Michigan overcame a slow start to blow out Hillsdale in Saturday’s regular-season opener at the Crisler Center. John Beilein said he wasn’t concerned with the Wolverines’ defense effort, and he applauded Caris LeVert’s for nearly reaching a triple-double without any turnovers. Watch Beilein’s postgame press conference with select quotes after the jump.
Opening statement: “There was never a feeling that that wasn’t a close 24-point win. There was a method why we did that. Hillsdale doesn’t have a team; Hillsdale has a program. That’s what we try to do as well.”
“We’ll take it, but like I said, that felt like a very close, nip-and-tuck 24-point win.”
On if he’s disappointed defensively: “No. This is what we have to do. We have to learn. We’re still trying to find out who we are defensively, our patterns of switching. They exposed that a lot today.
On responding from a slow start: “Nothing surprises me in this game. I think if they had hit another three and gone up 13-2, I might have used a timeout. … The kids came out (after the TV timeout), and we upped our pressure because they were just getting too clean of looks on their passing game.
On raising a banner: “I talked a little bit to the freshmen, but to the ones that we gave the rings out that are currently on the team, I said, ‘Let’s do this again.’ That’s so important that we have this vision that we’re going to compete for championships. At the same time, the other guys, we said, ‘I want you to sit back, look at what just happened, and know that’s what we’re trying to do every day at the University of Michigan.’ ”
On Caris LeVert: “The nine assists and zero turnovers. This is something that you can see: We got the ball in his hands a lot. He can see the floor; he’s very unselfish. That was really a good performance.”
On balancing freshmen involvement with playing veterans: “That is the puzzle of, don’t lose sight of the really good players as we develop the young kids. You have to continue to feed Caris and Zak and Spike and Derrick. So much reinforcement and individual development while you’re also trying to get the other guys just to land on two feet sometimes when you go strong into the lane.”
On playing Albrecht and Walton together: “We were just trying to get as much experience on the floor as we could. Even though we’re not tiny — we’re six feet and 5-11 at that point — it did give some matchup problems a couple of times. If you look at our team and the way the starting lineup is, 40% of it is playing in their first game. That’s almost half the team. Anytime we can get Spike in with him, we up that to 60%.”
On Caris and Spike being team captains: “They will be captains all year long, those two. We had a team vote which was practically unanimous, and the coaching staff was unanimous too. So we’re really excited about those two guys leading us.”
“Neither one are ‘holler guys’ now, and that’s something that we’re teaching them.”