Michigan’s head coach and starting line up were on the podium this afternoon at Cowboys Stadium to reflect on their Sweet Sixteen victory over Kansas and preview Sunday’s Elite Eight matchup with Florida.
COACH BEILEIN: Well, it’s always a quick turnaround, not like your conference tournament, but pretty quick when you think that even if you play a 6:37 game, we didn’t get back really to the hotel until 11:30 last night with all the testing afterwards and the media.
So we’re trying to get them to absorb as much information as we can on our next opponent, great opponent and get as ready as we can. More prep is due right now from the walk‑through later on and film.
And then with an early afternoon game tomorrow we’ve got to rely on a lot of the instincts and a lot of things we’ve done earlier in the year. They grasped what we did well today and now we’ve just got to rest a little bit and come out and play a really, really good Florida team.
Q. Billy talked about remembering playing against some of your teams. What do you remember about going up against him, his style?
COACH BEILEIN: Way back, when I was the new coach at Canisius and he was the new coach at Marshall, we ended up taking a trip to Portugal. We didn’t get to play each other but met there. Played that year in the Cincinnati tournament. And they played us at West Virginia
Q. When is the first time you saw the shot and what was going through your head watching it? Did you realize how far you were when you took that shot?
TREY BURKE: I was surprised how far I was. When I shot it I didn’t think I was that far, but the shot went down. We got another chance to win. So I’m thankful for that shot.
But that’s in the past and we’ve got to get ready for Florida tomorrow.
Q. Trey, we all know that you had a pretty big career decision a year ago. And I’m wondering thinking back on this year in what ways do you feel you’ve evolved or improved as a result of having this second year at Michigan?
TREY BURKE: Being more of a leader on the court. Last year I led by example and I wasn’t as vocal as I should have been. The coaches would always tell me they wanted to hear my voice more.
With Zack Novak and Stu Douglas, the seniors last year, I kind of allowed them to be the vocal leaders out there on the court. And I was able to learn from them for a year, and then coming into my sophomore year I was more open and willing to talk and willing to allow the team to hear my voice out there. And I think that’s allowed me to become more mature and it’s allowed me to just be more of a leader out there on the court, really.
Q. Tim and Glenn, Billy Donovan talked about Michigan has the best offense they’ve seen in the country and they certainly have one of the best defenses. What do you like and not like about the match‑up of your offense against their very, very good half‑court defense?
TIM HARDAWAY, JR.: I don’t know what to say about that. But we know that they’re going to come out and execute their defensive plan. And we’ll execute our offensive plan.
It’s going to be a great match‑up between both teams. And we need to go out and play like yesterday, play with heart and play with passion. That’s what it’s going to boil down to.
GLENN ROBINSON, III: I think it’s going to be a great match‑up between both teams. And we have two great coaching staffs and we both run great offenses.
At the end of the day it’s all going to come down to defense in my opinion. We’ve got to lock into defense and at the same time continue to do what we’ve been doing offensively wise.
Q. Glenn and Tim, could you guys feel Trey struggling a little bit in the first half and how important was it to see him get going early in the second half and then to take over the way he did down the stretch, could you feel that happening and feed into it?
TIM HARDAWAY, JR.: Trey wasn’t struggling at all, to me, in the first half. He was doing what a point guard is supposed to do, and that’s get his teammates involved. That’s what he did.
In the second half he took over. And any true point guard would know about that, get your teammates involved first and if you have an opening, then take your shot and that’s what he did last night.
GLENN ROBINSON, III: I also agree. Trey, I don’t think he was struggling at all the first half. And he was finding open people and doing what a point guard needs to do, like Tim said.
In the second half he found open shots and took those open shots that maybe weren’t there in the first half. I think he did a great job of mixing it up and doing what a point guard needs to do yesterday.
Q. Trey and Tim, can you talk about last night and after the game the emotion and everything that goes into that, how long does it take to come down from that or what do you do to decompress from all that emotion, everything in the locker room and how that game unfolded in the end?
TREY BURKE: We were all very excited after the game, obviously, just being able to get back to the Elite 8 is something that this program hasn’t done in a long time. We’re really excited. We’re honored to be here.
It really hasn’t took us a long time to come down from it. We understand that we have more work to do. We understand that we’re about to face a really good Florida team.
So we really don’t have time to reminisce on the last game. We just have to get ready for Florida tomorrow and we have to be prepared. This deep into the season you can’t really look back on your last wins or your last losses. You just have to keep playing.
TIM HARDAWAY, JR.: We knew what happened yesterday, we had a great win, a great comeback. Last night everybody was very, very happy. We knew today we have to focus on whoever won against Florida Gulf Coast or University of Florida. Florida won, so we’re just focusing on them right now.
Q. Nik and Mitch, your coach pointed out the other day you were playing for five months, and everybody talks about the freshman wall. Were you prepared for this and can you talk about how the adrenaline gets you through?
NIK STAUSKAS: At this point in the season we really don’t consider ourself freshman. We’re 35 games into the season, so we’ve seen just about everything through the course of the Big Ten season. We’ve been going up against good teams.
At this point we can’t use fatigue or anything as an excuse, we’ve just got to push through and keep playing the way we know how to play.
MITCH McGARY: For me, I didn’t log as many minutes as these guys during the season and now just being a starter I’ve got to bring the same intensity each day.
I don’t think any of us hit, really, that freshman wall. I think we just kept competing and trying to stay focused throughout the whole season and that’s what we’ve been doing.
Q. Mitch, you go from facing Jeff Withey against Kansas to another pretty good defensive big man in Patric Young. How do you view that match‑up?
MITCH McGARY: He’s a big, strong post player. He’s got some good post moves. I know he’s got a jump hook that we’re going to have to go up against him, wall him up, give him strong chest and hope for the best.
I think they also have another big man who stretches it, so it’s going to be a good match‑up for us.
Q. Trey, can you talk a little bit about Scottie Wilbekin and what kind of challenge he faces for you tomorrow?
TREY BURKE: Really good defender, and really good distributor, as well. I understand that my job is to just try to ‑‑ my job is just to try to keep him out of the paint as much as possible and make him take tough 2’s.
Just from watching film and watching Florida this year, I understand that he’s kind of one of their best defenders. So just like against VCU, we’re going to have to try to find ways to attack their pressure and make their pressure our offense.
Q. Mitch, how advantageous is it for you in your match‑ups against big men to have them sometimes try to show against Trey and then he gets you the ball? It seemed like that happened a few times last night.
MITCH McGARY: It happens a lot throughout this whole tournament, everyone has been so keyed in on Trey that it’s been able to free me up for looks and get easy drop‑offs. He expects me to finish those, and I did just that.
Q. Coach, about Trey, would you mind telling us when you recruited him or signed him what your expectations were for him and then also address ways in which you have seen him develop and evolve, whether that’s on the leadership front or skill wise, decision making wise?
COACH BEILEIN: Recruited him late because he had committed early to Penn State and when we de‑committed we got involved over that summer. And I just saw a leader from day one. A guy that was a real winner.
Had no idea that he would ‑‑ his development would go this fast until we started working with him a few times and saw the passion of his workouts, the leadership he showed.
He got a great opportunity to play as a freshman, Darius Morris went to the Lakers, he had an opportunity there. And for a coach to have a freshman point guard, it takes time to gain confidence in him. When we went to Maui, he had my confidence from there on out. He played great in one of the best tournaments in the world. And ever since then he just hasn’t stopped working.
Q. You have three players, I guess, including Jon Horford, that are sons of former NBA players. What about guys that have that pedigree and have fathers that have been involved in the game?
COACH BEILEIN: You know, it’s been very good. And I say it’s not just about the fathers now, too. The fathers are terrific, their mothers have been tremendous throughout this whole thing. These young men, their work habits, their attention to detail. They’ve seen it already. They’ve seen what their fathers and mothers have done to raise them and to work and to provide the life they have for them.
And there’s never been a shortage of them getting to the gym, I guarantee you. They’re in there, they’re working at it. And the best is yet to come for all of them.
Q. Coach, what similarities and differences do you see between this year’s Michigan team and the West Virginia team you took to the Elite 8 a few years ago?
COACH BEILEIN: This is a very different team because this is a very young team, really young. This team is more athletic. Probably doesn’t shoot it as well in some positions as it does in some others.
But here’s the commonality, great kids who work hard and play together. And when you have teams like that you always have a chance. And so they have played above their years. That team probably was so experienced they played at a high level and knew their roles very well.
But this team right here is special, as well. I don’t differentiate too much between one team and another, which you think was more special. But what this one has accomplished this year with 29 wins has really been a great move in the right direction for us.
Q. Trey, before you made the shot last night you had some 3‑pointers go in and out in key situations, just missed. Do you believe in things like karma and teams getting on a roll in a tournament situation like this and do you feel something like that unfolding right now?
TREY BURKE: I think so. I think during the year we went through a lot of adversity. And like Coach said, we’re a young team. But we always found ways to get better and learn from our losses.
And like you said, karma, we had some games where we lose at the buzzer, a team like Wisconsin, hit the buzzer beater, beat us in overtime, lose to Indiana at home. Just those type of games where we felt like we should have won. I definitely think we learn from those games a lot and it’s allowed us to come into this tournament with a chip on our shoulder, and allowed us to have a lot of momentum. So I definitely think we’re moving in the right direction.
Q. Tim, could you talk about the toughness this club has shown? I think a lot of people have overlooked it during the season, just overall the toughness that this team now plays with?
TIM HARDAWAY, JR.: This team is playing with a lot of toughness right now, especially going down the stretch. It’s great just to see our young guys not ‑‑ fighting fatigue and get down on themselves when making a mistake right now. They know it’s win or go home right now. So everything is on the line and everybody just wants to go out there and play their hardest.
Q. I don’t know how tuned in you are to Michigan lore and Michigan history, but Trey’s shot, especially from where it was, does it rank up there with Rumeal’s free throws or is there anything close to that in what you know of Michigan’s history?
COACH BEILEIN: You’re right, I don’t know a lot about these big shots along the way. But it’s got to rank with any of them, given the situation, if it doesn’t go in, the season is over.
And for this team, especially the way it was the end of a 23‑point second half that just ‑‑ it just made it really special because ‑‑ and then you give the fact that we had the Ohio State game and the Arkansas game that the ball ‑‑ not quite that far, but still from a distance went in and out. I’m so glad that if I had my choice between winning those games and winning this game, we’ll take that one to go in.
Q. I know Mitch played a lot early in the year, but it’s unusual for a guy that has a game like that that only started for periods in the game. Talk about his development.
COACH BEILEIN: Well, it’s been consistent and one of his bigger issues early was learning how to play defense, learning how to play defense without fouling. Learning our offense, doing all kinds of things.
There’s several times he could have started, he did not mind coming off the bench, and we frankly loved him coming off the bench, because you can see he gives us a great deal of energy. We had an injury to Jordan Morgan and that injury opened the door for other people. He took advantage of it. And when it was all said and done, we said that was our best lineup, so let’s start it.
Q. What does he do well and what does he need to work on?
COACH BEILEIN: His ceiling is so high because he has great skill level. He sees the floor very well. And what he’s learned sometimes less is more because ‑‑ we’ve had some games early in the year, we went to Michigan State, he had four turnovers in the first half that were run‑outs at the other end. He hasn’t done anything like that. He’s really taken his time. The game slowed down for him.
Q. Given how you won yesterday, there must be a sense of accomplishment, it’s probably human nature for the young guys. Can you sense a hunger that they’re still playing for more?
COACH BEILEIN: We’re going to make sure of that. We’re going to make sure that it’s never enough until ‑‑ the season is not over ‑‑ you’re not the team until you’re the team. And the only way you can be the team is that you win the Championship.
So we want to make sure that they never get satisfied by this great season that we have. We’re trying to get one more every game. And if one more leads us to one more, we’ll concentrate on that game. But we’ll be hungry.
Q. Conference season is such a grind, as you know, and the familiarity and the scouting. When you get into this situation and you have the short turnarounds against teams you haven’t seen, what part of the game enjoys the most advantage of having that lack of familiarity and that freedom?
COACH BEILEIN: I think if you have a really, really experienced team and you run a very unique offense, very unique ‑‑ I think ‑‑ and defense ‑‑ I think you saw that with Florida Gulf Coast, how they’ve been able to probably play at a higher level, play with a lot of high majors at a very high level, because they’re unique in what they do. I think that favors some teams.
I think that the experience of being in this certainly helps. But I know short turnarounds are really important for teams that ‑‑ if it’s Northwestern and the Princeton type teams, that’s a heck of a thing to prepare for.
I think a lot of coaches like me, we’re not ever thinking ‑‑ we didn’t practice at all during those days about who our next opponent would be if we won. Maybe other people are better at it, we don’t do it. But it’s basically a one‑day turnaround and it’s really hard.
We are fortunate in one way is that a lot of the things that Florida runs is what we saw from Kansas. They have some other unique things. It’s not like playing the Syracuse zone in one day. That’s another challenge for everybody if they see something they haven’t seen a lot this year.
Q. Along those same lines, what specifically are the challenges of their defense? Do they have similarities to what you saw in KU last night and what do you feel like your team has to do well to be successful against that defense?
COACH BEILEIN: I’ll answer that question the best I can, but literally from 5:45 this morning until 8:45 is the only video I’ve seen of them. I was just concentrating, and we had our shoot around and showed our team their defense.
All I’m looking is the numbers. The numbers are outstanding. The 36, 37 in league play. I don’t look at overall, I just look at league play. And then look at holding people to 27 percent from three. People are scoring in the 40s and 50s on them. So they are terrific.
I think Billy would probably say this is the best defensive people he’s ever had. We’re having trouble finding spots that we can attack. It has to do a lot with the match‑ups, the makeup of the team, the experience of the team.
But they’re going to be challenging. They’re not turning teams over a great deal. They’re just guarding their yard. They’re just staying in front of people and contesting and not getting a lot of second opportunities, as well.
Q. A parallel between your team and Florida, both traditional football powers. What’s been your experience rebuilding a successful basketball program at a quote, unquote, football school, proving that the two can coexist?
COACH BEILEIN: I have never, being at Michigan now in all these six years, I’ve never felt that in any way. I feel it when you go and there’s 110,000 people there, but you can’t ‑‑ what basketball arena can fit that many people in?
That may be a perception by some. And the only thing ‑‑ one of my goals as a coach was I not only wanted to coach at this level, I wanted to coach it at a place where football was king, where football was terrific. Because it gives you all kinds of opportunities in recruiting. It gives you great resources. We have eight weekends on campus that are the best weekends you could see for recruiting. And we just look at it and say this is what we want.
I think Florida and Michigan are two of the only schools that have won championships in both, in basketball and football. There’s only about five schools, I believe, that are like that. And I’m not sure of the number.
So I’ve always seen it as Michigan has a great athletic program, a tremendous athletic program, but also happens to have a really good football team. And it’s got a great basketball program, as well, men’s and women’s.
Q. Glenn had a big bucket late that was overlooked and Mitch ends up with an oh, by the way, 25 after Trey’s shot. Has there been much of that during the year, some of the guys holding things together while it’s a struggle or was that something that was kind of new last night?
COACH BEILEIN: We have been encouraging Glenn, he’s so athletic, he can do so many things, but a lot of people are. And the key to that play was Jordan Morgan getting on the floor and digging out that loose ball. And then Glenn can make those tough layups around the basket.
But that is something he continues to grow in. Our whole philosophy is we watch people in practice, we try to get them in the best suited situations for them to be successful as we grow their game.
But one of Glenn’s best situations is when he is just slashing and being around the hoop and getting loose basketballs, that’s one of the many things he does well. But he’s got to get there and continue getting there. He had another offensive rebound in the first half where we found a way to get in there.
The more he learns about the angles you can play from a forward position, the better he’s going to be, the better we’re going to be.