Talking Strategy with LaVall Jordan

GoBlueWolverines's Sam Webb goes 1-on-1 with U-M assistant LaVall Jordan as Michigan prepares for Ohio State today.

Sam Webb: Coach nail-biter there. You guys executed at the end offensively, take me to that play.

Lavall Jordan: "It was set up for Nik to get the ball. We knew they were going to deny him so we tried to set a screen to get the defense off of him and then get him the ball, Jordan set him a nice ball screen and then make a play. He made the right read. Jordan made a great finish. Talk about a little poet justice to have one sit on the rim and roll in this time."

Sam Webb: So offensive to you guys really seem to have the flow attacking the rim early in the game and then they went zone and slowed you guys up some. Is that just a matter of missing shots?

LaVall Jordan: "Yeah, I thought we got great looks against it. We moved the ball well, we got it inside some, we missed a couple that maybe we normally make. I did think it broke out rhythm a little bit. We tried to do the same thing with them, showing a little zone just to break it up because they were driving it at us, trying to get to the foul line and getting easy baskets. It was a little bit of a game of chess and our guys just made some plays when it mattered. Derrick's big three off the offensive rebound. Caris going to get a big offensive rebound. We just had to make plays that we had to make to win the game."

Sam Webb: Let us talk about the defense. You said you tried to switch it up some. Even at one point late in the game, you drove right through the zone to the basket. Talk to me about ***

LaVall Jordan: "Yeah, we got to get that correct. It was just a couple of missed assignments. They are a hard guard because they've got some guys that can drive and finish at the rim. So, with Jordan having a couple of early fouls, Jon (Horford) came in and got two, then we lose maybe a little bit of force in there to protect the paint. We just got to do a better job of guarding the man with the ball. I thought Caris (Levert), the last one he even got a good look on that one, left it a little short. We just got to shore that up. When they started to make shots, Hill made a couple. You are always worried about Nunn and Ekey making them. That opens up lanes for Rice and Abrams. They played hard. They've got a good team. Obviously up there at Illinois we made shots. Tonight, we didn't make them as much, but we hit the ones that mattered."

Sam Webb: You handled the guards, one of the things you talked about *** how he hit a big shot late in the game. Kind of take me through that and then describe how you guys determine who is going to close the game. Is this kind of the roll that Spike has ascended to that he is the game closer now?

LaVall Jordan: "I don't know if it's that, it's just a feel. They both have their strengths down the stretch. We knew Derrik defensively as one of our best on ball defenders so we wanted to get him in there late to be a defender and then we know he can shoot and step in and make plays. Spike had a little rhythm going so it's just a kind of mix and match and whoever at the time, we feel comfortable with. I don't know is there is one guy over the other. Derrik has closed big games at (Michigan) State, Nebraska and Ohio State. So, none of them care. As long as Michigan wins, that is the close."

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