ANN ARBOR, Mich. – New opponent, same story when it comes to the injury status of U-M guard Caris LeVert, says Michigan coach John Beilein, who wouldn’t comment on whether his star guard would be playing on Saturday when the Wolverines take on Penn State at Noon ET.
LeVert, who has missed the past seven games with a lower left leg injury, is making some progress, but a frustrated Beilein gave little detail if LeVert would be missing his eighth game in a row.
“He was doing more than he was doing the day before,” Beilien said. ‘This is an area I cannot tell you. You guys ask me everyday, I’m not going to go out there. It’s not fair.”
Playing in the Big Apple
Michigan’s games against PSU will take place at Madison Square Garden, which is a rare neutral site game in the middle of conference play. Unlike most road contests, Michigan will be unable to have a normal shoot around the night before, says Beilein, who noted his team would come out 15 minutes earlier before the game for preparation.
“This is certainly an unique enough event that I don’t think we have to worry about coming out of there without a lot of energy,” Beilein said. “I think we will have a good crowd there as well, supporting both Michigan and Penn State. It’s going to be good environment. I really look forward to it.”
Saturday’s game is also a way for the Big Ten to continue to market its game to its east coast fan base, says Beilein.
“The Big Ten is in the east to stay, as (Big Ten Commissioner) Jim Delaney has continued to stress,” Beilein said. “And this is another way to put a stake in the east and say “were in here, we have some teams over here.’ This is going to be important. We see ourselves in this environment.”
Different PSU team
When U-M first played Penn State earlier this month, the Wolverines cruised to a 79-56 victory, despite the absence of LeVert.
“I think no one knew at that time about Caris’ injury,” Bellein said of U-M’s win vs. PSU. “We went out and our kids played an energy and confidence that it’s even difficult to cultivate in practice. It was one of those sudden change things that our kids came out and embraced the opportunity that they all had to play.”
This time, however, Beilein expects the game against the Nittnay Lions to be different.
“And now that’s not new. That’s older, so we’ve probably played beyond who we were at that time. I’m sure Penn State played below who they are. So new game, new day, everything is different.