Beilein's Roundtable (Week 2)

Michigan basketball coach John Beilein met with the media yesterday to update his team's progress as it heads into tonight's game versus Houston Baptist. The Wolverines third-year headman updated the injury status of Jordan Morgan and Ben Cronin, discussed the early play of Matt Vogrich, looked ahead to the toughening of the schedule, and much much more.

Question:  Obviously you love practice but at the beginning of the year is it harder to have games spread out?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah we were just talking about that today whether it would have been better to have a game Wednesday.  Our kids really want to play and certainly after Friday's game we're going to get into it.  We'll find out.  I think from the kid's standpoint they'd rather be playing."

Question:  When your making your schedule did you know about this team (Houston Baptist)?

Coach Beilein:  "I actually, my cousin introduced me to the coach; my cousin is an NAIA coach and introduced me to the coach at the Final Four and he said he was looking for games and I said give us a call and that's what happened.  They are in division one now but independent.  So they're always looking for games.  I believe they actually bought a bunch of tickets to go to the football game tomorrow night.  So they are making a nice little weekend out of it."

Question:  What do you say to a kid like (Matt) Vogrich after a start like that in terms of keeping level and picking things out to teach?

Coach Beilein:  "I'm hoping he'll be the first guy ever to go through his career without ever missing a three – keep shooting (laughter).  It was a good start for him.  I sincerely believe this and I don't think we're different than a lot of programs but our practices are so hard I think when they get into games, we may be even better shooters.  Zack and Matt just because they are not shooting…when we do our scrimmages at the end of practice, they've been going at it an hour and a half hard and then all of suddenly their shooting.  When Matt went in there, he really felt like he had good legs and looked good on his shot."

Question:  So he was like Novak?

Coach Beilein:  "He has been average, but he hadn't gone 5/5 in a scrimmage.  Wasn't Novak 5/6 or something.  We hadn't done that yet."

Question:  Manny's (Harris) health?

Coach Beilein:  "He's okay.  He got a little bruised yesterday so we'll see how he is today but not the same injuries just something small, but he's a competitor.  He's got to get in there and he is going to get banged around."

Question:  Hamstring again?

Coach Beilein:  "No.  Just a normal bang on your knee or quad."

Question:  What about Jordan Morgan?

Coach Beilein:  "Jordan Morgan has been cleared to play.  He has been cleared to go full court right now.  So today might be one of the first times that he will really go full court, so we'll see how he does."

Question:  Looking back at Manny's triple double a little bit are you surprised that he was able to…? 

Coach Beilein:  "I'm not surprised because he can manufacture his own double in points.  He can manufacture his own double in rebounds.  But you can't manufacture assists – they still got to make shots.  He might have three or four of those assists to Vogrich, who if he has a typical freshman and goes two for five, there is no triple.  So that is what really felt together.  Even when I wanted to get him out of there, we're up by 35 points.  I hear he's got nine assists, lets hope somebody makes the shot because he'll get the assist if somebody makes the shot.  Matt drops it in and I could get him out of there.  So there is some luck involved in that as well, but he's got the ability to do it.  Guys have to make shots in other words to get that."

Question:  Vogrich in a real counting game for him, to have a game like that, do you have to almost have to say to him, hey remember you're still a freshman?

Coach Beilein:  "Naw.  I think you got to grab those days and just…he's seen three of the clips of those shots.  This is what he came to Michigan to do, a guy that can hit open shots and make a lot of other plays, but primarily hit open shots.  He did that in his first game."

Question:  How (Ben) Cronin's hand?

Coach Beilein:  "Okay.  He didn't catch the ball yesterday but hopefully he'll be better.  We have got to step back and do more rehab with him, more rehab for his hip.  He's just bouncier than you're seeing right now.  We got to get him to play a little bigger."

Question:  At what point do you feel that he might be able to become part of that rotation?

Coach Beilein:  "That's what we are reexamining right now and trying to get him back into more and more rehab, more weight lifting, more jumping rope.  Maybe at the expense of playing time he may be doing that until he gets…hopefully for the Big Ten season, we just need an inch more of bounce out of him, an inch more quickness out of him." 

Question:  You say Big Ten season… is that the realistic goal?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah.  I think if you see him, he's still limping.  Our goal is to not have a limping seven footer on the floor to play, that's the goal.  When he gets his whole body back in balance that's a good sign.  We got to get him balanced first."
Question:  How frustrated is he?

Coach Beilein:  "It's been a long year.  It's been a really long year.  He just came from extra rehab right now.  It is something that we got to keep working with him.  Believe me when the practice is over today, he'll go an extra 30 minutes just in the things he needs to do to get bouncier and continue this transition to college basketball."

Question:  This team (Houston Baptist) is not the best you'll play obviously but our there some things that you want to tested?

Coach Beilein:  "They really throw the ball into the post really well.  That's something that is concerning.  They really post up.  They get very good active, I think #45 or 44, really posts up huge inside and can get you in foul trouble – score a lot of easy points.  They haven't shot it well yet.  They got a lot of open shots in the games that they played, just the ball hasn't gone in.  Hopefully our defense is pretty good that we can continue that trend.  The one kid (Andrew) Gonzalez, he's only missed five shots inside the arc, he just hasn't made them from outside the arc.  That kid can score."

Question: More on Houston Baptist…

Coach Beilein:  "In their exhibition game and their other three games that we've watched, they've come after people.  They won't quit.  They keep coming after you.  We have to be prepared for a lot of full court and half court pressure."

Question:  Is that what made you schedule a game like this because they can test you in different ways?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah.  I didn't know what the pedigree was.  At that time, we were actually having trouble finding homes games that we didn't have to return, guarantee games.  So we were looking for anybody that we could in those situations.  This was the answer.  I didn't have that in mind.  I wish I was that smart."

Question:  Ideally though when you are scheduling some of these kinds of games, do you sometimes look and say this team does this real well and we are going to see this?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah I haven't done it, but I think people actually do it.  I haven't done it.  I like playing teams that are well coached and I hear good things.  Houston Baptist has gone through a great transition here and has had good success in NAIA and so now in Division I, it is going to be more difficult obviously for them, but you know me, I respect everybody."

Question:  With more shooters to choose from is it tougher now to kind of work your way through and find the hot hand?

Coach Beilein:  "We like kids that over a 10 shot span are going to make five out of 10 or four out of 10.  We'd rather not have a guy in any way, but we don't want four in a row and then miss four in a row.  You'd like them to be two for four, two four, one for four, two for four.  I think we have enough shooters out there that we'll find somebody.  We were trying to find Vogrich after he hit the three in the row, but I think we got more guys who can have similar success on some nights.  As we saw last year, Novak one game was real hot, Stu (Douglass) another night, LLP (Laval Lucas-Perry)."

Question:  You guys are going to start facing tougher competition next week, is there anything that you'd like to see from your team before you go into the tournament?

Coach Beilein:  "I'm still finding out so much about our team but I'd like to see us execute well and we certainly in the Northern Michigan game, we saw a lot of zone defense.  I haven't seen us execute against pressure.  We are going to play bigger, stronger, quicker people than we've seen so far.  I'd like to see what we can learn from it."

Question:  On the schedule getting tougher in the coming days…

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah we have a tough schedule coming up.  Yeah I think it has happened on a few occasions but you don't want to start off with the defending National Champion if you don't have to.  You try to get your team just a little bit used to what goes on in games.  I think Tom had a stat or somebody had a stat; we're the third youngest team in the Big Ten, is that correct?  Some other years we would tackle things.  With the way the schedule fell, this was the way to go and that three games in three days that is approaching after this is, is going to really sneak up on us and then we play a lot of games." 

Question:  Would you want to play in the 24 hours of basketball that was on ESPN?

Coach Beilein:  "If it was the right time.  I don't think we're in the position to play a six a.m. game.  We'd like to be in the four or six or eight p.m. game; we don't want to be in the 10 p.m. or midnight game or whatever."

Question:  Did they approach you guys this year?

Coach Beilein:  "No, I think we were already in the Disney thing, which is pretty good."

Question:  Will you be having Thanksgiving next week at some time?

Coach Beilein:  "What we are going to do is that those who have family attending will just go with their own family after the game, I think like four or five o'clock, but everybody else we'll have a meal for them."

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