Beilein's Roundtable: Previewing Wisconsin

John Beilein met with the media to discuss tonight's opponent the Wisconsin Badgers. Michigan's headman broke down the Badgers methodical style, what his young Wolverines must do to have success, injuries, and more. Game time is 8:30 EST and will air on the Big Ten Network.

Coach Beilein:  "The way (the Wisconsin Badgers) play, it is not like you're getting ready to play Purdue.  You don't know what they are going to allow you to run.  Wisconsin is going to allow you to run a lot of things, just trying to pick what is going to work is really hard.  It is really important and when they can get out to earlier leads on you that game gets real short and that has happened to us.  We have played I think seven times and I think three of those times they have gotten out early on us and it is just really hard to come back on them.  We're on a short rest and they are on a short rest too.  We've been working on ways to try and stop them and at the same time try to score points, which is huge."

Question:  Is the biggest problem with them from your defensive standpoint is that the swing offense is so deliberate and so predictable and they have no problems at times like you guys do…

Coach Beilein:  "The epitome of it was when we played them last year.  DeShawn (Sims) got a nice bucket to start the game, they ran the swing for 30 seconds, took a shot, got an offensive rebound, ran the swing another 30 seconds, got a basket.  We guarded it for one minute and it was a long rebound and we boxed out and we did everything but right now they are better than us in taking care of the ball.  Eight and a half turnovers a game and we're ten and a half and I don't know where we are nationally, but I would assume that is a pretty good stat.  You have to be very persistent and patience isn't a word because you go patient defensively, they'll lull you to sleep and get you.  It is persistent.  You have got to stay persistent throughout the whole possession."

Question:  You want to run when you can, you said that, but is this the type of game where you emphasize it even more?

Coach Beilein:  "You have to.  Here is what they do is really well, their defensive transition.  They play full-court defense… it just does not look like it.  They miss a shot, they are going to crash just enough, but then they are going to have five guys getting back and building a wall.  You can try to run all you want and we will.  You have to against them to try and get easy baskets, but they are really good at getting back and getting you back into a five on five game.  To answer your question, we will do it. It is not as easy as you think.  They want the tempo at their pace and part of that is their defense."

Question:  You mentioned their turnovers or their lack of it. They have five total in the first two Big Ten games.

Coach Beilein:  "Is that right? Five total?"

Question:  Yes.  You seemed surprised by that even. 

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah.  Well it is amazing because they've been so efficient and they are more efficient now.  You just look at their three point shooting totals, everything.  I said on my show, I said on conference call, they do not beat themselves.  Teams that have been able to beat them have been able to make shots and make guarded shots and when they make a mistake defensively or you do something really good offensively.  You have that open shot, you got to finish it.  You got to make all your foul shots.  Every opportunity to score, you got to take advantage of it."

Question:  Are you going to use Evan Smotrycz at the five?    

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah, we're trying everything.  Hopefully, we will have all our big guys today trying to guard both their action and our action and play our action.  I don't know exactly how it will go.  When we've had success, we've never shot the ball great against them.  We did a little bit last year at their place, but here nobody could make a shot but DeShawn here and they couldn't miss.  You can't get down early to them."

Question:  You have had some success up there, even though you have mentioned the times that they have given you trouble.  Is it making shots while guarded that might be the biggest factor in hanging in there with them or what would it be?

Coach Beilein:  "I don't know. I don't think our kids think about this, but the game is so short when you play them that you might offensively get a little bit impatient.  Not thinking about your own numbers just thinking about, we have all these things that we are trying to do offensively, we haven't run any of them yet.  Maybe I just need to do something and that plays into their hands.  At the same time, we want our guys to be players now.  They got to be players.  If they have open opportunities, look for them."

Question:  Is that even more dangerous with a young team that just because they're young they might not know…?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah I hope we go out just like we did when we went to Clemson, as you asked about.  Just go to Clemson, our guys didn't, hey this is a road game.  It is supposed to be loud in here.  It is going to be tough in here.  Yeah they are a good team and we just played.  It is a thing that I hope to get used to now because we have nine of them left on our schedule I believe, so we have to adapt to it."

Question:  With (Blake) McLimans is he still recovering from…?

Coach Beilein:  "No, he is okay right now.  He is working every day really hard.  You like to play everybody.  You'd like to play nine, ten, 11 guys if you can.  We got to get guys to be comfortable in the game and then say okay, everybody has chances in practice to earn it.  He's got to earn that opportunity in practice right now.  The sickness shut him down for a couple of days, but I think he is back, but we just got to get him more and more reps, but he has got to stay ready when he is giving another opportunity.  He worked out for 45 minutes this morning – hard.  He's got another two hour practice right now.  He might work out after practice today as well.  We will go with him.  We'll take 20 hours weeks with him every week right now so that he is in position to be in position because he is not getting to run in games that hopefully he can get, but you can't play him and Jon (Horford) and Evan and everybody."

Question:  Same thing with Colton (Christian)?

Coach Beilein:  "Same thing.  Colton is really in our extra periods here, the time that we use here has really played much better.  We haven't seen it in games at all, but he has had such limited time.  Can't overemphasize that enough that when kids that have always played and they come to college basketball and they are coming off the bench at the ten minute mark and they have been sitting there for 20 minutes, it is really hard.  It is really hard.  Some guys, that is why we like this idea of Stu (Douglass) coming off the bench.  (Matt) Vogrich now has gotten used to it.  Who else can we get used to it."

Question: I know you only focus on one game at a time, but is this the kind of week that you are concerned about the confidence of a young team?

Coach Beilein:  "No.  You know what, it is about opportunity.  If you look at our schedule, this is all about opportunities.  You've heard me say before, in the leagues where I come from, you don't get these opportunities in January/February.  These are guaranteed games in December at their place.  You have a great Wisconsin team on the road, great chance for a road win.  You have Kansas at home against a great crowd – great chance for a home win.  So these are the opportunities that you look at and say hey, this is what these kids have been waiting for a long time to be able to do this.  I told them the other day.  We have no disrespect for our opponents, but some of our traditional games you didn't grow up watching Saturday waiting to play this game against this team from Louisiana or Texas or wherever some of the guarantee games come from.  You want to play against Ohio State, you want to play against Wisconsin, you want to play against Kansas, but here we are and so that is how we do this a little bit."

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