After a rousing 79-70 victory against in-state rival Michigan State on Sunday, John Beilein turned around and gave a quick interview during the Big Ten basketball coaches teleconference Monday morning. You can read the full transcript of the call below.
Opening statement: “We had a good week last week. In fact, we got to practice, which was real good. Tried to shore up some things and get ready for a really good Michigan State team. Yesterday, in the back 30 minutes of that game, we played as well as we’ve played this year. And you have to do that if you’re going to beat a great Michigan State team. We feel good today, and now we move on. We have little time for anything else but get ready for Purdue on Wednesday.”
- On Nik Stauskas: “I think everyone in Febrauary sees some type of slump. It’s really hard to maintain what we do. It’s a long, long season. There’s a lot of travel. The number of games that are guys play, the number of late night returns home, it’s tough to maintain what you do. Nik needed to see himself back shooting the ball with confidence, shooting the ball in areas that may not be a good shot for some other players, but it’s a pretty good shot for him. He did that yesterday.”
- On his team’s efficiency in the second half: “I think we are versatile enough where we have several options to score the basketball. All of that really feeds off our defense. If we play really good defense, then we get some transition baskets and that’s the only way you can get easy baskets in this league, is in transition. Then you’re limited by some teams — it’s an asset for them, their transition defense. It was good just to see our guys all share the ball. We only had three turnovers, so that’s another big issue. We really took care of the basketball. I think we had seven in the first half against Wisconsin the week before and it buried us. It’s really important that you get a shot every time up the court if you can.”
- On making adjustments earlier in the season: “Well I think that the season’s a journey, and you’re going to have all kinds of moments where you’d like to get better in and there are some other moments when you’re saying, wow, we’re playing pretty well. I laugh when people say “up and downs” and things like that. They’re not ups and downs. It’s all part of the process. Sometimes the downs will be really what you need to go forward. Embrace all those things and try to get better every day. We pride ourselves on having good kids that will be good students of the game so that they’ll make the process a team has to make. I don’t think we’re going to see perfect seasons, ever. Maybe Wichita State can do this, but I think in a BCS conference, it’s really hard to do that. As a result, you’re just going to have to keep going and look at it as a journey. And don’t get too excited when things are going well and don’t ever get down when you have some tough losses.”
- On gaining confidence from a big win: “It is good because you’re only really as good, it seems, as your last game. That’s not the truth, but that’s really the perception many times. We had lost some games to really good teams. Wisconsin and Iowa — Wisconsin’s team travels everywhere, so it doesn’t matter if they’re home or away, and Iowa, especially at home, is terrific. And Indiana has been a tough out for every team.”
- On Glenn Robinson III: “It’s tough to answer because I think on any night he can do what Caris (LeVert) did yesterday, as well. It’s basically what the defense gives us. It’s not like we go into a game and say, listen we need 20 out of Glenn tonight. It’s what the defense is going to give us, what matches up with his skill set. So it’s just good to have — we had as many as four scorers out there many nights, but as Zak and Derrick can also help us as well. And then what Spike and Jordan and Jon give us are more residual, I think, than the rest of them. But I think all of them have qualities of having a good night.”
- More on gaining confidence: “I probably shouldn’t because I think we come off losses really well, but nobody wants to walk around an office for a few days upset about a loss. You still have to have that mentality. Red Berenson has a great quote: you have to practice like you’re in second place and play like you’re a champion. That’s the mentality that we still have, but it beats the alternative of losing to anyone, let alone Michigan State at home.”