season as a road game in which Michigan felt like it was right there the whole time but it slipped through their fingers. “Every one of (the road games), I don’t care what the level is, is a difficult game to win.”
- On tweaking the starting five: “We’ll see. We’re drawing up some minute things to see what will work. We’ll look at it today.” Later, when asked to specify which area of the starting five he’ll be looking at: “Nik (Satuskas) and Matt (Vogrich) is who we’re looking at right now. How we can divvy up those minutes.”
- “Max Bielfeldt is really playing well. … He’s right there. At least in practice. He hasn’t gotten the opportunity in games yet.” On his skill set: “He touches the ball, he shoots the ball well, he rebounds the ball… He plays an awfully big 6-7 in practice.”
- Bielfeldt had been wearing the team’s shoes they got from Maui for a full year because they were the only ones that fit his wide feet. The team has gotten him a different pair and he seems to be more comfortable.