Beilein: "We had some guys step up today"

Michigan coach John Beilein speaks to media after the Wolverines 71-56 NCAA tournament win over South Dakota State, addresses his decision to start McGary, and his take on Michigan's defensive effort against the Jackrabbits.

Opening Statement:

COACH BEILEIN: I want to congratulate South Dakota State, first of all.

Being a former mid-major coach and Division II coach and to get to this level right now where they are in this tournament back to back years, I hope the people from South Dakota understand how difficult that is to do.

So they had a great year.  They really had a good team.  We had a heck of a time preparing for them because all the challenge that they give you with so many guys that can shoot it.

But really proud of our guys the way we defended them.  Tried to shut down the three ball and give them some tough twos.  And I think they were 4 for 19 for threes and it was a key for the game.

We had some guys step up today that we're very proud of and we look forward to practicing tomorrow and playing whoever we play on Saturday.

 

Q.  You guys started five of six deep shooting to start the game.  How did you feel the quality of shot was at that point?

COACH BEILEIN:  I think our guys -- South Dakota State played really good defense in the beginning, particularly in the beginning of the game, and I think our guys didn't see the gaps that we usually would see.

We missed a couple easy ones.  We missed some foul shots, but it was a -- they really played good defense.  They really keyed.  They weren't giving help off Tim at all.  We couldn't get Tim open.  And when Trey missed a few shots, we didn't have many answers at first.  Tim came back and hit two huge threes, deep guarded threes, and it seemed to turn everything at that point.

 

Q.  Even though you probably didn't want to see the Burke that you saw tonight and the injury, are you hurting to have seen what happened out of it?

COACH BEILEIN:  We see this in practice more than we see it in games, and Tim's always played with a lot of confidence, looking for scoring opportunities.

What level we saw from Glenn and Mitch as well, that they -- Mitch gives us the energy and just the dropoffs.  When we drop-off to Mitch, he knows what to do with it, but Glenn's presence was huge today because he was at a difficult matchup.  You know, they do a lot of one-four pick and pop.  So he had also to guard No. 3 as well as No. 42 back and forth.  So he'd post up man and got a terrific point guard.  So wasn't just his offense.  It was his defense as well.

 

Q.  Coach, talk about the decision to go with Mitch.

COACH BEILEIN:  We've watched this very carefully and we're very loyal to it.  Jordan's giving to us a lot, but we thought in practice the last couple days, let's just bring Jordan off the bench as needed and let's get him a lot of reps in practice and see where he is.

But John had to earn those minutes in the last couple games.  Jordan's injury still has him in a bit of a funk.  So we just said, we're going to go with Mitch as number one, Jon as No. 2, and really I think it's obvious to everyone what Mitch can bring to us at times, but don't count Jordan out.  He'll be back.

 

Q.  You've talked in the past about Glenn needing to be a consistent scorer for the team to be successful.  Did you say anything to him prior to the game or at halftime?

COACH BEILEIN:  No.  There was -- you know, we say it to him every day in practice where he's got to look at the basket, but within the structure of our offense, there's all kinds of opportunities for him.  He's got to learn where they are.

And I like what he's doing sometimes.  He's showing some drives.  He's doing some things, but when he came off, you know, in the corner, hit the two jump shots, but when he came off and hit two other jump shots, that's something he does for us, not even enough in practice.

So I love when we get that from him, as long as he compliments that with enough times that he drives to the basket.  We don't want him to just be a jump shooter.  He's got to get 2 feet in the paint because he can go by a lot of people, especially some of the forwards that he faces.

 

Q.  John, do you think with all the attention he's gotten that Burke has pressed a little bit, and if he has, how much does it help him?

COACH BEILEIN:  I didn't see that.  I saw him looking for opportunities, and they played really good defense.

He still had seven assists and two turnovers.  So probably there's a couple of shots, but I think Burke, Tim, and he, they have that type of -- I have that type of confidence in them to be able to survive a shot that they usually tell me, Coach, I know that was a bad one.

But he had some other good shots that didn't go down.  It's really good to have those other guys there, and that's really something that we haven't always had in these situations, is more answers than if one of our other guys was off.

So we just played through this right now, and someone asked me when he was 0 for 7 at halftime I said that means he'll probably be 7 for 7 at the second half because the odds are he's going to start making them.

Now, he still didn't do that.  Still wouldn't trade him.  Want him out there every minute we can have him out there.

 

Q.  How excited are you to get away from the Big Ten for a minute?

COACH BEILEIN:  I think every Big Ten team right now is glad that they weren't playing a Big 10 team.  Now, we're all playing quality opponents, but the Big Ten has a certain style to it that it makes it difficult to score points, to stop people, to do everything.

But each team that we're going to play here along the line will be more like the Big Ten teams, including our next opponent.  So it is good to get away from that.

We all know each other very well, let's put it this way, and your angst is prepare for a new team you don't know much about.  At the same time, it is different for us, and probably a good different.

 

Q.  Can you talk about your strategy going into defend Wolters and the job you did?

COACH BEILEIN:  Well, we had a couple of things.  We wanted to quick hedge the ball screen a little quicker than we normally do to get back to the shooter, and then we also wanted to put Tim on him to get some length on him, and if we did switch any ball screens, then he could also be on No. 42.

Trey did a good job on him.  He's a heck of a player.  A lot will be said about, you know, that Trey -- that maybe Wolters guarded Trey very well.  Well, so did Trey guard Nate.

 

Q.  Coach, what's the first thing that goes through your head when you see Trey hit the floor as hard as he did?

COACH BEILEIN:  Yeah, that was a scary moment for us.

One thing I know, the kid is tough as nails.  I mean, whether he's in the weight room, whether he's in practice -- avoids the training room like the plague unless he has to.  He's actually -- he's not a guy that shows any sign of weakness as far as physical injury.  So he needs a lot of ice, but that was not a good feeling.

But you could tell -- I saw him sort of move quickly right away.  Felt he was going to be fine, and then I went about my business of arguing with the officials. (Laughter)  But he -- apparently it was our own player that knocked him off balance, but the video may say that.

 

Q.  You talk about the balance between hitting singles and going for home runs.  Were you pleased overall with the balance?

COACH BEILEIN:  The value and the possessions, we had Spike and Trey both throw some long, long passes that, actually, we've gotten to be much better at that than we were earlier in the year.  So we have a rule on that, if you throw that, it better work.  And it's the only rule.  But it didn't work twice, and I think after that we pulled that back a little bit.  But it is important.

We had a lot of good assists.  We had very low turnovers again.  That means people weren't trying to do too much.


The Michigan Insider Top Stories