Coach Beilein speaks about tonight's game

It's Michigan versus Clemson, 7 PM EDT ... CBS TV. In yesterday's pregame presser Coach Beliein discusses the challenge that Clemson's defensive pressure presents, the Tigers' similarities to other teams the Wolverines have played, keeping his club's excitement at bay so they can play well, and much much more.

Coach Beilein: "We've been fired up since obviously since the announcement Sunday night, but we do know that we are playing a very, very good Clemson team and it's going to be great game."

Question: John, you've been through all this before, but you're players have not. Clemson talked about coming in last year and getting caught up in the hoopla of a first round game. Have you done anything specific to try and avoid that with your team?

Coach Beilein: "What we tried to do was get that media done back in Ann Arbor early and really shelter the kids right now from hoopla I guess. There is still going to be and you don't want to go in and say this is just like any other game. You worked hard for this, enjoy it and embrace it, but once that ball goes up, it's the same old thing. Like I said when that ball goes up and we see that Clemson offense and defense, they'll understand right away what this thing is all about and hopefully we adjust very quickly to their length, their outstanding athleticism, their game plan."

Question: You remember this style from a couple of years ago in the N.I.T.?

Coach Beilein: "Yep."

Question: How different is it from what you played against this year and how do you prepare for it?

Coach Beilein: "Yeah, it is very similar in many respects. I don't think we're as long a team as we were back then but at the same time I think that we might have to do more of a parity to our game a little bit. We were basically a three point jumping shooting team only at that point and like I said we were longer. I think, I've watched that game just to see some things, obviously its two years later. Oliver's (Purnell) changed some things, we've changed some things. The personnel at our place 100% changed. He's still got (K.C.) Rivers and still got (Trevor) Booker and a few other guys out there. You would be crazy not to see the parallels between the games, but at the same time they are a much improved team from that or they would be in the N.I.T. again."

Question: I'm interested to hear because of your background, what your take was on the way the Big East was treated come seeding and if you're interested at all in seeing how that pans out?

Coach Beilein: "The seeding thing now has become a new thing, where people are seeded. I've never been a one, two or a three seed. We've always been in that battle of the 7-10 or one time I was a 13 seed. It was all the same. I didn't get into who's seeded one. I guess they've done a better job of making sure there is equity in those very top teams, but the Big East is a terrific conference and they especially at the top had great, great teams. I think the Big Ten was more, there was parity throughout the league and we had nine teams that on any given night could be beat anybody in the country and that includes the teams that didn't get in, Penn State and Northwestern couldn't get in, but we had nine of those teams that were very good. The Big East certainly had teams that could win the national championship. They got three or four of them that could really win the national championship as well. Michigan State is awfully good. Purdue is very good. We've got some other ones."

Question: You talked about how you know this is different than a normal game, but have you tried to stay, especially since you've gotten into town, tried to stay on a normal routine or because it is the tournament do you let them, allow them to enjoy a little bit more?

Coach Beilein: "The only thing, we came in a day early just because of these types of things. But I think tomorrow we're not going to…we think we're prepared enough and you can't shoot around here unless you want to get up at eight in the morning. So tomorrow the only thing we're going to do is take them over to the College Hall of Fame over here so they can see a little of that in lieu of a shoot around just because we feel that right now, we are prepared and ready to go. We'll take them for a walk outside, where normally we would go somewhere. But it has been pretty much of a road game type of experience. I think tonight we are going to go out to eat at a restaurant. Usually we stay in a hotel, those are the only changes."

Question: Stats don't always tell the whole story, but really the common thread it seems in your guy's losses is that you haven't shot the ball real well, is it that simplistic?

Coach Beilein: "Oh boy, the defenses are varied, who've played and things like that. I know one thing, when we've won, we shot the ball well and our turnover numbers have been low with all of our wins. That's been pretty consistent and we got to do that certainly against Clemson. The way they pressure you, the turnover numbers could be very high. If we can get out in the open court and get into some space, who knows. It could change the momentum out of our favor or it could give us wide open shots. That's our fine line that we got to play with tomorrow."

Question: The fans have talked about this being a fresh start and a sense of relief, kind of putting the past 11 years behind them and some of the things that happened within the program; do you sense that when your out in the community and stuff?

Coach Beilein: "I certainly sensed that Sunday night. There was a lot of relief in Crisler Center Sunday night when the big M came up, when the black M came up on the board. Yeah and I've only had a couple of conversations with recruits since we were in. I think that's probably been with us, it's always been until we got into the NCAA Tournament, when is Michigan going to win again. The fact that we got in certainly helps. I don't think that it says okay, now you're going to go and be able to get any player in the country, but I think at the same time, it's another step in the right direction to get involved with the right players."

Question: Clemson struggled for years and got into the tournament last year and you've done something similar this year; what's the key to turning around that mindset within the program?

Coach Beilein: "I think that now, establishing a culture, this is how we do it and now you have proof. This I what we've done. I think at our last years at West Virginia, as we recruited. It wasn't hard to sell kids on the idea and tell them how hard (Kevin) Pittsnogle worked or how hard (Mike) Gansey worked, well now you got Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims and knowing that hard work paid off. So once you can you establish that I think you can get some consistency. I talk about look right up the road at Michigan State and at Wisconsin. Those guys don't know what it's like to not go to the tournament and that's the culture you're trying to establish and certainly you just got to be persistent and stay with what you're doing."

Question: What was it about t culture that needed changing? There is a whole generation of people that just remember great Michigan basketball and then it went dark for a decade.

Coach Beilein: "I'm not going to pinpoint anything. I think we need to do is that we just had such a young team. I mean they won 22 games the years before (I took over) and they were this close to the NCAA tournament. A win over Ohio State might have put Tommy Amaker's team in. At the same time four of those guys were seniors and they were the major…now all of a sudden, we inherited not only a young team and then we have some unexpected attrition of four players, so now we say lets go. We just sort of had to start all over again. Okay, this is what we are going to do. This is what has worked in the past. We didn't invent the game. This is what has worked in the past and this is how we are going to play and gradually everybody has sort of adapted to it."

Question: Have you seen anybody in the Big Ten that will approximate the pressure that you're going to see from Clemson tomorrow and what can you say about that aspect of the game? You touched on it earlier.

Coach Beilein: "I think in the half court it would be the Purdue, Illinois and Minnesota. In the full court, Minnesota is one of the few that get out and extend more. Northwestern doesn't extend full, but they'll make you take some time to get into your offense. So we've seen a little bit of that. I think we saw it earlier in the year, press from Oakland and a few others that we've played. So we have to adjust. We haven't seen a lot of it. The other side is, hopefully Clemson hasn't seen a lot of the way we play. They just have a more experienced team right now but once that ball goes up, you just never know how people are going to react."


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