John Beilein, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Spike Albrecht were on the podium for Michigan after its championship game loss to Louisville. Read comments from Beilein and his players in the transcript below.
COACH BEILEIN: I’ve had a lot of really good teams over the years, some emotional locker rooms. That one was as emotional, or most emotional we’ve ever had.
The team unity that we had, the sacrifice we had from the five seniors that did not get to play very much, to these young guys just buying into the whole team concept. I said to Tracy on CBS, I said, Team 96, there’s so many former coaches at Michigan, so many coaches around the country that would love to take my place and coach these guys, and my coaching staff. For me to have this coaching staff and Team 96 was incredible.
We feel bad about it. We could have done some things better, every one of us, today and got a win. At the same time Louisville is a terrific baseball team. I have not seen that quickness anywhere, and we’ve played some really good teams. The quickness is incredible and it got us a couple times today.
THE MODERATOR: Questions at this time for the student‑athletes.
Q. Trey, thoughts on getting that close and the hurt of not getting over the top.
TREY BURKE: It hurts a lot. Just to get to the national championship game, just to play for the national championship, it hurts so much. A lot of people didn’t expect us to even get this far. A lot of people didn’t expect us to even get past the second round.
You know, we fought. We fought all the way up to this point. Like Coach Beilein said, Louisville was the better team today and they was deserving of the win.
Q. I don’t know if you knew or not, but the Fab Five were in attendance. Could you talk about the significance of them being in attendance.
TIM HARDAWAY, JR.: Yeah, I mean, it meant a lot. You know, it feels great when you have alumni come back that played in this program before, you know, really show you some love.
It was great for them to be in the stands to support us. Sad we didn’t get the job done, but we were happy they were there.
SPIKE ALBRECHT: Yeah, I mean, just going off what Tim said, that means a lot to us. I mean, we appreciate, the Fab Five, not only them, all our fans, all the support we’ve had all season, they’ve been great.
Q. Trey, you have been on both ends of so many comebacks. There wasn’t any moment that you thought it was going to end till the last moment, was there?
TREY BURKE: You’re so right. We fought for 40 minutes. There was never a point in time that we gave up. Louisville was just a really solid team at the end of the game. I felt like we could have turned them over a couple more times, but they took care of the ball and they hit foul shots.
Like I said, they were the better team today.
Q. Spike, you had a memorable tournament. Talk about the juxtaposition of emotion that you’re feeling. Trey, talk about watching Spike do what he did in the first half.
SPIKE ALBRECHT: You know, obviously we’re all very disappointed in the loss, but we battled the whole time. That doesn’t take away from all the success we’ve had all season, just the hard work we put in. I wanted it so bad. I know these guys did, too, coaches. We wanted it for our seniors especially. They’ve been great leaders for us all. But Louisville was the better team today.
TREY BURKE: If there was a point guard I want coming off the bench, it’s Spike Albrecht. Each and every game he’s going to give you 110 effort. He’s going to make plays for you. He may not win the look test, but he’s going to make plays for this team. He has a bright future ahead of him. I wasn’t surprised by his performance today. We see him do things in practice a lot. Unfortunately we couldn’t get it done today as a team.
Q. Trey, could you walk us through the block on Siva that they called the foul on.
TREY BURKE: Well, I didn’t know they was passing him the ball. Once I turned my head and turned back, I seen he had the ball, open court. I tried to time it up. I knew he was going to try to dunk. I guess the ref thought it was a foul.
I thought I had all ball and timed it up pretty good. Unfortunately, you know, it didn’t go that way. They called the foul.
Q. (No microphone.)
TREY BURKE: I think that was a turning point. There was lots of turning points to this game. It could have been momentum. If it was a no call, we could have gotten possession. We can’t go back on that now. It was a foul. Louisville deserved it.
Q. The thing that seems to have come through loud and clear this week is the respect you have for Coach Beilein. Talk about that.
TREY BURKE: You know, the respect I have for Coach Beilein is at an all‑time high and it will always be. Throughout my college career, throughout whatever my opportunities are after college, he’s just the guy that you’ll respect, not only on the court, but off the court. He’s the guy that’s going to hold you accountable for all your actions and he’s going to help you grow up as a man.
When I first came in here, I didn’t understand some of his philosophies. When I would get in trouble off the court, do certain things, he would run me and things like that. But I finally started to realize what his purpose was for that. It’s definitely allowed me to grow up and mature. I’ll always respect him for the rest of my life.
TIM HARDAWAY, JR.: Like Trey said, Coach Beilein is a phenomenal coach. He really recruits guys that wanted to go to those big‑time schools and never had a chance to get looked at by those big‑time schools.
He actually just give them a chance, offered them, not only for their talent, but how good of a person they are off the court.
He does a great job of just preparing his team and his guys not only what’s going to happen on the court but in life. We all thank him for that. I mean, that’s what makes him such a great coach.
SPIKE ALBRECHT: Yeah, Coach Beilein, he’s a great coach. He works harder than anyone I’ve ever seen to get you ready for games, to prepare you, whether it’s film or scouting report, any of that.
The reason why I respect Coach Beilein so much is he’s even a better person. That says a lot about him.
Q. Spike, have you ever felt so high and so low in one game ever before in a game in your life?
SPIKE ALBRECHT: Yeah, I mean, we were rolling there in the first half, but Louisville kind of went on a good run. We were still up one. The Player of the Year played five minutes. I felt going into the second half really good. Unfortunately we fell a little bit short.
Q. Trey, when you had four fouls in the last minute, did you think about giving the fifth foul to save some time or were you instructed to not foul?
TREY BURKE: Well, I’m pretty sure the coaching staff would prefer me not to foul with a minute left. So I just tried to force my man into the next defender. That’s what I did. I allowed Caris LeVert, whoever was there, to foul. My teammates, we were all in sync, all on the same page. They knew I had four fouls. We tried to get steals first, we didn’t want to just foul right away. We tried to turn Louisville over, but they did a good job of not turning the ball over, knocking down free throws.
Q. Trey, I know it’s been a great year. Do you foresee yourself coming back or…
TREY BURKE: Honestly I’m not thinking about it right now. This game hurts so much, that’s something that I’ll just talk over with my coaching staff, my parents really over the next couple of weeks. I’ll make a decision from there.
Thanks for being interested. It’s not on my mind right now really.
Q. Spike, what would you say got into you there the first half?
SPIKE ALBRECHT: That was probably back to high school days. Trey, with two fouls, Coach Beilein doesn’t play guys with two fouls in the first half, so I knew I was in the rest of the half. I was just fortunately hitting shots. Teammates were finding me. I mean, that’s about it.
Q. Spike, a year ago you were in prep school, not very highly recruited. Were you surprised to find yourself not just in the situation in the championship game, but playing so well in the first half?
SPIKE ALBRECHT: First off, I’d like to say thanks to Coach Beilein for giving me this opportunity. A year ago I didn’t have anyone looking at me. He took a chance on me. It’s something I’ll never forget.
But when he recruited me, he told me, We’re here to win championships. So I wasn’t surprised at all that we got here. That’s been the goal since day one.
As far as my performance, just when I go out there, I’m confident. That’s about it.
THE MODERATOR: We’d like to thank the student‑athletes. We’ll continue with questions for Coach Beilein.
Q. When McGary got his fourth foul after that pump by Hancock and what happened after that, how do you think that affected the outcome of this game?
COACH BEILEIN: There was a great crew working the game. Those are three of the best guys out there. Luke has an ability to do that. Taking Mitch out of the game at that point, the big difference was a couple of those offensive put‑backs they got late in the game. I think one of them Mitch was in there, though.
But when Mitch is not out there…
Especially in the NCAA tournament, let’s just put it this way, when Mitch is out there, he’s a difference maker. When he’s on the bench, that’s difficult, as well, as well as Trey.
Q. You generally don’t put guys in if they have two fouls in the first. Would tonight have been a possible exception? Do you think in retrospect it might have made a difference if Burke was out there?
COACH BEILEIN: If they had done it earlier in the half, around the 10‑minute mark, we may have used it late. I would never play Trey with two minutes to go in the first half. I think that would be crazy. You could see he had four fouls anyway.
The mindset of coaches today, if a guy’s got two fouls, he’s going to attack ’em, he’s going to attack ’em, he’s going to attack ’em. You’re just going to give up baskets.
All of a sudden that lead would have evaporated, eight or nine minutes to go, might have made a difference. With two or three minutes to go, we’re up by one at half, the Player of the Year in every poll everywhere, was not in. So we felt really good at halftime.
Q. What did you tell Spike, if anything, when Trey got his second foul?
COACH BEILEIN: I have so much trust in that young man in the roll he’s been on. In the early season practices, Spike’s team always won. They always won. Even when I went and saw him at Brewster, I watched five or six games, his team always won, like pickup ball in their open gyms.
I have so much confidence. I don’t have to tell him. He and I must think a lot alike because he’s got so much confidence.
Q. I think your freshmen scored 26 straight. Can you talk about their growth from the beginning of the year till now.
COACH BEILEIN: Is that right? That’s good for the future, isn’t it? I didn’t realize that.
But those young men, like I said, the five of them came in trying to figure out what college life is all about, as we all did. If you watch Matt Vogrich go and teach Nik Stauskas the offense. Or you saw Eso Akunne take Spike and Caris. You know what Eso Akunne said to me when we said we were going to burn the redshirt on Caris, which meant Eso was going to stay as the fifth guard, not the fourth guard, he said, Coach, don’t do that unless that kid is going to play. Don’t rob him of his redshirt year.
It was such an unselfish act on his part. It doesn’t surprise me now knowing so much support they had within that team framework.
Q. How long is it going to take to get past the hurt of this one for this team to really realize what it accomplished over the last three weeks?
COACH BEILEIN: I hope tomorrow when we get on that plane, there’s some smiles on the faces. The sun is going to come up tomorrow. If they’re not smiling we’re going to make them smile. They’re terrific young people. As I said, we’re the luckiest coaching staff in the world to be able to coach those guys.
It’s been pretty consistent, I’ve had really good teams. What is really unique, not only they love the coaching staff, the coaching staff loves them, they love each other. The word ‘love’ was used over and over and over. Two 19‑year‑old guys said, I love you. That’s pretty deep stuff.
Q. Obviously not the result that you wanted, but when you step back and put this year in perspective, what does it mean for the parameter going forward, all that you accomplished this season?
COACH BEILEIN: I just think, you know, we came to Michigan, and I understood‑‑ I didn’t grow up in Michigan, but the magnitude of this university, every time I was there Kathleen and I would look at Michigan and say, We came to the right place. Every day there was new validation about just the university itself.
My goal and my task was, We need a basketball team that reflects this university. We do things right. We got great values with the university itself. That’s been the only mission. Let’s put a team out there that this university ‑‑ and I would think Ann Arbor right now is very sad, but the people of Ann Arbor have been so good, our brand throughout the world.
We made a major step towards that, of living up to what this university has provided for so many students and student‑athletes.
Q. How soon do you start preparing for next year?
COACH BEILEIN: We looked at the schedule. We have two weeks till exams, which means I think we have about two or four hours of practice we can even get in. We’ll probably use that.
No, I think that we’ll practice later on this week just those two hours I think is all we can go. I wouldn’t be surprised if our seniors come by and want to help the young guys.
But clean up anything we can. What could our young guys learn from this experience now that we can look back on it? But I doubt if we’ll be doing anything tomorrow. But maybe Wednesday or Thursday we’ll do something. We’ll all walk out there and we can’t wait to coach them again.
Q. What was the strategy down 4 with 52 seconds left, deciding not to foul?
COACH BEILEIN: I thought we were in the one‑and‑one. It was a coaching error. We were trying to foul the right guy, No.10. We wanted to foul him. I was happy that 10 was going to the foul line. That falls right on me as a coach.