Michigan head coach John Beilein met with the media this afternoon to discuss his team’s inclusion in the NCAA Tournament. Beilein received a tip from a priest in Indianapolis that his team would be included in the field and the tip paid off.
“I’ll begin with a funny story. After yesterday’s loss, I decided to leave early this morning at 9:00 or 9:15. So I went to an 8 a.m. mass at St. Johns in Indianapolis. And I was leaving the mass and the priest was there and he was from Minnesota for the Big Ten Tournament, and when I was a walking out the door he says ‘Coach, I think you’re in.’ And I said ‘How do you know that?’ and he says ‘I got a guy that’s better than Lunardi.’ And I asked ‘Are we talking about this guy (points up toward God)?’ But he said he had another guy better than Lunardi. So that started my day on a positive note, and little did I know that he would be right.”
On making it in
“I’m just so happy for our guys that we have been elected to go into the NCAA Tournament again. So you don’t have to ask, we’re thrilled to be in in any way, shape or form. Play-in game is a part of the NCAA Tournament. In fact, I’m glad. We just played three games, and we did a lot of good things, and we don’t have five days to rest. We’ve just got to go play; rest a little bit, go through some quick things that we can learn about Tulsa and ourselves and play. And then play again. And then play again. So it’s a great opportunity for us after a long challenging season to keep playing now in March.”
On the leaked bracket
“I saw them all looking at their phones and I said ‘What do you have there?’ and they told me. Every pick had been right so far, but I didn’t trust it — I needed to see it up there.
On what bid does for the program
“I looked at this this thing because I know we had been to such heights before and everybody was down and I said ‘You know what, just given the injuries and the NBA attrition, were just sort of going back up again. We’re not going in the wrong direction, we’re going back up again after last season we had 16 wins, we’re going up to 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 wins, we’re going back up.
“So it’s great to have that verified by being in the NCAA Tournament but even if we were in the NIT, I’d have the same impression right now — that we would have had a great seed and try to make the most out of that. It’s all good for us. To beat Indiana, to beat Northwestern twice (down the stretch) is just good for us overall for our kids’ psyche and for our fans to just feel good about the future. These kids are getting better, we’ve got everybody coming back next year that was playing at the end of the year and we’re moving in the right direction.”
On what he knows about Tulsa
“I don’t know anything. I know Frank Haith from years ago, I’m trying to think where he was coaching when I met him, but I don’t know one thing about Tulsa or their team, but I will by midnight tonight.”
On timing of the game (9:10 pm)
“Oh God, those are long days for me. We’ll have a good shootaround there, that’s for sure, but I don’t know if we’ll go practice there now if that’s the situation, we’ll just rely on a 2:00 shootaround that day. We have had several 9 o clock type games. I don’t know if we’ve played well in all of them, and I don’t know if it matters. We’ll just have to do what we have to do.
“But I’ll tell you what, it’s better than Friday at 9:10 (Michigan would play Friday at 9;40 if it wins on Friday). I guarantee you, if anybody remembers our loss to Ohio U I think it was a later game, on Friday night, waiting all week, it was long.”