Beilein Says Team Will Get Better in New York

Michigan headman John Beilein reflects on his team's 76-56 victory over Northeastern and looks ahead continuing tournament next week at Madison Square Garden.

Coach Beilein opening statement:  "I really think Northeastern is going to be a very good team this year.  They were able to make a Canadian tour before this.  They played six or seven games.  They had everybody back.  So I feel real good about beating a team. The CAA, which I was in at the University of Richmond when they were in, is a heck of a conference.  George Mason obviously went to the final four out of that.  (Northeastern) going to be a good team, so I feel good about winning despite the glaring thing... their 20 offensive rebounds. But if you look at the number, we still win the rebounding war – figure that out.  It's just going to happen a little bit when you're a little smaller, but other than that, I thought we were efficient with the ball.  We shot over 50% again, and I thought had very good shot selection."

Question:  Defensively, you talked this one up as a good performance or they just had problems shooting?

Coach Beilein:  "I think, like you said at this stage of the year, the 1-3-1 defense is hard to just get a groove for. Hardly anybody plays it.  I think our effort; we don't even know all the rules right now... we're still tweaking with it, but if you have a great effort it can be unique and really help you at this time of the year.  It traditionally has.  It works sometimes and then it doesn't later on."

Question:  Do you chalk some of the sloppiness in the first half to back to back games?

Coach Beilein:  "Our timing on everything is still just okay.  I guess it would be three weeks now of practice.  It's really hard to mesh people.  I hate to be redundant, people playing different positions, one of those two freshman are always in the game.  It is hard to get the timing down and Zach (Gibson) is in foul trouble the whole game.  It's tough to get our timing."

Question: Coach, Manny (Harris) was two assists away from a triple-double, is this the best you've ever seen him play?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah, it was a pretty good two days for him that's for sure.  I see him in practice.  I don't get too much into best and better and things like that.  I just like how were trying to get him better opportunities to see the floor, to rebound, to do everything.  His assists... those numbers we think can be way up.  I guess they say in football, don't they say you put them on the edge or put them in space? Isn't that catchphrase, put them in space?  We're trying to get him into space."

Question:   (Manny) found DeShawn Sims a couple times down low; do you think there is chemistry there?

Coach Beilein:  "Oh yeah.  They've played together many times and they look for each other and they both have a knack for finding little grooves and slithering around just to find little opening.  I am really happy with DeShawn just how he caught it in the post and was strong in the post."

Question:   You said that you were going to work on your free throw shooting and watch film; what exactly did you do?

Coach Beilein:  "Manny went to the foul line over and over again that's what happened a lot.  We just did it.  One night we just talked about shooting free throws when the lights are is different; it's going to be different."

Question:  I was curious about the 1-3-1 is one of the drawbacks is you may give up offensive rebounds, do you attribute that to the defense?

Coach Beilein:  "Yep.  We traditionally when we played that a lot, we very rarely won (rebounding).  Not only did people get 20 offensive rebounds against, but they usually won the rebounding war overall.  It's just part of a tradeoff that you have to do.  Sometimes you're smaller and you have skilled players that is not going to be tough.  This is a tremendous rebounding team however.  We ought to shore up some things... just some physical toughness and just merely to go and box out, find a man."

Question:  In addition to that, disrupting their offense, is the goal to quicken the game up a little bit or slow it down a little bit?

Coach Beilein:  "When they started to probe late in the game, now the game got shorter all of a sudden.  Sometimes it will force quick turnovers.  We're hoping that we execute it to the point where they have to take 30 seconds to get a good shot, probing it and trying to find a good shot.  We'll flood a whole side, so the backside rebounding isn't strong.  I thought in the second half there were some fluke rebounds, but we did a better job of just getting there.  But we got out toughed several times inside on the rebounds."

Question:  Are you concerned about the offensive rebounds?

Coach Beilein:  "I will say this, rebounding is very significant; the final score is what we care about more than anything, it really is.  They got offensive rebounds, we won by 20; we'll take that.  We'll take that.  We got to cut down on our turnovers, but I remember the year St. Joseph's was 31-0 and I think the stat was they got outrebounded all 31 games.  It's a relative stat, it's important, but at the end the score isn't the rebounding score.  It is important, I don't diminish that, but look at the bigger picture of maybe the turnovers you caused or the threes you were able to hit because you weren't as big as they were inside."

Question:  Putting up a prediction of wins aside; how do you think your club will play on the biggest stage here in Madison Square (Garden) against some of these…?

Coach Beilein:  "I don't know how we'll react.  Last year most of our kids except the freshman got to play on pretty big stages.  So they've been to Cameron; they've been to the Big Ten tournament.  They've been to all the tough places to play in the Big Ten.  So who knows at this time.  I have been building up.  I love the Garden.  It has always been a great place for my teams to play, so let's see them experience it and lets just go and see what they can do."

Question:  As a coach what are you looking for?

Coach Beilein:  "I think any time you on a road, aside if you go to Alaska again, it is a good bonding experience.  You go on the road, we'll get there and we'll end up…that is a training experience for you just to get your team…they usually bond a little bit.  They room with people they maybe don't room with.  We really work at that as building team chemistry."

Question:  Coach just want to get your thoughts on DeShawn's night tonight and his response with coming off the bench?

Coach Beilein: "He's got such a great attitude this year in practice; this usually happens.  When they get to be juniors and seniors, they've seen a lot and they want to win more than anything else.  His numbers coming off the bench continue then you get tough decisions.  Is this something that we should get off to a better start.  Who knows what you can do, I just have to do it by feel.  We've always had this feeling that it was always important to have a good player coming off the bench and have enough scorers in the game."

Question:  With some of the turnovers, did you feel like if it's possible that he's too unselfish and maybe made an extra pass when they didn't need to?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah, I think we were sloppy a couple of times too.  That one play after we had the breakout dunk; we do a lot of catching the ball with one hand, that's not good.  It's something that you do it all your life or all summer long, it's a tough habit to break.  We had a lot of those one handed catches that went off our hands.  We're still developing our passing game, our skill level with our passing."

Question:  Do you feel better about your club after two games then you thought you might?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah, I didn't know what to expect going into this time of the year, but that is sort of the nature of a coach.  I feel good that we won, but I'm just glad we won a couple of home games here in front of what I thought was a pretty good crowd.  A crowd that got into it a little bit.  Now move on and see.  We're going to get better in New York City.  Win or lose, we'll get better."

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