Beilein Previews Duke Matchup

Beilein discusses the challenges presented by facing the 4th ranked Blue Devils. He gives insight into his thought process on lineup changes, the improvement shown by senior Jevohn Shepherd, why Duke was successful against the 1-3-1 in the last matchup, and more

John Beilein Opening Statement:  "You go from the Maryland game, obviously had some great moments and then we had some bad decisions, shot selection.  What happens to teams like when you're young and you're growing and you're learning how to win is being able to handle success and handle your confidence and that is going to be a big thing tomorrow I think against Duke.  If they give us any moments for success and certainly didn't give Purdue any moments for success that you have to handle that it you ever have.  We have a great crowd, great atmosphere, but we've got to show poise in this game.  If you look at their stats; I looked at their eight games stats from last year – same stats.  Everything is the same except the three point shooting.  They're turning it over more.  They're playing incredibly efficient basketball and one of there fortes is shooting the ball and that was the first game they really shot it really well.  They are just a machine right now – a very good machine."

Question:  What's it like to see a team this close together, twice in a nonconference game?

John Beilein:  "It is tough also with a short turnaround to be able to make the trip back.  That's college basketball.  We're going to face this during the year or two.  We're going to have a Thursday night game in Iowa and a Sunday game here.  It is just something that you have to get used to.  As coaches and everyone, get back up and play.  We're home; we'll do the best we can."

Question:  I mean more seeing Duke twice so far?

John Beilein:  "I thought you were talking about Maryland and Duke back to back.  Yeah it is strange; it is different, but there are an awful lot of people that would like to have an environment such as playing Duke on their home court and Michigan is one of those schools that can attract a team in a home and home game.  You're playing against a hall of fame coach; you're playing against so many great players.  You got to go in there with somewhat of a positive attitude of it being a win-win situation even if we don't win the game actually."

Question:  After you guys played so well in the first half against Maryland did you sense any overconfidence or did you think that they handled…?

John Beilein:  "Obviously you come out of there.  I didn't think we actually played that well in the first half; we were just ahead on the scoreboard.  When we came out and all of a sudden we rushed things.  Poise on the road is so important and shot selection on the road is really important.  We had a couple in the first half that we got away with, because then they went down and missed and we could get back in our defense.  That will be a struggle all year long and that will be a struggle tomorrow as well.  It's handling, 'what is a good shot against teams that are this good defensively?' "

Question:  Can you talk about the energy that you've gotten from Jevohn Shepherd?  It seems like in the last several games he has really come along.

John Beilein:  "We're excited about, as you said trying to do more by doing less.  We need him to have one of those games were he can play good defense, hit open shots, get garbage stuff.  It's important for us."

Question:  Is that what he's willing to do?

John Beilein:  "Yeah, he's got to do it.  He's got to do it.  He's the senior and seniors want to win.  If we are going to win and he's going to play, he's got to do a lot of things that don't show up in the stats.  The dive for the loose ball, keeping the ball alive, defending somebody with balance.  It doesn't show up."

Question:   When you play a national power like Duke or a North Carolina; like Michigan football, when you see those helmets that's pretty intimidating; you've seen the Duke jersey already, does it help your guys knowing that they are just kids like them…not saying that they were intimidated that first game, but now that, we're playing Duke is over, is it a little bit easier…?

John Beilein:  "You would have to ask them (the players) that.  I mean for me as a coach…for every game that is coming up, that's the best opponent that we've faced every single game.  I'm just so impressed by other teams.  You would have to ask the team.  I think they play against a lot of the competition in the summer time and in high school tournaments, but they don't play against Coach Krzyzewski every day.  He gets guys to play as hard if not harder than any coach that I've every coached against."

Question:  How about the chess match aspect, in terms of trying to adjust to things that maybe they took advantage of last time?

John Beilein:  "Neither of us had much time to prepare for the last game.  I don't know whose advantage that would have been in the last game.  I know with them what is difficult is they are so skilled at, at least four positions and even the fifth position has more skill than many of the five.  It is very difficult to defend them and like I said, how hard they play on defense and how much pride they play in their defense.  I guess this is only the third time we've ever played against them.  Just watching them with Purdue, you think nobody plays harder than Purdue.  That (game) was a pretty good sign that teams can play as hard if not harder than Purdue."

Question:  Knowing that you were going to see them again did you spend any extra time on the film?

John Beilein:  "Yeah we've been watching film since we got done with the Maryland game.  From their games, their recent games see what changes they've made.  They'll take a lot of their strategy away with just the overplay... the good individual defense.  They take strategy away from you.  They just get it down where the players have to react and read and do things very quickly.  They are very good at taking you out of your game."

Question:  Of anybody you've seen, they probably played against the 1-3-1 better than anybody.  What did they do…?

John Beilein:  "It's not as schematic as people would think.  It's having very tall skilled guards, small forward passers that all can shoot.  That's the key and if you have those type of players out there all the time, then it can be…they are going to ping pong the ball and ping pong until they get you where they want to."

Question:  You talked about playing eight or nine guys, is that still the goal?

John Beilein:  "Yeah I don't know about this game.  I think the energy, I've got to give Manny (Harris) a little bit more of a rest.  There is just a period in the game in the middle of the first half/second half, where you sort of looking at him and you take him for granted because he runs all day long.  He needs more of a rest.  I'm not sure what we'll do in this game, but definitely eight guys will play, will it be nine or 10, we'll see."

Question:  Now that you've seen Kyle Singler in person once is your defensive strategy going to change at all?

John Beilein:  "He's a tough guard because Mike plays him as a five, four, and a three.  They're terrific at playing sort of a European type of game, where they are spreading you out and they are driving and kicking and getting to the foul line, getting to the foul line, getting to the foul line.  That is what Singler does so well."

Question:  Where is he best; you talked about the different positions that he can play; where do you think he is the best?

John Beilein:  "Oh boy, because he plays so hard he will get offensive rebounds.  He's a good shooter, but I think he's a guy that drives the ball well and draws fouls very well."

Question:  In terms of benchmarks where you want your team to be at, you talked before about how you're hoping every game they get a little bit more added to the skill set; where do you assess where they're right now?

John Beilein:  "One of our things it actually not a skill set, it's just being active and making sure that everybody makes contact on the defensive rebound.  We're getting better there, but there is that area where we just forget for a second and so whether it's long rebounds, short rebounds, we have to pursue those and execute what happens on a block out.  Sometimes the block out is the worse thing, as you hear me say many times, because the ball goes right over your head while your blocking out, it's gone over your head.  I saw DeShawn (Sims) with a couple of good passes against Maryland.  Just sort of understanding what their role is, is the other thing that we hope to accomplish.  Stu (Douglass) has passed up open 3s to take guarded 3s.  He's a great open shooter, shoot it when your open and pass it when you're not."

Question:  Now that you've had a few days to evaluate the Maryland, how do you assess DeShawn's first start?

John Beilein:  "Yeah, he'll start in this game that's for sure.  He's really playing really well.  As I said, he has become such a tough minded young man.  His persistence with just staying mentally tough throughout a game is really what's been the biggest improvement right now.  Not that he wasn't, but it's hard to play college basketball game and stay in that game when things aren't going your way.  He'll still have his lapses like we all do.  We all have those lapses but I really like the way he's playing unselfishness and just playing hard in the game."

Question:  Regarding the lineup, are you satisfied with where that is or are you going to try to adjust it a little bit more for this game?

John Beilein:  "We're evaluating everything.  I don't think we're going to know anything as I told you until we get into the Big Ten.  I'm watching and one minute we'll say okay, he's going to be alright and then the next day, we got to make this change.  We're just tossing that stuff around.  One time in the 30 some years I've been coaching that I've had a mid semester transfer come in.  How much can you change and then change again.  We're trying to throw that all together.  That's not an easy task when it's Duke twice, Maryland, when it's UCLA; it's not easy to do that.  Eastern Michigan right around the corner.  There is still a lot that we are still juggling."

Question:  Does the Purdue going in against a highly ranked team on the road and then win so impressively… does that say as much about them as anything…?

John Beilein:  "Yeah I thought that would be obviously a tough test for them and for Purdue.  They were so impressive.  That's what they wanted to do.  They came in there with a mindset…it seemed to me, they'll try to take our heart away right away.  They are very good at doing that.  They went in there and almost like they didn't want to be in Cameron at that game.  They wanted to prove that they could prove a top 20 team on the road and do that.  That's so impressive – it's a positive-positive.  They are a tough minded team."

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