Michigan coach John Beilein says his Wolverines will learn a lot from the loss to Xavier, previews test against Connecticut.

Michigan coach John Beilein says his Wolverines will learn a lot from the loss to Xavier, previews test against Connecticut.

If Friday's 86-70 home loss to Xavier can serve as anything for John Beilein and Michigan, it'll be a massive learning experience with a big week ahead.

Michigan now heads to The Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis with a Wednesday's date against Connecticut.

In what was supposed to be a fun, early season test for the Wolverines, the tournament has quickly become a major draw and one Michigan will take seriously during the Thanksgiving holiday.

"This has turned into a monster (tournament)," Beilein said. "I mean that in a positive way. This is a tremendous venue to play, a great opportunity for us to grow as a team and we have really important challenges ahead of us."

One of the bigger challenges Michigan will face is handling extended defensive pressure, something employed early and often against Xavier.

Against Connecticut Wednesday night though, Beilein expects to see a different lineup and strategy from the Huskies.

"I think it is cause we saw it, our guys saw it and I think Xavier's defense was way underrated as well," Beilein said. "I think they did a great job of getting in gaps and stopping some of our action. 

"But we're going to see it with UConn and we're going to see it all year long. They're rare in that they play the shooting four. (Trevon) Blueitt had a tremendous game, a lot of guys won't have someone that can space it even more."

Beilein expects the Huskies to go with a more traditional lineup Wednesday with three perimeter players compared to the four Xavier ran out there Friday.

Regardless of who the opponent is though, Beilein says this is as much about his team taking a step forward as anything.

"We're very much a work in progress right now," Beilein said. "W'ere in right now, we're still trying to figure things out. Getting Zak back puts a new thing in it. How much better have guys gotten from last year? 

"We're looking at where we are and we've got to look at this thing, we've got to figure out who we are and I think we figure out a little more each day so when we get into Big Ten season we have a plan of attack on both offense and defense."

In response, Beilein plans to cut his rotation down despite three games in three days, hoping to find the right mix of guys in the starting lineup and off the bench.

"I think we're going to trim it down and then we will get rest where we can get rest," Beilein said. 

"And see what we can do just about getting more reps from more people and continue to rotate who those nine guys are. But the whole idea is to go in there and play nine and see how it goes."

Beilein says changes will be made to the starting lineup but would not divulge who and what position would be effected.


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