Beilein Reflects on IU Win; Looks Ahead

John Beilein runs through the downs and the ups of the Indiana game, talks free throw shooting, and looks ahead to the road match-up with Illinois.

Coach Beilein: "Up until we miss the foul shots up in that last four or five minutes, we really played very well. We're learning more about what it takes to win. We still have some rough spots here and there. We still have frustrations what we'll work with the team as they see the big picture on how to do it. It is a good win for us no matter how it turned out in the last four or five minutes. I'm pleased to get the win. It gives us six in the league, 16 overall and we're in sort of the thick of things right now with five to go."

Question: Was it just a contagious thing with free throws?

Coach Beilein: "Yeah. Tim (Hardaway) has probably never missed four free throws in his life any time anywhere at a Nerf hoop, he probably never missed four free throws. We were leading the Big Ten at one time in free throw shooting, I think we were in the 80s. You don't even really address it or make a big deal, but I will silently rep them more. I'll silently do more things, but we won't make a big deal about it because we've been very good in those situations all year long."

Question: You say you are in the thick of things, would you acknowledge that you're in the thick of things for the NCAA tournament?

Coach Beilein: "I don't know about that. We'll let other people decide that. If we just try and take care of business. As I've said to all of you so many times, being in a conference like the Big Ten, there are opportunities out there. We've got to take advantage of those opportunities to be in the thick of things for that."

Question: You guys only tried five threes in the first half. It opened for you in those first couple of possessions in the second half.

Coach Beilein: "They wouldn't let us get them. They were up in us. We had to drive the ball more. They really went out and took away the three. So you take away the three, you give up something else. Just like with (Jordan) Hulls, we were going to take away his looks. So now it allows other people to drive to the basket and hopefully…we stay out of foul trouble in the first half, the second half that was the big issue."

Question: In the second half when you hit three big ones in a row, what opened up there? Where they doing something different?

Coach Beilein: "I can't recall right now. We just found open people. It is just evolving as a team of who is open. We've got to play everybody. Everybody plays us differently and we're learning. Now you play Indiana again the tournament or something, they learn from us and we learn from them. But the game is like this process, the game within the game is like a season. There is a process that we're going through the game to see what they're doing and Coach Crean is seeing what we're doing and you work through it."

Question: When you see them missing free throws late in the second half, what is going through your mind, what do you say to the players?

Coach Beilein: "If we make a couple in a row it is everything. I think Mike four or five them were like in and out. We had a couple of bad misses but most of them that's going in. Just a little bit short, maybe a little tired. That was the end of the four games in nine days. We're done with that and the only time we'd be faced with that again would be in the Big Ten Tournament."

Question: Talk about how Tim has the green light?

Coach Beilein: "You're always quick, you always have good timing. Tim's light is getting really green right now, really green."

Question: He really had his shot on tonight.

Coach Beilein: "He's just learned, maybe it was after the Northwestern or the Minnesota game, where we talked just about, tremendous shooter, you're numbers will go up. You show him John Diebler's numbers and you show him your numbers as far as percentages and you've taken almost as many as him. Just slow down, you can probably take that many, but you got to pick your spots. I love the way we find him too."

Question: Putting Stu (Douglass) is that a product of the team you're playing?

Coach Beilein: "I don't know. That's two games in a row that we got off to a pretty good start. I think we had some opportunities to get off to an even better start today, but it could be. I'll just keep looking at it. Evan (Smotrycz) gave us great minutes today as well. I think everybody cares about…if they were thinking about themselves, they just want to play more than being in the starting lineup."

Question: Taking care of business and not worry about the NCAA's, but you can use the NCAA tournament all of a sudden now as a little bit of a carrot for your team?

Coach Beilein: "With our guys going to Illinois, they know how important that would be. Who has gone to Illinois and won? I don't…maybe one team or two teams. I don't recall if anybody has. You do that just like our Michigan game win, just like the win at Clemson. Clemson is having a heck of a year. Those are things that you just do and you just try to build it up. It is almost like a tournament within a tournament, each win gets you closer to where you need to go. Illinois, a very veteran team. I'll start watching tape on them tomorrow afternoon, a very veteran team. They'll be tough to beat. We'll be prepared."

Question: Are concerned you with the loss of the lead of 20 points?

Coach Beilein: "Not at all. Just the foul shooting. We did everything right during that time. We had two turnovers that was a pass through the hands that Evan threw and then Tim took a chance trying to splint some defenders, but we didn't make foul shots. The game right there, their in the double bonus, they got in the double bonus early. So their game changes. They're not even going for threes. They are going to drive, drive, drive. They are very good at drawing fouls. They do this one thing to help draw fouls and we fouled them. Now we come down and they foul us and we miss them. Or they get to the rim because we're trying not to foul because you're up ten with a minute to go. You got to make the foul shots. If we make the foul shots, it is obviously a 15 or ten point game. Truthfully at home, we played well enough to be a ten to 15 point win."

Question: Why was it important eliminating Hulls looks?

Coach Beilein: "We had to do that. We said that this is a perfect segue with Michael Thompson the other day. It was perfect only Hulls is a little bit bigger. There is just no….and (Matt) Roth is the same way. You got to guard them all the way in the locker room. They can shot like you can't believe and he did a really good job on him."

Question: This is a second straight game that you have beaten you earlier on this season. Does this show signs of improvement?

Coach Beilein: "The big improvement is that we played them at home and we weren't down in Bloomington. That's the first thing, you got your home crowd that's a big thing. It is not sometimes how you're playing and when you're playing them and where you're playing them. We are an improved team. We were watching a tape yesterday and Zach Novak looked at me and said, ‘boy, we were bad.' But Indiana made us play bad. Today we had some really good moments. Our defense the first half was great."

Question: What did you tell your team when you saw Christian Watford in warm-ups?

Coach Beilein: "When he was shooting around, we never tell our team that a kid is not going to play. He could come on there in crutches and we can say, you never know. He could come out there. We were prepared. I thought he played very well."

Question: You didn't seem very happy with some of the foul calls in the second half.

Coach Beilein: "There was one thing that I have to talk to officials about, just about how people are drawing fouls right now and it is a great strategy to draw fouls, but I don't think it is the intent, so we're just going to keep working on it."

Question: It seems like Zach didn't score but his overall game…

Coach Beilein: "I love his assist, his numbers. Those are parts of the games that we just have to keep working through but Novak is so solid and my biggest concern always with him is that he plays so hard every minute, every practice. He watches film very diligently of just keeping him fresh."

Question: Darius said that with a 15-point lead that appears you stop playing to win and you start to play not to lose. Now that you guys have gotten to a point where you are up by 15 the last two games, is that something you need to work on?

Coach Beilein: "We're playing against the clock when you're up with the lead. We were going to take wide-open layups. There was a couple of times that we should have challenged on the fast break and look for a wide-open layup. The one time that we did, Zach got the walking call. We have enough ball control, we should get to the foul line. I you have a team that shots 50% from the foul line as a rule, you are attacking that basket. We have a team right now except for Stu, right now, we had great foul shooters out on the court. You're just going to the foul line, hold the ball and attack where you have to attack at shot clock time. We had one layup and we had a charging call. When we did attack, we didn't score."

Question: With that 16th win, it guarantees you above .500 in the regular season. Talk about the direction the program is going now that you have improved on last year.

Coach Beilein: "Here is the direction I like. I just love coaching this team. I love how much they are improving. Our staff is working very hard with them and I hope that come here embrace these young men because they are so young and they play with such passion. They love the University of Michigan and that is what they are out there playing and they love these fans. We have to continue to keep mind of that as we push through the year because now we have one of those stretches that we had earlier in the year. Let us see how much we've improved during that time and I always say to everybody, everybody is improving. We're improving, right. Bruce Webber didn't say let us not practice the next couple of days. They're going to practice and they're getting better. We have to continue stay up with them."


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