Rick Osentoski, USA TODAY

Michigan coach John Beilein discusses U-M hot start in Big Ten play, the return of Max Beilfeldt and more.

Michigan coach John Beilein discusses U-M hot start in Big Ten play, the return of Max Beilfeldt and more.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Without the services of Caris LeVert, Michigan has made the most of its opportunity through nine Big Ten games played this season.

LeVert, who has been out since Dec. 30 with a lower left leg injury, has missed eight straight games for the Wolverines. But it still hasn’t stopped Michigan (17-5, 7-2 Big Ten), winners of four straight, from finding a way to win without out their fallen star.

“We’re really proud of that,” Beilein said of U’M’s start in Big Ten play. “I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade. But probably the strength of out schedule in the first nine wasn’t what it’s going to be in the next nine. So we have greater challenges, it would be great to have Caris back sooner rather than later. But right now we can only do what we can do. He can only do what he can do.”

By challenges, Beilein is referencing U-M’s tough home schedule this week. Today, Michigan plays host to No. 22 Indiana (18-4, 8-1) at 9 p.m. at Crisler Center.

Mad Max Returns

The Hoosiers bring with them a familiar face, as Max Beilfeldt comes back to U-M after transferring this off-season after four years at Michigan.

“Max is really good player,” Beilein said of his former Wolverine. “He’s shooing 3s for them. He’s post up for them. He is presenting challenges for everyone.”

Beilfeldt is averaging career high 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game. He also is shooting 58.6 percent from the field, as well as 44.4 percent from 3s. 

However, Beilien says he doesn’t regret the decision to let him go to another program.

“That was tough decision,” Beilein said. “But we decided to go with, we had a lot of young players that were trending up last spring, Mark Donnal, Ricky Doyle, D.J. Wilson, and we decided to move forward and plan for the future.”

Guarding Yogi

Yogi Ferrell leads Indiana in scoring (17.5) and assists (5.7), and will be problem for Wolverine defenders all day, says Beilein.

“They’ll put him in a ball screen, they’ll open him up in space,” Beilein said. “What’s really good, is you got a really good player playing against him that can stay in front of him. And that’s our hope of a combination of Derrick and Muhammad(-Ali Abdur-Rahkman) can do that. And that we don’t have to give as much help."  

Adding: “But he’s going to get his points. He’s going to get to the foul line. He’s going to get his assists.  Don’t let the other guys beat you, that’s another thought.”

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