Beilein's Breakdown - Week 10

Michigan basketball coach John Beilein sat down with Sam Webb on Sports Talk 1050 WTKA this morning to reflect upon his team's loss to Ohio State, look ahead to today's match-up with Northwestern, and discuss his participation in the Infinity Coaches Charity Challenge.

Sam Webb:  We’ve been talking about getting this ranking up.  We learned that last year it was #8.  We’re trying to push that up in your competition in the Infinity Coaches Charity Challenge.

John Beilein:  “Yeah, we’re moving it up every day and their making it easier than ever to vote.  A couple of ways that people can help is just vote #1 and that’s the easiest thing to do.  The second thing is if you don’t want to vote, you go to that St. Louis Center website and donate as well, if you want to go through that.  It’s a great place.  They need all the assistance they can.  They rely only on us, people that will only give to help these people who really don’t have other accommodations, don’t have other ways of living.  The St. Louis Center gives them an opportunity to live a fairly normal life and it is really a great thing.  I hope many people can help or can just vote.”

Sam Webb:  It’s great thing you’re doing being a part of that and the St. Louis Center talking to Joe, they really appreciate it.  We’re going to get this thing done.  Vote and go there every day and vote for Coach B and you help him advance in the Infinity Coaches Charity Challenge, hopefully all the way to the top spot, which if he gets there and wins it, it will send 100,000 to the St. Louis Center.  We’re going to do our part to help you out.  Spread the word #votebeilein.  We want to get into the team for the week that was in Michigan basketball.  Go back first to the weekend and talk about that Minnesota game because it was a game where we saw that resiliency that we talked about.  The team is down nine and there was a shrewd move in there.  You’re down nine and you go to your three zone and that really seemed to stem the Minnesota tide and turn the tables in your table that day.

John Beilein:  “I just thought it was a great basketball game and the way we finished it was terrific.  We’ve been a part of a lot of really good games.  I love all the wins and hate the losses, but there are some that will stand out.  The way our kids played in the second half, the place was going crazy and it was a great win.  Yeah we had to change up on things.  Once another team gets into the bonus with that amount of time left, you can’t just go toe to toe sometimes.  You could be at the foul line all day.  So we were like how can we keep our guys out of foul trouble, how can we keep from giving them three points.  Let’s go to the zone, it wasn’t that shrewd, it was sort of out of desperation at that point and it certainly worked.”

Sam Webb:  We got a ton of questions after that, why don’t they play it more, it was so effective.  Why don’t they utilize it more, you’re going to give up jumpers at times?  It does create some vulnerabilities at times, so it is kind of a give and take when you go to it, right?

John Beilein:  “Yeah it is and it depends on some of our guys are much better at it than others.  Some we’re not giving up jumpers, we’re giving up layups in some of them.  That happened in the Ohio State game were we gave up two easy baskets and then an easy layup behind us.  It takes a while to learn it.  It is just difficult for some guys to grasp all the things that you have to do for the angles are very different than man to man angles, so you go back to your man to man tendencies would kill you.  It depends on the personnel.  It’s hard to get into it after you miss a shot.  It is easier to get into after making shots, so you have got to make shots in order to get into very well.  It is not as easy as people think and we try to use it when it’s ready to be used and it takes time.”

Sam Webb:  You talk about making shots and in that game Derrick made shots.  He’s looked as good as he has in a while.  I want to touch on that and then your execution at the end.  It’s one thing to call a play, draw up a play in a time out, it’s another thing to go out and execute it because you’ve got another team out there.  That lob, that play that he completed to Ricky and for Ricky Doyle to complete it through contact hat was just big-time competition right there. 

John Beilein:  “That was all on Derrick.  I think last year at those type of opportunities, two years ago it was Trey Burke and Tim making those decisions a lot.  Last year it would have been Nik making those decisions a lot.  This year it has been Caris a lot.  We just felt that Derrick had a real good flow to him and he really had three options: shoot it himself if he had some pace, to kick it to Zak in the corner or to throw it up to Ricky because they weren’t giving backside help on Caris LeVert.  He looked at it and we practice that lob and we should have thrown a few of those against Ohio State the other day.  We hadn’t done it in games and this something that we continue to work as people change how they guard the ball screen.”

Sam Webb:  We’re talking about Derrick and a really good game against Minnesota, you really didn’t have him as much as you would have liked against Ohio State.  I imagine that obviously really affected his performance in the game.

John Beilein:  “Yeah you know how it is in this league, there are a lot of good teams and when you’re a man down because of foul trouble, injuries, etc, it is really difficult.  We just had a bad game.  Thirty one games, our staff thought it was like the Iowa game last year.  We went to Iowa, we were really playing well and it was a dud right from the beginning.  I think we might have been down 13 at the half in that game.  Those things happen, you like to avoid them happening, but it just happens.  We have to grow from it and try to avoid it in the future.  It even happens to very veteran teams at times when you’re playing so many games.  We’ll learn a lot from it.  We had yesterday off, we’ll have a great film session today and I think I have 20 clips of we could have controlled this.  We could have controlled how hard you sprinted back to get into transition defense.  We can control what type of screening angle you have on this particular play.  You can’t control some other things.  D’Angelo Russell had a great game and we can’t control that.  There are a lot of controllable that we have to address and get better at it.”

Sam Webb:  That’s exactly the game I referenced.  The Iowa game was the on I referenced in talking about this when talking about this yesterday.  That was a contest you looked at it and I remember talking to some players afterwards.  It was almost like guys didn’t get off the plane was how they described it.  This was a similar thing and the comments after from Caris and Spike are somewhat similar was well.  Guys are growing into those leadership roles, because Spike said, when we see, hey we aren’t sprinting back or we need to show more effort, that’s something we as leaders need to do.  That’s something that even last year when you had Jordan Morgan on the team, it happened last year to them as well.  It is not something that kills you for an entire season.

John Beilein:  “We hope not.  We have to learn from it.  We don’t have a large margin of error with this team.  As a result, it is really important that we understand it because to stay in games right now, we have to be so fundamentally sound in some of the areas that I just talked about.  That means changing numbers on the fast break both offensively and defensively.  It is setting good screens, just really things that we can control because we just don’t have that margin for error.  We’re not all of a sudden have a guy…just two or three guys to have the ability to just go get us all kinds of points and make up for defensive mistakes or turnovers.  So it is just one of those things that we have got to continue to address and grown through all of it.”

Sam Webb:  You look at the stats after the game, 6/26 from three point range, but six free throw attempts.  When things aren’t going well from the perimeter like that, is it something that you want your guys to do to try and get more action towards the rim, to try and get to the free throw more to try and get out of the funk that you’re in?

John Beilein:  “Yeah that’s part of the thing that happens, you’re either tired or you just don’t feel it sometimes.  Sometimes you’ll either pass up a driving opportunity or shoot in a driving opportunity and we have a lot of those.  Once we went in there a few times…they’re a long team.  Ohio State is a really good defensive team.  I don’t care who we had on the team.  When we have gone to Ohio State it has been hard to score points.  Remember the game with Trey and Tim in the backcourt, we had Mitch and everybody, we were down 26-6 in that game.  It is hard and then what happens is that you settle.  You settle for I’m not going to drive this because it got blocked last time and one of the ways to get to the foul line is driving the ball and not shooting a three. We elected to shoot it sometimes instead of driving it and we have to do that.  We didn’t shoot any in the first half.  We’ll just learn from it and our guys are cognizant of it.  Changing habits in midstream, even though you do it…sometimes it takes year to change a habit of not shot faking before you drive, it takes time.”

Sam Webb:  Let’s go ahead and talk about Northwestern coming to town on Saturday to play at night.  What do the Wildcats bring to the table?

John Beilein:  “What they’ve really done is Chris Collins has taken over there.  They have a lot of the same type of young men, who can really shoot, really can pass.  They’ve got a good mixture of veterans and freshman.  They’re playing very containing defense.  You’re going to have to score over them all day.  They’re not going to give you layups in transition, they’re not going to give you angles in their defense.  They’ve been really good defensively.  What they have right now is a freshman point, Brian McIntosh who is shooting the heck out of it.  Anybody who can go up to Michigan State and put up 40 on the first half  has got a heck of a team, I don’t care what it is.  They went and scored 80 up at Michigan State in an overtime loss.  Last night, they lost a close one again.  Last year, they went to Wisconsin and won after they had lost at home to Wisconsin by 30 or something.  They have a lot of potential.  They’re right in the middle of it between all these teams.  There is Wisconsin and then there is rest of us.  They’re in with the rest of us and we’re all trying to fight and get every victory that we can get.”

Sam Webb:  You’re trying to get this victory in the Infinity Coaches Challenge.  Coach Beilein is one of 48 coaches that is competing right now.  All you have to do is go to and vote for him daily and try to advance him in this competition.  If he wins the top prize that will send 100,000 to the St. Louis Center, which is a caring residential family living and learning environment providing for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  You can learn more about them at

To listen to the interview in it's entirety press play below.

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