Instead of focusing on the scoreboard, head coach John Beilein and the rest of the Wolverine coaching staff are looking beyond the numbers for the benefit of The Opening three games.
"First of all you get in shape," said Beilein. "You really get in shape. Our practices are tough but there's a game shape. 31 minutes for Trey Burke that he can't get even in a practice. Its just different because of the adrenaline and all the things happening."
"The other thing, we really could see who played when the lights were on. That helps us get to know—take some guys that maybe did struggle and work with them and have them relax and get to play better. And the other ones who have that swagger about them—we know who we want in tight situations."
The bright lights of Madison Square Garden await Michigan who travels to New York City to play in the semifinal of the NIT Pre-season Tipoff Wednesday, November 21st, at 9:30pm against the Pittsburgh Panthers. After falling short in the Maui Invitational last season, the Wolverines are happy to be heading to the Big Apple, and are hoping for a different result.
"First of all that was a goal," said Beilein. "At Michigan you come to win championships, and this is one of the most prestigious preseason tournaments."
"Many of the kids have not been to New York, they have not been to the Garden, and we wanted them to get there. I think we have about seven or eight days to prepare. We're going to get better."
"We have a lot of fans in New York. A lot of Michigan fans in that general metropolitan area and I hope to see them all."
Winning by an average of 35 points per contest, Michigan has lacked a true test and any semblance of adversity at this stage. Pittsburgh, 3 and 0 as well, will have one more tune up Sunday at home against Oakland prior to the match-up with the Wolverines. Taking on a potentially undefeated Pittsburgh team out of the Big East, as well as the possibility of a contest with Kansas State out of the Big 12, pretty much assures that pressure situations late in games will arise.
"We're going to work on four days of late game situations 'cause we haven't seen those," said Beilein. "You hope—well you don't hope, but getting those in these early season games is always beneficial. We haven't had any of those. As a result it's really important that we emphasize that."
To watch video of Beilein after the win over Cleveland State, press play below.