Putting MSU in the Rearview

John Beilein met with the media yesterday to discuss the fan/alum reaction to the victory over Michigan State, getting his team to put it behind them, Zack Novak's improved shooting, Darius Morris' bounce back effort, Sunday's match up versus Iowa, and more.


Coach Beilein:  "It was obviously a very exciting (Thursday) night for us, for our team, for the Wolverine Nation, and the faithful all over the world that follows us.  I got an email from India this morning.  I got a lot of great vibes about the win, it was great."

Question:  Who was the email in India from?

Coach Beilein:  "It was actually from Bob Dolan who is the dean of the business school.  It was really neat."

Question:  How did he find out about it?

Coach Beilein:  "I do not know, he just knew about it."

Question:  Is that the weirdest one you got?

Coach Beilein:  "No, I got a lot of them, texts, but it is okay."

Question:  From former players?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah.  Just a lot of things, but I can't cover them all.  You come home and you wake up the next morning and Iowa is the only thing on your mind. But you do like to have an attitude of gratitude about all the people that care."

Question:  How much did you sleep?

Coach Beilein:  "Not very much but it is the same way, it is wins and losses.  It is the same thing.  This is not a great team time for you because you get up real early because you can't sleep or you don't sleep.  You don't sleep from 12 to 3 or you get up at three or four because you can't sleep.  It is just part of it."

Question:  I know you don't ever like to hang on to one loss or one win for any longer than another, but this one, just on campus and the mood, just kind of your initial thoughts about.  It was really a huge win for this team and this program.  Is there a little bit of a difference with this in kind of hanging on to it or just how you are received throughout the day?

Coach Beilein:  "No, we won't hang onto it.  From now, we're finished with it.  It is because it is a rivalry, because they have controlled the rivalry for the last 15 years or so.  It is a complement to them that it means so much to us.  Even received a great phone call from Mark Hollis today just saying congratulations, love the way your kids played and the way they conducted themselves after the game.  All good stuff."

Question:  Can it affect you confidence going forward?

Coach Beilein:  "We certainly should never be overconfident.  Right now, it should help us a great deal, but you never know.  This is still a group…fragile is a negative term and I don't like to say that, but they are just figuring things out.  They are just figuring out what they have to do because the college game can be so up and down that they are finding that our right now."

Question:  Did you run them a little harder today just to kind of make sure…?

Coach Beilein:  "Today, no.  I know Zack (Novak) has a test and I know three of our other guys will not be running.  They will be resting and working on what we call low-impact workouts.  The other guys who didn't play a lot minutes will have a pretty good workout today, an hour and 30 minutes or so."

Question:  What has been the difference with Zack, especially with his outside shooting?  I think in the last ten games, he's got nine that he had double figures.

Coach Beilein:  "He worked last year a great deal on his shooting and it really changed his delivery a little bit.  If you watched him last year, he used to kick one leg off a lot.  It would take him off balance.  So he was really streaky last year.  He worked all summer just to get himself to get away from those 1/6 (from three-point land) days that really plagued our shooters last year.  As a result, he is more consistent.  I watch those and Michigan State did not leave him open.  He hit shots in people's face.  That's a great sign for us because you know in this league you're not going to get open very much.  You have to make shots with somebody in your face."

Question:  Does LaVall Jordan get to scout Sunday just because of familiarity purposes?

Coach Beilein:  "I've never done that.  I just let them pick and it is more because LaVall cannot have the Michigan State and Iowa game back-to-back.  They pretty much divide it up according to what they feel comfortable."

Question:  Does that help you that he is very familiar with their personnel?

Coach Beilein:  "The system is different.  The personnel he'll know, but young men change.  If I was to scout our guys from year to year, you would see a big change in them.  I don't think it is a decided advantage.  It gives us a little bit of insight."

Question:  Tim Hardaway had eight rebounds for you guys.

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah that was great.  He showed that a lot and the more he plays and he understands how physical college basketball is.  He is coming out of some of those scuffles and he is unscathed.  He realizes that you go in there, you can get things done.  The more he lifts.  Just look at his body -- it is going to really fill out -- but you've got to want to go in there and he had eight rebounds.  Sometimes you don't want your big man to even go after the rebound, you want them to just box out and stay with their box out and Jordan (Morgan) did that several times -- just stay with your box out and let our guys clear up."

Question:  Because they have long arms was that a point of emphasis with your guards to get on the glass?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah it is very important."

Question:  How dangerous is a team that is 1-7 in the league?

Coach Beilein:  "Just as dangerous as a one and six team that went up to East Lansing.  It is the same thing.  We don't even look at that.  Seriously, our kids, I don't even know if they follow what the records are.  It is just another game and we have had very good crowds at home.  I expect that we'll have a lot of people here coming back very faithful to us.  We want to play well at home without question."

Question:  You said you woke up this morning just thinking about Iowa.  Do you have any doubt that your players (did the same)?

Coach Beilein:  "We will get past today.  I always believe that you need to show the self improvement parts of yesterday's game and give them some bounce in their step going out the door.  I love even showing the bench, our managers reaction to Stu (Douglass) or Tim's shot or Stu's step-back and just how high people are jumping off the bench.  You have to reinforce that because those are things that you don't want to let go of immediately, but you do have to let go of once we walk onto that practice floor."

Question:  What will you show Darius (Morris), going from the struggle against Minnesota to what he did (against Michigan State?

Coach Beilein:  "I think I do not have to show him anything.  I think he realizes the difference.  It will be more of a team thing."

Question:  What was the difference with Darius?

Coach Beilein:  "He had just tremendous intensity yesterday.  He just played really focused, very good."

Question:  You just had talked about the emotion and Zack obviously is always emotional whether you guys are up a lot, down a lot… whenever.  Is there any point where you have to kind of manage that or you just let him loose?

Coach Beilein:  "When we go into the huddle, I'm talking to my assistants.  I didn't see how he was talking to our guys on the team."

Question:  He was red faced.

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah.  I saw it on ESPN this morning and I've seen that before, but I wasn't even aware of it, because you're consumed with coaching your team next.  I think the guys on our teams understand the passion that he plays with and the same passion that we all are about things, things we really believe in and he believes so much into this team and this university.  As I said to Bob Dolan today in my reply to his email, you would be very proud of your junior in the Ross Business School."

Question:  Is there anything to playing on national TV, because it seems like these ESPN games and CBS game, Ohio State and Kansas, Michigan State are probably some of the best games you've had all year?

Coach Beilein:  "I would doubt it.  I think it is a great question, but I would doubt it because I think the Big Ten Network does put out there nationally.  I think it is just a matter of us going through it.  It is a process.  You're going to have good games.  You may have some bad games and then you just got to keep fighting through it, but I don't think some of those elements are as important as where it is on the schedule, who are you playing, what is their scheme compared to what you practice every day.  How are your kids going to react when you get down in a game big and that is what happened in both Northwestern and Indiana.  We just got down 12 or 13 at halftime and it was hard."

Question:  What is the biggest challenge that Iowa brings?

Coach Beilein:  "I think they have some veterans there that are hungry again.  Any time, Todd Lickliter is a great friend of mine and so is Fran (McAffery) actually.  Any time there is a coaching change, they are focused and they are trying just get better and better.  Two of our three games last year where nail biters with them, so was the tournament.  We got out early but it was close and the other one was overtime that they have some veterans coming back.  They have some outstanding shooters and a couple of their young guys, the point guard (Bryce Cartwright), the junior college transfer and their freshman (Melsahn Basabe) from the northeast is really playing well."

Question:  Have you been pleased with Tim Hardaway's shot selection?

Coach Beilein:  "I think it has been pretty good.  There were a couple of times that he has to take.  He has a shot clock, what we call a shock three that he can shoot a shot on somebody and usually get it off.  Just like the one that was in front of me that went in and out that might have sealed the game as well.  That was highly guarded, he has the ability to do that.  So he has got to use that as a strength and try not to use it as a weakness.  So what he has really recognized lately is that I can get that shot if I'm not really wide open, wait to shot clock time and they may find me at shot clock time and the ball might be in my hands.  I have been pleased.  It is very typical of a freshman.  I don't think anybody is perfect with it.  I do not think Kobe is perfect with it.  I'm sure that Phil (Jackson) talks to Kobe (Bryant) about that shot.  It is part of it and you don't want to lose it.  You don't want a guy to have so much belief that the next shot is going in."

Question:  What is the most important thing that you want to see come from this win?

Coach Beilein:  "I think that our team…like I said the Minnesota game, which was a disappointment to use all that through adversity you can build strength.  Failure is the fertilizer for success.  You are going to have some failures and that is what you go through when you have a young team.  There are very few situations where you have teams with this youth have just consistent success.  It could be very up and down and you just cannot stop it, you got to keep pressing on."

Question:  If there is something that you want them to learn from winning at Michigan State would be?  The most valuable things to take from that.

Coach Beilein:  "Things are tough on the road but if you hang together you can have success.  We got a couple more buildings to win here in the Big Ten, but very few teams have great…Tom (Izzo) has done a great job of winning on the road, but is another one of those buildings when you get a win from and we got a few more to try and get just as you go through this process to show everybody that the road is not doom and gloom that so many people perceive it to be."

Question:  Are you wearing sneakers this weekend (for Coaches versus Cancer, Suits and Sneakers weekend)?

Coach Beilein:  "I am wearing sneakers, yes I will be.  I have supported that cause for a long time and will continue to do so.  Usually go more with the Polo shirt than the suit, just the sneakers."


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