Presser Transcript: Coach Beilein
Q. I asked you earlier in the week -- I don't think you liked it, but what getting through this first weekend would mean for your program. Now that it's happened, how big of a step really was this or was it at all?
COACH BEILEIN: You know, our philosophy is always going to be we're just trying to get better every day. We're just trying to do the right things, and there's going to be times that we will play this well as we did today and we'll advance.
You know, with this, given the -- as I said that day, given the makeup of this roster, you don't know what to expect. And the way they played today, that was terrific. I mean, there wasn't this scientific game plan to get things done. They reacted and played against pressure like they've worked so hard to be able to do.
So it's great for the program. At the University of Michigan, right, we want to be champions, and we're trying for Big Ten championships. And when you get in the NCAA tournament, you're trying to do the exact same thing. At the same time, it wasn't going to make or break us knowing the new facilities, the recruits, the guys coming back, I feel were really in a good place.
Q. Coach, is it safe to say Mitch has locked up a starting position going forward in the Sweet 16? How do you keep a freshman bring that same intensity every game?
COACH BEILEIN: With the CBS games and the extra timeout, we could give him more time, but he has been -- you know, we've watched his growth. He's at his lowest of his weight all year long. This is his lowest body weight that he's had. So he can play longer than he was earlier.
What I love is he's got -- he did a couple things yesterday or two days ago in a game that -- reads that only really bright players can figure out. And he has all those things, but the processing through it, like every freshman, it takes him time. He's doing a wonderful job right now. So it's not just, you know, he's big and he's got talent. Figuring out the college game takes some time too, and every day he gets closer to it.
Q. Coach, you still smile every time somebody says Spike's name. Can you talk about the job he did?
COACH BEILEIN: That was the one outlier we knew we had in here against the press. With the one day's rest, with the attention, I mean, those guards are really good at turning people over, and just stealing the ball from you. So we knew that Trey could not handle that the whole day. Sometimes we kept -- I think he played all 39 minutes, but just if he plays off the ball, he can stand there for a second. Anybody's who's ever played basketball, when you're dribbling and people are doubling you and people are doing all kinds of things, it is tiring. So that was huge for Spike to be able to come in and just give him some rest, and he was standing on the chair singing the Victors because our team loves him. They love playing with him, and he did a wonderful job.
Q. Coach, how important has Tim Hardaway, Jr. been in this tournament run for you?
COACH BEILEIN: Tim Hardaway has not only been important in this game; he's been important for all three years.
You remember when he decided to come here, we were coming off a disappointing year. He started, you know, as a freshman he was coming in at 170 pounds and he started every game since then. So when he has had opportunities like he's had the last couple days to pass, to bring the ball up against the pressure, that wouldn't have happened last year, right. So make the right -- the smart plays, to defend. I just watched this young man's game, and it grows every day. Others may not see it that way.
I see it just growing. I think his ceiling is very high, and today he played to that.
Q. How long did you really have to prepare for this type of -- were you doing it all week before?
COACH BEILEIN: No.
Q. You just had this one day basically?
COACH BEILEIN: You know, I would think that people probably think that we can do all those things. You know, I thought South Dakota State gave us challenges we needed to win this one. And knowing that our team is -- I consider them to have a very high IQ, that they could handle whatever we saw from either Akron or VCU.
I will admit I did watch -- I did not watch Akron on video. I did watch one VCU game thinking they would be the favorite because Akron had some losses through attrition.
So it was one day, but Mitch, what we try and do, I mean, every day we are practicing ball possession. Don't turn the ball over. Flow it to the outside hand. Boring stuff that would put you all to sleep. To catch it on two feet, pivot strong. So when we do see it we don't have to talk about it. It's somewhat natural to them.
Q. Did you figure and plan that Mitch would be an option because he's not likely to be dribbling the ball up or get swung that way? Did he surprise you with his production today?
COACH BEILEIN: No. What we're trying to do is really make sure that he can play both in the high post and the low post, and he can do some things out on the perimeter that guards can do. Channeling it to do it the right way, we see this huge spike in him understanding why -- to make a whole lot of good plays and don't focus on great plays. Just make good plays. Finish.
Because he might have brought the ball down and tried to dunk three of those today, right, and he's just learning what winners and champions do.
He's got a great family. He's really worked very hard to get to where he is right now, and we love coaching him, because he's a team guy through and through.
Q. You've obviously emphasized defense, but talk about the way you guys have played in these first games and the emphasis on that?
COACH BEILEIN: I think we've played two of the best -- let's talk about Nik Stauskas for a second playing. We played two of the best three-point shooters, shooting teams that we've played, and with volume. VCU shoots more threes than us. So we had to shut that down on the perimeter, and they all did a good job on it. And then defensively we did not give up the offensive rebound that has plagued us at times this year.
They're not as big as some of the teams they've played, but they could still go -- I was very concerned about that, that they'd have the quickness to just get the loose ones. We really kept them off from getting second opportunities through two ways: Offensive rebounds and then turning the ball over. With 12 turnovers against this team, I think that was as big a factor as our rebounding difference.
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