Michigan coach John Beilein was available to speak with the media following his team’s gutty 75-66 win over Purdue at the Crisler Center Thursday night. Beilein talked about the production of Caris LeVert as well as defensive improvements he’d like to see from his team. You can watch the full press conference using the embedded media player below or read notes and quotes after the jump.
Opening statement: “You may not believe this, but we’re thrilled to get that victory today. 16 turnovers in a game, I don’t recall, maybe you guys can research that, the last time one of our teams won with 16 turnovers. Credit Purdue for being so aggressive, and then there were some others when it was just us. At the same time, you win a game with that, you have to shoot great, you have to defend just enough to get a 10-point win or whatever it is against Purdue. I’m really pleased. Especially given the situation you see last night, two teams at home, two teams who hope to be in the top of the league losing at home. It’s going to be a battle all year long, pleased to keep our head above water tonight.”
- On Caris LeVert: “When I was telling everybody before when there was this concern about Caris, we’re watching — I don’t know, he reminds me of Manny Harris with his speed right now. He can get to places that you can’t figure out, how’s he just get there? He’s really good at getting that third guy, now Derrick’s doing some things, that’s really helped us offensively. At the same time, we’re still getting bullied a little bit on the backboard because we’re so young and skinny there. Still, he got his rebounds. We need more rebounds out of the other guys.”
- On mentioning yesterday’s home upsets to his players: “A concern that all coaches have is that you have the week we had last week, there’s a lot of attention — it’s such a different world today with the attention they’re going to get. It’s done, it’s over. What I don’t think Wisconsin or Ohio State lost those games because they weren’t — the other teams are good in this league. They’re really good. If you lose a game, make sure you lose it because the other team was better than you, not because you didn’t take that game seriously. And Purdue is really good.”
- On opposing teams focusing on Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas freeing up LeVert: “It’s the same thing we’ve seen with Caris in practices last year, when we said, we’ve got to burn this redshirt. He does these things. And he’s playing off residual action much like Glenn did last year. He just finds spots. There’s very few things called for him other than he’s in space where he can attack and get open for threes. Having him become a knockdown shooter right now has been important. But he has a good handle and he’s got good length to him.”
- On Derrick Walton: “The two pull-up jumpshots he had, we didn’t see that even earlier in practice. I mean, that’s something he’s been working on. (Michigan assistant coach) Vall Jordan does a great job with him. Those were shots that number three used to hit last year for us over and over again. That’s important. While he’s not there, being able to hit that midrange jumpshot — you’re not going to be able to take it to the hoop too much on Hammons. I mean, he’s going to beat that stuff off the board so you have to be able to pull up and shoot it in. His growth of just confidence of knowing what the right plays are has really been nothing short of amazing based on what an 18-year-old — still 18 — what an 18-year-old has to do.”
- On the turnovers: “I’m not sure until I see the video. They gave us more pressure. Their numbers for steals was not big in the league, and we came up trying to say, okay, are they going to let us pass, pass, pass, or are they going to try to take us out of our stuff? And they took us out of a lot of things. We could run some things, but they were really good with their defense. Their quickness is amazing. So they used that quickness to get in some gaps, get some steals. We got shook there when it got to 19-18, they came after us. Thank goodness we were able to settle down and end the half strong.”