Beilein Readies U-M for Purdue Defense, Size

Michigan travels to Purdue on Saturday for its Big ten road opener.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Winning on the road in the Big Ten is never easy. But that’s what Michigan will look to do this Saturday when they play at Purdue fir its Big Ten opener.

But if Michigan (8-5, 1-0 Big Ten) is going to have success at Purdue (9-5, 1-0), the Wolverines’ backcourt is going to have to take care of the ball, says U-M coach John Beilein.

“Going on the road it’s really important we take care of the ball. We value every possession. Get a shot every time down the floor against what is usually a very good defense.”

Ricky Stepping Up

Freshman forward Ricky Doyle scored 13 points in Michigan’s Big Ten opener 73-65 OT win versus Illinois on Tuesday. And has continued that momentum into practice this week, Beilein says.

“The last couple days in practice, Ricky has been really good,” Beilein said. “I see him in the strength program and the quickness and the anticipation – not the game has slowed down. He’s at the rim a lot more. He wasn’t dunking rebounds three months ago. Now all of sudden he’s on top of the rim with things. He has shown some good signs.”

He’s Pretty Big

Purdue freshman Isaac Haas is listed at 7-foot-2, 297-pounds. That alone, has the attention of Beilein, who noted the Wolverines may use a little more zone to deal with his size.

“The big fell there is 7-foot-2, 300-pounds, he is built like Max [Bielfeldt], only he’s 7-feet-2,” Beilein said. “And guarding him is going to be a challenge. He’s getting fouled one of the most in the country. They get in the one-on-one very quickly cause of that. So it’s going to be a challenge, but we’ll try a lot of things defensively I imagine this game.”

Struggling Shooters

Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton Jr., and Spike Albrecht all shot over 38-percent from three-point range last season. This season, however, all three are below 36-percent – specifically during U-M’s four-game losing streak.

“They all started off really strong,” Beilein said. “I think when we had that four game spell that was one common denominator that we weren’t making shots.

“We just hope that was a phase brought on fatigue. Brought on by something and that we can get out of that. If we don’t shoot the ball well, we don’t have a lot of other answers right now cause of so much the talent is still developing.”

Michigan will play at Purdue at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday.

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