John Beilein spoke with the media after Michigan’s 70-66 home loss to Ohio State.
“I think if you’re an Ohio State it was probably a really good basketball game; Michigan fan, not so. The really good news is that we made them miss more shots than we’ve been making people miss. The bad news is they got so many of those back. Some of that happens and it’s not like a guy doesn’t box out. You can’t get to them because of the positioning of your defense—you just can’t get there. … That and our turnovers in the first half (were detrimental). With (Jae’Sean) Tate out of the game we should have been up at half. We let that get away and from then on we’re playing catch up. I’m proud of the way the guys came back, made two ties around the 4-minute mark and the 2-minute mark. I thought we were going to get it at that point. But Tate and (Marc) Loving just got two baskets that they can get. That’s big. But Loving and Tate are a tough matchup for us, as is (Trevor) Thompson. Our frontline was outmatched today. … We’ve got to improve in that area. Really proud of our guards; Muhammad (-Ali Abdur-Rahkman) and Derrick (Walton) (combined for) 17 rebounds. Derrick is playing great; Muhammad is playing great. Really feel great about the consistency we’re seeing from from those two. But right now out frontline has got to play better and they will.”
On Wilson and Wagner’s foul trouble:
“(They could be) worried about another foul. We put them on the foul line 28 times. … Just physically, right now, Thompson has probably been down near that basket his whole life. Moe (Wagner) hasn’t been there very much. That was a physical matchup. And Tate has been there, playing big minutes for three years, not a good matchup for DJ. He took advantage of those situations and we couldn’t stop them in those areas. … We’ll see that again on Tuesday and hopefully grow from it.”
Happy with quality of three-point attempts?
“I think the percentage was pretty good. I think Moe had open looks. A couple of his shots almost hit the top of the rafters. … We wanted to drive the ball really hard into the paint. We had a package to throw the ball inside to Moe as much as we could. They took some of that away, we didn’t do it sometimes, and he was in foul trouble. So we couldn’t get enough of the post touches as we wanted to get. But we did have some really good looks that didn’t go down.”
“Derrick is playing really well right now. I wish he would have just pulled up and knocked down that three and told us all to go home with 15, 20 seconds to go in the game. They probably would have had a good shot at the other end. We don’t want to go for a three there if we can get a two but I thought the screen was set and it was the same shot he’d just made. But love the way he’s playing right now. I also thought he was about to get an ‘and one’ on his little drive to the basket. That would have been a big play, too, but it didn’t happen.”
On overall effort outside of Walton:
“I thought it was OK—for who we are. There are no junkyard dogs out there, we know that. But I thought they gave a great effort. When you’re getting in foul trouble, you’re not going to get a whole lot. Zak (Irvin) is still in a little bit of a funk. I don’t know if it’s residual from the flu. He’s trying his tail off. I thought out effort was fine. I don’t know if our basketball IQ was where it’s got to be against this team. Some of the rebounds, as I watch it, will not be about effort. It will be about the ball bounced to them or they had really good positioning, or it was just about mix-ups on defense—where a guy either got blown by or we missed something somewhere along the line. When a guy steps off to give help and his man slides in and wedges you and gets a rebound—there’s no boxing out; he’s boxed you out before you could ever get there.”
When team is overmatched physically, what can you hang your hat on?
“It is tough. … Where we are right now with those two bigs, what they do do well right now is shoot threes pretty well. You might do that on offense to negate the twos that you’re giving up. If we make a few we might win the game, but it doesn’t hide the fact that those guys are young bucks in there playing for the first time. And they going to get overmatched some times, and they’re going to get better. And we’ve just got to wait it out until they get there, so they…know how to play without fouling and know how to move their feet better.”
Do you see a dramatic difference without Wilson on the floor?
“At times it is. He’s still growing… Right now, it was a really hard matchup for him to guard Tate. … When you’re not the traditional big, Charles Oakley type of ‘4’ man—when you’re a skilled ‘4,’ you’ve got to do a lot of things. You’ve got to guard on the block against some teams and on the perimeter against other people. He might find himself matched up on a point guard—that didn’t work well today—or matched up with Tate and that didn’t work well today inside. He’ll grow and get better from it.”