Beilein Lauds UM's Defense & Toughness

After Michigan's 62-59 victory in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, John Beilein discussed his team's hustle, it's tough-mindedness, the play of Manny Harris, holding Clemson's trap, and more.

Coach Beilein:  "I thought our defense today was really a big factor in the game.  If you look at the stats between (Terrence) Oglesby and (K.C.) Rivers, two for something from the deep outside and great perimeter defense, because (Trevor) Booker is such a load to defend inside and then he's just got a feel for offensive rebounding.  It's incredible.  They all do.  We got to hang in there.  Obviously they did a great job on the boards and obviously there are some things that you can't even do about that.  They are just really good in there.  I loved the way our players persevered after they hit those three 3s and we missed three open ones and then had the three consecutive turnovers.  Our kid still hung in there.  Manny made a huge old fashioned three point play and Zack (Novak) with the big foul shot sealed it."

Question:  John obviously, you've been on the other side of having a player ejected; is there anything in the huddle during that brief moment that you tell your team that maybe this is an opportunity that we can capitalize on right away?

Coach Beilein:  "You know I didn't even address that.  He is a very, very good shooter.  He hadn't made a lot of shots at that point.  He's a good player, but this doesn't make a difference right now.  They got other guys that are talented that are going to come off the bench, don't let down one minute."

Question:  Coach congratulations.

Coach Beilein:  "Thank you."

Question:  Obviously we don't know the winner of this next game, how do you think you match up, talk about the strength of your Michigan team and if you should face Oklahoma; how do you match up obviously with a Blake Griffin?

Coach Beilein:  "I'm the wrong guy to ask.  I know nothing about them right now.  I really don't.  I don't watch any of those games that they've played.  I know I remember seeing him as a younger recruit.  I played against actually against his older brother when Kelvin (Sampson) was coaching Oklahoma and we had a West Virginia team.  Really don't know anything about them, but you can bet in the next 42 hours that I learn as much as I can."

Question:  Strength of your team coach?

Coach Beilein:  "Strength of our team – as you saw from them right now, they are tough minded kids that really want to win.  They came out there and I thought they played with a great edge, a chip on their shoulder today, as we were fighting to get into the tournament we weren't in until the last couple of days and I think that is always an advantage going down the stretch when your fighting to get in and then you get in.  I don't think that you lose an edge not that Clemson did, but teams that were in those middle seeds that knew they did, maybe they didn't win their last game or weren't as fighting as hard as we had to do.  It was survival the last two weeks for our kids."

Question:  Coach, can you talk about the balance that Manny Harris struck tonight between aggressively taking the ball to the hole and setting people up on his team?

Coach Beilein:  "And breaking the press as well.  We could get him the ball on the press, we could advance the ball very quickly.  He just finds people very well and Zack (Novak) hit some shots.  CJ (Lee) he made a couple.  He always finds DeShawn (Sims); he's always looking for DeShawn.  It just makes a big difference in our quickness and gets into the lane.  I think he was our leading rebounder as well tonight."

Question:  When Manny made that move at the end of the game, you were up by one with 30 seconds left, was that one of those no-no…?

Coach Beilein:  "Absolutely.  Just like the three in the corner that Novak took that…I don't know if I would have advised either one, but there are some things that you just got to watch and see what they're doing.  If we didn't have something good, if we say the numbers weren't right at that time, probably a good time to bring it out.  At one point, they were going to have to get it back; I don't know the exact number on the clock.  What was the number on the clock?"

Question:  37 I think when he made the move. 

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah when he went in.  Yeah I probably look at him and say you got a great shot here.  If you got to get a great shot, it's got to be like a layup.  For Manny, when Manny gets into a crowd, those are like layups to him, but if we hadn't had something there, we would have pulled it out and made them foul us."

Question:  Also coach you had some success against ACC teams this year; is there any different preparation against an ACC team or is it?

Coach Beilein:  "I haven't had any success."

Question:  Well you beat Duke.

Coach Beilein:  "Oh yeah I forgot (laughter).  I should have remembered that shouldn't I. (Laughter) I mean you look at just the score, Clemson is averaging 79 points a game and they had 59 and I don't think anybody in that game was holding the ball.  This game is played.  We've learned in the Big Ten that you will not survive if you are not going to guard people, be able to guard people for 35 seconds.  That's one difference I know, when you're averaging that many points.  It's hard when you just get that game where it's just a little bit different pace.  We would have been crazy, just to do this all day with them because you can see why – 21 offensive rebounds and another 20 defensive rebounds if we had played like that as well."

Question:  Can you talk about the minutes you got from Zack Gibson and Anthony Wright and the hustle plays they made?

Coach Beilein:  "It was great.  When they started to make their little run back, Zach had the two tip outs that we huge for us to get it and then Anthony coming in and Manny – it was a new thing that we just put in.  Manny drives the baseline and to Anthony in the corner and Anthony hasn't played a great deal this year, but he's been very good in practice.  We felt he was the right skill guy for their pressure and he had a huge shot for us and rebounding as well.  We had a lot of guys that were ready to step forward today."

Question:  Coach what was going through your mind when they cut that 15 point lead down to one?

Coach Beilein:  "We had the two threes, which I didn't mind taking, Stu took one and Manny took one wide open that might have sealed the game, might have got it over.  They went in and out and then they made the two.  Then we had the three turnovers.  We know we have a young team and we know why we take care of the ball; we don't have a lot of experience taking care of the ball in the NCAA tournament, so I wasn't surprised.  It was how can we survive this and somebody has got to make one shot here and we got to get one defensive rebound here to be in position to win the game.  Manny made the big shot and I don't think we every got the defensive rebound."

Question:  You've been in this situation, first game, first NCAA tournament appearance with your team; how did the experience with Michigan compare to the other schools you've been to?

Coach Beilein:  "I think every one of them the first game has been an absolute…I think three of the four have actually been last shot games.  South Carolina, they missed one at the buzzer.  We beat Creighton with a shot at the buzzer and the last time in the NCAA, it was fairly well decided and we lost once by a lot.  They're all intense for our kids.  I think it took a little wind out of our sails with the lead and then all of a sudden hanging on but it is still a great W for us to win today."

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