Pre-Iowa Roundtable: Coach B, Novak, Douglass

Coach Beilein, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass look back, and ahead to today's game.

Coach Beilein: "The loss to Illinois was one for a road game, so close, so near to having a great upset, didn't get there. I think our team is vey disappointed, very quiet plane ride back, very quiet bus ride from the plain, but at the same time, we had a great practice yesterday, very short but good. We'll have a great practice today and move on to Iowa."

Question: Are you glad that you're not in a situation Iowa is in, you have to play a nine o'clock game last night and then…

Coach Beilein: "Yeah those are all challenging situations. You have to find…that doesn't happen very much in the Big Ten. It happens to them. Usually teams, it is like the Big Ten tournament, you've got to get ready to play right away and sometimes it is not so bad."

Question: Do you think it is going to give you an advantage since they got such a quick turnaround?

Coach Beilein: "They're back home and we have to travel. We all would rather have two days over one day over the long term, you can't do it, quick turnaround. Shouldn't have too much of an effect."

Question: Has Jordan (Morgan) learned a few things since getting torn up a little bit by (Melsahn) Basabe in the last matchup?

Coach Beilein: "Yeah I don't think he guarded Basabe as much."

Question: What about the team controlling Basabe a little bit better this game?

Coach Beilein: "This whole team scored points against us. It was not any individual performance. It was more that they scored very well in the first half, but they score on everybody. They are a pretty good scoring team right now. So stopping them, scoring on them, always a challenge."

Question: What is it about Basabe that makes him so far?

Coach Beilein: "He's very quick with his delivery to the basket, very athletic with his length, but he is a ballplayer. He just feels the game very well and can score the ball. Some guys are shooters, some guys are driving, some guys are just scorers. His quickness and his length allows him to score."

Question: You said every game is important and every game is a must win game, but for your tournament drive and the hope that you have left, is the must win game?

Coach Beilein: "I think you have to look…there are two issues when you're trying to get into the tournament, beating top 50 teams and then road wins. No matter who they are against, road wins. This was give us four legitimate four wins and that's always good. If we ever get another one it would really be good. You look at it from those two standpoints right now. Obviously, Iowa has been rebuilding, but they are getting better and better. There win-loss record has not shown that yet, but I thought they were a very talented team every time I've seen them. I watched the Northwestern game last night. They defended Northwestern, did a terrific job with that and they can score the ball. The last game we were 14-28 against them from three. We would like to do that again."

Question: When you mentioned the other night about people changing things up on you guys. Their adjusting to Tim (Hardaway), they're taking away the three. Is there a lot of things that you guys have to do as a result of that?

Coach Beilein: "I think what happens a lot is that it is not only just changing that is their style of play. You go through changes because you're playing Northwestern, then you're going to play Illinois, now you play a team that will mix man and zone. It is difficulty but that is what he is going to see and that's what we're all going to see. Darius (Morris) continues to see the changing. Zach Novak cannot get a three off right now when he was earlier. We all have to adjust. That's basketball."

Question: With the lineup, are you going to go with it…?

Coach Beilein: "Yeah. I like the starts that we've been getting off to. I like the idea that we do have some type of latitude to change at sometimes right now and go bigger if we needed to. That's three consecutive pretty good starts. We had had three consecutive probably four starts. So why change it now."

Question: Is the biggest change in (too much background noise) because now the first or second guy off bench is a big guy.

Coach Beilein: "I don't worry about that. I worry about trying to get the best guys on there. Jon (Horford) is working hard and if given the opportunity, we're going to see him play. He is getting better every day."

Question: Do you like the different lineup, where you got (Evan) Smotrycz…?

Coach Beilein: "It depends on who we're playing. With Illinois, they had the big seven footer. Unfortunately, Evan went one for five, but you can stretch them and negate their size. They were scoring at the rim, but whether we're 6'8" or 6'9" with Jordan and Evan, if Jon was in there. Evan has made threes in game. He's establishing his inside stuff a great deal right now, but he has not been able to do it in games. In games, he can make threes, he's proven that."

Question: Going forward is that maybe the role you see for him, is maybe a hybrid inside-outside guy?

Coach Beilein: "Yeah. If you look at his numbers, he hasn't been to the foul line enough. It is hard to win with just that 6'9" guy just shoots jump shots. Through most of his career that's what he's done, only he was probably 6'6"-6'7", but now he is 6'9"…when people switch, they switch a lot of the ball screens on him. When they switch with him, you got to be able to dive him inside and that's what we're working on. Really with what we've done with him with Bacari (Alexander) is really the first that he has ever had a lot of inside – here is how you score inside when you're 6'9"."

Question: Next year?

Coach Beilein: "Oh yeah that's the future. Him being more of a complete player as far as his offense and his post defensive is really improving. He knew very little about guarding in the post against this size because he had been a perimeter forward."

Question: Do you think him having to learn to defend the five, something he has not done in the past, do you think that maybe working harder on that is affecting his offensive game?

Coach Beilein: "No. I think the defense is affecting his offensive game. The defenses are doing…taking away what he does best, shoot threes and he has got to counter and he's working on it."

Question: Do you guys recognize (how many threes have been attempted in the game)?

Coach Beilein: "I don't think we realize it. You realize when you're open, shoot it if you're a shooter. If you're open shoot it. I don't think we're recognizing, we've only had 12 or we only had ten or we have 18."

Question: Fewer opportunities versus…?

Coach Beilein: "It is okay. Maybe we're turning down some earlier that might have been a little bit more guarded."

Question: Darius where he is trying to find, trying to penetrate, kind of picking at the defense to find that soft spot because he seems to be dribble a little bit more and get deeper into the shot clock in that Illinois game. That he's trying to find a soft spot and try to find an open lane.

Coach Beilein: "Yeah and with the bigger shot blocker, which they didn't come out and hedge hard on him. He really could go anywhere he wanted to but the basket. It was hard to get there because the big man was just waiting at the basket."

Question: On whether players understood how much time was left at the end of the game…

Coach Beilein: "I thought we all knew the end of the game situation, the play we were running. I think we all knew it. I would be surprised if they said that. You got to remember, they're out there and trying to do the best that they can, but sometimes they forget, they do not look at the scoreboard, they don't know whether it is two or three."

Question: With Darius getting pretty fatigued in the last game a couple of other guys is that sort o the grind of the season really starting to set in?

Coach Beilein: "Yeah. I think we just have to watch that a little bit more and I think we had that one stretch in the first half where we had double TV timeouts back to back that play didn't stop. It hit us hard. You're just waiting for a dead ball. I had already used a timeout unfortunately. We were waiting for that something to stop the clock and it never happened. Still had to use the second time out anyhow later in the half, so maybe I should have used it again. You very rarely seem to use two in the first half."

Question: You would say that more as a specific situation in that game, but overall…?

Coach Beilein: "I mean every team in the country right now is not as fresh as they were before and we're trying to guard against that with how we practice."


Question to Zack Novak: On Iowa…

Zack Novak: "I know they're really getting out and trying to run. They're looking to score a lot of points. I think our transition defense is going to have to be good and we're going to have to stick to our principals defensively and especially on the road, have a good pace to the game."

Question: Anything new you going to throw at them to try and lock down (Melsahn) Basabe this time around?

Zack Novak: "I don't know yet. I guess we'll see in practice today."

Question: When somebody changes the tempo in the game like that, do you guys feel tempted to play at that speed too?

Zack Novak: "You got to know when to play at the speed and when not to. There are certain times when you want to speed it up a little bit. Especially on the road, you want to make sure that you get a shot and you're making them guard for a little bit."

Question: Even though you guys didn't shoot well at Illinois, where you guys getting shots? Where you happy with what you guys had?

Zack Novak: "Our patience in that first half was not exactly where we wanted it to be. In the second half, I think we got good looks but like you said, we just didn't knock them down."

Question: You guys mentioned that teams are trying to lock down three pointers and take that aspect of that part of the game away from you. Do you think you're doing a good job by getting offenses from other places?

Zack Novak: "Yeah I think so. Especially pick and rolls have been good to us. Jordan (Morgan) has been getting a lot of points inside. He's definitely not shooting any threes. I think we've been doing a good job with that. We've got some guys penetrating now, becoming more multidimensional."

Question: You guys mentioned specifically that it is harder for you to get three looks now when they're looking at you. Have you noticed that and is that something that you've done something different to adjust to?

Zack Novak: "He hasn't been leaving me as much, but they don't really leave any of shooters like that. We got a lot of guys that can shoot the ball. Really with that, it really just opens up things for guys to drive, driving lanes and usually we can get some pretty good stuff out of that."

Question: Has it been that way pretty much since Ohio State that they stay with the shooters and don't give you guys as many looks and that's when Jordan has been doing a little bit better from the inside and Tim (Hardaway) has been able to drive a little bit more too?

Zack Novak: "Yeah. It has been going on for a little bit. Teams are just kind of trying to make us…they don't want to lose by the three because they know that is kind of what we've been doing. We've been shooting the ball for the most part pretty well this year. So I think that is something they are trying to take away."

Question: That takes up more for backdoor stuff…?

Zack Novak: "Yeah, it opens up a lot of stuff."

Question: Have you seen the offense change with Stu (Douglass) starting instead of Evan (Smotrycz) and do you like maybe the way it works with him in there than Evan? Not taking anything away from Evan.

Zack Novak: "I think right now, it was just a thing where we weren't starting games exactly like we needed to. We got down in a few games. I think they've both done a great job kind of adjusting to it. I know Evan, being a freshman, probably a little bit tough to be in that situation, but he has handled it well. He came in, I think he played well at Illinois. He had a few tough shots, but I don't know, proud of the way he has responded to that."


Question to Stu Douglass: On if the poor shooting effort (2/18 from three) is lingering in the minds of the players.

Stu Douglass: "No, a lot of these guys have short memories. A lot of these guys are shooters. We're not thinking about it too much."

Question: You guys handled Iowa so easily the last time, is there something you guys learn from that that you guys can move forward with?

Stu Douglass: "We just look at what we did, how we defended them. I think we defended them really great. We didn't start off great (Melsahn) Basabe, so we'll switch it up on him and see what we're doing, but just a lot of the same stuff, not change much."

Question: Is your approach to games different now that you've been starting recently?

Stu Douglass: "No not really, same, just want to come in and give a spark to the team, same approach."

Question: Do you prefer being in the starting lineup?

Stu Douglass: "I just want to be in there at the end of the game that's really all that matters."

Question: When you look at (the last shot against Illinois) now what do you think?

Stu Douglass: "Hindsight is 20/20. Evan (Smotrycz) could have got in the lane, whatever. He may have had time to shoot a regular, but all that doesn't matter now."

Question: Have you practiced that shot since then in practice?

Stu Douglass: "Not like that situation but threw it up left handed to see what happens. I wasn't even close."

Question: Is Illinois maybe the best defense you guys have faced so far?

Stu Douglass: "Hardest in the sense that we feel like we used our ball screen really well and then you get in the lane and you got (Mike) Davis and (Mike) Tisdale in there and even (Bill) Cole using their length. I thought we did some good stuff with trying to come off of away screen and things like that, but it was tough to get in there. We had to adjust a little bit. It brought a different aspect to their team."

Question: Do you think playing against teams who don't have that kind of length you'll be able to execute better?

Stu Douglass: "Yeah definitely. We'll be able to run different plays against Iowa, do different things. We'll have to see how they defend it lately, but from game to game, it changes for every team."

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