Beilein Excited to Tip-Off Big Ten Play

John Beilein met with the media yesterday to preview his team's Big Ten opener today against Purdue. Michigan's headman discussed the difficulty of defending the Boilermakers, the adjustment his freshmen will have to make to Big Ten play, Jordan Dumars' status, and more.


Coach Beilein:  "The Big Ten starts tonight with one game tonight, I believe and now with us with Purdue, who is a tremendous team.  They will come in here and play hard, strong, tough, physical defense and offense.  They have between E'twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, two all Big Ten players and they're difficult to stop.  So we will have to rely on our team to find ways to score and our team to find ways to stop people."

Question:  When you look at what you guys have been able to do against (Keith) Benson; how much does that translate?

Coach Beilein:  "You see a little bit of that.  Johnson is different in that he is a very consistent from the outside scorer and has just been a little bit more consistent I think in his games.  When you have E'Twaun Moore on the court at the same time that it makes it difficult as well.  There are many similarities.  We will be able to draw on some of it."

Question:  Does this remind you at all of you guys last year just in the way they score?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah having two guys averaging 19 points a game is rare but they really are very strong in all of their support roles.  They got a little bit of youth in there, but they got some guys that won with them last year.  There is a bit of a transition with (Robbie) Hummel not being in there."

Question:  How different are they without Hummel on the court?

Coach Beilein:  "He is such a tough player.  They are so good, so good with him and for them to be 11-1 right now is just a great sign of great team chemistry and really good coaching.  To be 11-1 right now, their win at Virginia Tech was very impressive.  Hummel is so good.  It is hard to measure what he does for that team, and they are 11-1.  Would they be 12-0 with him? Maybe.  They had a great chance without him, I think a great chance with him for playing a long time in March."

Question:  Can you just talk about the excitement and the chance to start the Big Ten season?

Coach Beilein:  "I think our guys are excited about it.  You get through the guarantee game, that part of the nonconference schedule and it is a sigh of relief sometimes, you get through it, you got a bunch of home games and games that people probably expect you to win.  Coach don't expect to win those.  They know if they play well they have a good chance to get through that.  Now the Big Ten, now we know the competition is incredible every night and hopefully we're up for it."

Question:  Jordan Dumars good now?

Coach Beilein:  "Yes he is good now.  His grades have been posted and he's ready to roll."

Question:  Do you expect him to get any minutes tomorrow?

Coach Beilein:  "Probably not.  Probably still trying to get into shape and learn the different things, but you never know."

Question:  I know you had a couple of guys go home; did everyone get back home on tie?

Coach Beilein:  "Everybody is back on town.  We were really fortunate, especially the Boston one.  Evan's (Smotrycz) flight got out before the storm hit.  Tim (Hardaway) of course got back and forth."

Question:  Where you kind of watching that a little bit, especially since Evan is a starter and a freshman?

Coach Beilein:  "Oh yeah.  I always want them here the night before just in the event that happens, so the timing did work out."

Question:  Is it a little bizarre to have a mid week game start at two o'clock?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah two o'clock and I think it was brought to my attention last year about what the plans were and we really don't have a lot of control over it, but it wasn't like I didn't want to do it, because there was a chance that it would be a bowl game that Michigan could be involved in that night.  I wouldn't want that scenario, so the two o'clock game has been I think warmly received.  We expect a good crowd."

Question:  Do you feel like the nonconference prepared you as well it could have for the Big Ten?

Coach Beilein:  "I hope so, but you just never know.  I don't know if there is any way that could really prepare you for the Big Ten unless you just every night you're playing somebody.  You are not going to have…not that there are any nights off, but it is just rare that you go into a game and if you play don't play well you win, which we've had on a few occasions.  The next four or five or six games… that'll prepare us for Big Ten play.  Prepare us for the second half of the season.  It is very challenging."

Question:  When you look at the stretch and you seem to have four or five ranked teams in there, especially by next week; is that maybe the toughest stretch?

Coach Beilein:  "No I think since I've been here and it has happened at my other stops too.  The last couple of years here we've had some really tough stretches.  Sometimes we've done okay and sometimes a win or two in that stretch even though you might go 2-3, depending on where they are is a heck of a thing.  We'll wait and see as they come up.  I know a little bit about it, not a lot about it other than I saw a bunch of teams. I don't know who follows who, but I know they are good teams."

Question:  Last year you kind of a very similar run, did you pull….?

Coach Beilein:  "No, we haven't really even talked about that.  We've come back and had two practices to get ready for Purdue.  We haven't talked about it.  As we get into it, we will, some of our guys have been there but most of our guys really don't know about the travel and the demanding teams that we have coming in."

Question:  Is that good or bad?

Coach Beilein:  "It is fine.  I don't know if it is good or bad, just keep playing every day."

Question:  Zach Novak was talking about the freshmen.  They think they kind of know because they played 12 games, but they probably don't really know.  How long does that take to get acclimated?

Coach Beilein:  "It will take a while.  I was just looking at the Purdue guys and Ryan Smith and I'm trying to think of the other kids that did not shoot well from the outside last year.  Purdue has got a very talented team and they've got guys that now in their junior year are starting to produce like I'm sure Matt (Painter) wants them to but hopes they do earlier.  That's just part of it, you just wait and everybody sort of feels more comfortable with what they're doing as they grow older in the Big Ten."

Question:  Is it too short a turnaround? You played on Thursday and you play your first Big Ten game just five days later.  Is that an issue for you…the Big Ten season started a little bit earlier this year?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah.  This is the earliest I think probably on record for us to play a Big Ten game.  Like I said, there is a game tonight and that's the way it has gone now, the post Christmas tournaments are no longer happening.  You just end up playing a game that is right after Christmas and hopefully you have scheduled it up enough that you can have a little bit of a break.  That's the shortest break we've ever had, but we just go play and we have a few days to try and get better before we hit Sunday's game."


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