ANN ARBOR, Mich. – With four non-conference home games left on Michigan’s schedule, it gives the Wolverines some much needed opportunities to craft their game as they enter Big Ten play.
In essence, it gives them a whole new preseason to get better, says U-M coach John Beilein.
“I think we have taken a good look at our team and seen our strengths and seen our weaknesses, and have tired to adjust accordingly,” said Beilein at Monday’s press conference. “We still have a lot of weaknesses. We certainly have some strengths. So I would think we can continue to probe a little bit at who we are and try to establish that identity as we go into the Big Ten.”
Up next for Michigan (7-3) is Horizon League opponent Northern Kentucky (2-5), who serve as the first of what looks as a relatively easy schedule down the stretch run of December for U-M.
“Because we have opportunities now with home games. They are not guaranteed wins, but there is thing maybe we can find out more about ourselves during this period,” said Beilein.
What Beilein hopes to find out is if Michigan can rebound. At the moment, U-M’s opponents are outrebounding the Wolverines 34.1 to 32.5, which has Beilein concerned.
“The rebounding is the biggest concern right now,” Beilein said. “It’s something that is not natural for a few of our guys to do.
“It’s (got) to be something about that they’re thinking (about) all the time about a great physical block out or going to get the ball.”
What else can be fixed? Well, it can be the simple things, says Beilein.
“I just think our attention to a simple thing like talking more is something that allowed those down hill drives,” Beilein said. “The times we missed a simple switch or the times we missed a slip, that led to a down hill drive or offensive rebound.”
Michigan plays host to Northern Kentucky at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.