John Beilein spoke with assembled media after Michigan’s 88-73 victory over Central Michigan Saturday night. Regarding Tim Hardaway Jr.’s injury, the coach did not say whether or not Hardaway will be ready to play against Northwestern and would not define the nature of the injury other than saying it was an “ankle injury.” You can watch the full press conference using the embedded media player below or read selected notes and quotes after the jump.
Opening statement: “At the end of the game I think it dawned on me that we won a game without Tim Hardaway in the lineup at all. I think the good news was that we scored 88 points, but the bad news was that we gave up 44 in the second half. I think we really missed his presence at that time. At the same time, you can look at a couple really outstanding numbers. Our assist-to-turnover (ratio), Caris LeVert being thrown in there. I mean, a month ago he was a redshirt and now he’s in the starting lineup. I loved the way he performed. We have challenges with Central Michigan because of the speed with which they run their break. Probably as good as anybody’s run it, the fast break after a basket like Arkansas and people like that, North Carolina State. Very similar, very difficult to catch up with. Really love the way we defended pretty much in the half-court situation. They have some kids … that are both really good shooters from the outside. They run great sets for them and we defended very well. It’s a win, it’s 13-0 in non-conference — we’ll take that every year we can get it. I think it was a challenging non-conference schedule, and now it’s on to the Big Ten.”
- On Tim Hardaway’s ankle: “It’s tough to say, but we made an educated decision thinking that the long road in the Big Ten is more important than having him ready for every game. If it was a Big Ten game, we still would have sat him. I want to be very clear about that. Based on what I know about the injury, it’s something that needed a little bit of time, or it could nag him all year long. I don’t know when he’ll be back.”
- On Trey Burke’s play: “He is as veteran as any sophomore I’ve been around.” Beilein said he looks to Burke like he’s “old man out there running the offense.” Knowing that there would be 3-4 freshmen on the court with him at points, Burke’s steady play was certainly helpful. “I’m really proud of him.” Central Michigan keying on Trey Burke in the second half is what opened up so many opportunities for Nik Stauskas.
- On Caris LeVert: The team holds a “next man up” philosophy. “We hate to see injuries … but (the bench players) are in the gym all the time knowing they might not play at all or they might have five minutes or ten minutes, but then there’s the time when you’re going to get 20 and you have to be ready. Caris really showed that he was ready today.” Cited LeVert’s versatility as what impressed him.
- On Glenn Robinson III: “He’s starting to understand when he should cut back door, when he should shoot it, when he should drive it, the rebounds he can get, the loose balls … He’s just playing off his instincts right now, and we’re trying to get him in action where he can just play ball. The more that he plays, the more comfortable he is.”
- On getting freshmen prepared for Big Ten play: Beilein said he’s sure there will be a relative dropoff in Michigan’s offensive numbers given the scorching rate at which the Wolverines are putting up points now. “We can try to prepare them, but nothing prepares you like being in it.”