The Wolverines (10-7, 3-2) didn’t spend the week sulking though, John Beilein instead delivering a simple message to his very young team.
“There’s games where you just don’t have it,” Beilein said. “And we’ve had them. Our best teams have had games just like that and so you just put it away, you learn from it, you watch the video and you try to grow from it.
“That was basically the message. You can’t have a lot of those but when it happens like that, we just had a really poor performance.”
Saturday night, Michigan gets the opportunity to bounce back at home, welcoming the Northwestern Wildcats (10-7, 1-3) to Crisler Center for an 8:15 tip.
Despite a rough start to Big Ten play, Chris Collins is building a program at Northwestern built on veteran leadership along with very talented but inexperienced freshmen.
“They’re starting to come together,” Beilein said. “You can see with each game, they’re getting better. This freshman guard, Bryant McIntosh is having a great year, he’s running the team and let’s (Tre) Demps play more off the ball. They still got (Dave) Sobolewski coming in for 10 minutes as a backup and he was a two-year starter.
“They’ve got a lot of key points, a little young probably to win, who knows maybe they could win a Big Ten championship. A little young in some areas but I don’t see that bothering them late in games.”
In McIntosh the Wildcats have a true scoring threat, leading Northwestern with 12.4 points per game to go along with 4.5 assists a night.
McIntosh headed to Evanston as a three-star recruit holding zero scholarship offers from other teams in the Big Ten. A classic case of being under the radar, especially early in his high school career, McIntosh continued to develop over the years leading to this opportunity with Northwestern, evident to Beilein his best years appear to be in front of him.
“He really came in ready to go,” Beilein said. “As you watch people -- that’s why I hate the early scholarship offers and offering because of the ratings -- you don’t really see where a guy is going. He certainly is going to be a premiere guard in this league for four years that I think Northwestern was probably one of the few Big Ten teams (that offered him).
“Our situation with combo guards last year was very limited cause we had Caris (LeVert) and Nik (Stauskas) coming back and nobody wanted, it didn’t happen. Bryant is a really good player. This is special watching him play as a freshman.”
It appears Michigan freshman forward D.J. Wilson won’t be returning to the floor for the Wolverines this season, continuing to recover from a knee injury suffered earlier this season.
“He practiced yesterday for the first time, half court only,” Beilein said. “He played really well. But we’re not going to change his status now. We’d have to have catastrophic injuries to change that with, I don’t know how many games are left but he’s made great strides.
“We hope next week he is full court and he’ll enhance the ability of our scout team certainly.”
A frustrating experience for a young player, Wilson is taking advantage of the yearlong training camp, focused on improving his game and his body.
“That young man is with Jon Sanderson or he’s in the gym or he’s working with us, game day, everything,” Beilein added. “He’s embraced this because he wants to do this and that’s another key factor.”