Beilein's Roundtable: Previewing Kansas

John Beilein met with the media to discuss today's nationally televised match up against Kansas. Michigan's headman broke down the challenges that the Jayhawks present, what his team took away from last year's match up, scheduling big time opponents, and more. Game time is 4:30 EST and will air on CBS.

Coach Beilein:  "A late trip back from Wisconsin and really Wisconsin set a new standard for playing with efficiency, especially in the second half.  Now we have Kansas coming in here, which is I think every bit as talented as they were last year and perhaps even playing better at this time.  We have a lot of work to do.  We have a great crowd, great atmosphere.  We're going to have to play very, very well and make Kansas have one of their bad nights."

Question:  Does it feel like you have to pick the guys up at all?

Coach Beilein:  "I have not talked to them since we got off the airplane.  (Thursday) was a day off.  They had some workouts today and had some other things going on and did not have the time to address them.  We will talk right before a game.  I think they realize that they are on the right path but there are some things that we have to shore up."

Question:  When you play a team like Wisconsin and their methodical style and you play such a radically different team, is that hard to adjust?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah.  I think we'll adjust okay.  I think that is the part of basketball you just have to do.  You don't have a week to prepare.  You have a couple of days, usually two days for every opponent ,and a lot of coaches will spend more on themselves that first day.  Kansas is so athletic and just so talented individually with a great defense and a great coach.  It is different.  We just have to adapt and soon as you are done with that, you have another game and then you have another game.  It goes with the business, goes with the territory."

Question:  These do not look like ordinary games.  It looks almost like a murder's row going from Wisconsin to Kansas to Ohio State.

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah it is a tough one.  We just have to be ready for it.  When you're playing in the Big Ten you've got six teams that were nationally ranked last week, so that is a 60% chance that you are going to play a nationally ranked team.  Now you throw in Kansas, this is what we've tried to do and we're going to keep doing it.  We don't have a top five, top ten type of foe scheduled for next year yet.  We'll have to go on the road to do it, but we'll do it.  We'll just continue to try and bring a great team to Crisler when are students are here."

Question:  You've played really well in these mid season games.  The Duke game here, you guys won.  You had UCONN come in.  What is the mindset that you try to bring in as a team?

Coach Beilein:  "I think we have a lot of pride #1 in the Big Ten.  We're representing the Big Ten.  It is a little bit of a conference battle.  I think we have a lot of pride in the University and we really like it when there is a high national level team coming to our place with our students and our many fans there.  Our kids are excited about every game, but this one I'm sure there is a lot of extra adrenaline that we're going to have to calm down to get ready for this game and some more in the future as well."

Question:  Does some of that adrenaline kind of raise the energy and does energy equate to effort?

Coach Beilein:  "One of our biggest obstacles is to channel that in the right direction.  You're going to have extra energy.  You're going to be so excited, but you got to channel it correctly. I think we have done that so far.  I think the Purdue game was the only I think where we had that situation but there was other distractions.  It just didn't work as far as us having it all together that game.  We have to in this game certainly.  In any of these top games, you have to do it."

Question:  You're looking to go on the road next year.  Do you have an idea of who you are looking for?

Coach Beilein:  "We're calling the usual suspects of people.  Go through the top 20 and pick any one of them and we think is a good match for Michigan as far as their academic profile, they're reputation."

Question:  Is that considering the schedule you know you're going to have next year with Maui?  Are you concerned at all about having it?

Coach Beilein:  "I think if we want a really good home game here every year, which I feel like we'll get in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge here next year, you have to go on the road and play somebody.  That's the plan right now.  The Maui tournament we're going to get a least three huge ones out there.  It could be Kansas again.  It could be Duke.  The field, I don't even want to think about the field.  I think heard it once.  It's another murder's row, but that's why these kids came to Michigan and that's why I'm coaching at Michigan.  It gives you those opportunities for these type of wins."

Question:  You have some tape on these guys, maybe some experience playing these guys from last year.  Does that help?

Coach Beilein:  "It goes both ways.  It helps them as well.  I know that playing in Lawrence last year was both a thrill and it was quite an experience for us because of how loud that arena is and what great tradition they have there.  I don't know how much it helps. I really don't.  I think Matt Vogrich played a couple of minutes, maybe two minutes, Stu (Douglass) and Darius (Morris); now Darius played pretty well and Stu had a good game.  Hopefully that will rub off a little bit.  We do a great job.  Jeff Meyer shows a play they run right now and a play they ran last year against us or how they guarded us last year and what we have to do.  There is something, but they can do the same thing."

Question:  Is Jeff's the scout for this game?

Coach Beilein:  "Yes.  He scouts again."

Question:  Has he become kind of your big game…?

Coach Beilein:  "No I have nothing to do with who picks.  They go through the year and they pick so that it is equal number.  They have to do it, so it is tough with a guy with a scout, a scout and a scout, three in a row.  Maybe someone plays a lot like Butler did, so LaVall (Jordan) might take that one.  I left it up to them.  They are tremendous at it.  I trust all three of them."

Question:  With such a young team this year, is there any concern about the mindset of these guys headed into this five game stretch?

Coach Beilein:  "You certainly would look at the five game stretch, I seriously don't think our guys…our guys are just trying to find their classroom yesterday because it was the first day back.  They missed the first day.  I really think it is game to game.  I don't think we ever look at it that way.  I know I don't.  Like I said, I look at it a little bit in the summer or when we get it and then I sort of put it away, but I don't ever really look at, that is going to be a tough game or those are back to back.  I think it is hey, we got Kansas.  That's all their thinking about… we have Kansas Sunday.  Great opportunity, let us do our best."

Question:  Is that why it seems like the team is able to bounce back after a loss?

Coach Beilein:  "I think every team should be that way.  I think they are.  Coach speak, one game at a time, one game at a time.  I think the players, it is so ingrained in there, one practice at a time, one possession at a time.  That is the way we brain wash them I guess, otherwise it would be too hard.  You look at all these things and there are too many distractions."

Question:  Does this group seem to be more adept at that than others?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah.  They get some of those concepts that we have to take care first things first and it is this game.  Then we'll worry about who is on the horizon afterwards.  I think they are pretty good about that, but I don't think they have a lot of experience with that.  But I think so far they are good at it."

Question:  It has only been 15 games so far, but can you kind of point out what you think your team has done well or one of the strong suits of this group?

Coach Beilein:  "I think we continue to develop individually right now.  You haven't maybe seen it games, but we've seen some things in practice, especially the freshman.  The freshman that are playing right now, Jon (Horford), Evan (Smotrycz), Jordan (Morgan) and Tim (Hardaway), we have really seen some really good growth defensively and offensively.  They're getting better.  The puzzle you have to solve is so everybody else.  The teams are getting better.  It is something that you got to stay persistent, stay the course.  That's what I've liked the best so far.  Matt Vogrich is used to now coming off the bench and draining a shot.  He hit two of them the other day, tough guarded shots.  We look back at the Wisconsin game and we didn't have many open ones.  We made guarded shots, which obviously we did not do in some other games this year or in particular last year."

Question:  I know you look at it game by game, but when you look specifically at this two games stretch; these two games are the types of games that got you guys into the tournament two years ago.  Do you think about that?

Coach Beilein:  "Any time you have a home game with nationally ranked teams, you have to look at that as a tremendous opportunity.  You know my stance here.  Being a mid major and low major coach for so long, never had these opportunities.  You have this opportunity to play these teams on the road.  To play them at home… it always is a unique opportunity to play a nationally ranked team and people are dying to play a top 50 team.  Forget about nationally ranked, just dying to play top 50 teams so that they can get it on their resume.  We have two top five teams coming in here, so it is a great opportunity for us.  It is the only way we can look at it."

Question:  Do you get more excited about it on occasion?

Coach Beilein:  "I'm pretty much the same believe it or not.  I'm just pretty much the same.  I don't mind coaching in this situation at all and I love coaching here in Crisler."

Question:  Is there more pressure to win knowing that it is a nationally televised game?

Coach Beilein:  "I don't think we feel that at all.  I think our kids probably, the Big Ten channel reaches so many places.  Chances you get CBS, you probably get the Big Ten.  Our kids are on TV so much I don't think they know the difference between what announces are there.  I'm sure they appreciate it, because we do want them to appreciate that Michigan does get on CBS, but it is just what we want them to do is embrace it and really do the right thing to win a game."

Question:  How much did the addition of (Josh) Selby last month maybe change them?

Coach Beilein:  "I didn't watch the end of the games without him.  So I cannot answer that.  All I know is he is very talented."

Question:  Did you do that purposely not watch him?

Coach Beilein:  "I can't watch every game they play.  I traditionally watch the games that we've played them in and I watch the last two or three of their games and I watch games that they are playing teams that play similar to us.  I watched the USC game and some other ones.  It is pretty standard."

Question:  They obviously haven't lost yet, but have you been able to see some areas that you might be able to exploit on film?

Coach Beilein:  "Oh boy, I can't give those up.  They don't have many because the (Markieff and Marcus) Morris twins, both can shoot.  They are a very physical team, a really physical team and we're going to have to be able to handle that.  (They play) great pressure defense.  I haven't seen too many things that we can exploit right now.  They have ten guys, 12 guys, 11 guys that could probably start for anybody else in the country.  So they really have things rolling.  We just have to find that day that we really guard well and we are able to make shot.  We got to make guarded shots.  You don't get many open shots against them."

Question:  Do you think when you play teams like this, even though you say Kansas is very physical, they don't play in the Big Ten, which is probably the most physical of all the conferences.  Does that give you more of an advantage?

Coach Beilein:  "I don't know if it gives us an advantage, but I do know that they are physical and they are like a Big Ten team.  I know the Big 12 plays…there are some teams that may go up and the down, allow more points, but they can score.  They can shut down people.  There is a reason they are ranked so high."

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