Beilein's Roundtable (Week 3)

Michigan basketball coach John Beilein met with the media yesterday to update his team's progress as it heads into the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Florida. The Wolverines third-year headman discussed the opening match-up with Creighton, improving transition defense, and much more.

Coach Beilein:  "There used to be one big tournament time – Christmas – and now there really are not any Christmas tournaments.  These Thanksgiving things have taken over, these exempt events.  This will really be a challenge for us now, between our first two games no matter how it all shakes out those first two games are going to be great.  We're playing great team and we'll find out where we are."

Question:  What do you know about Creighton?

Coach Beilein:  "We did play against them three or four years ago.  Dana (Altman) and I have been friends for a while and I really respect the way they play.  They probably and Gonzaga and maybe Butler have some of the top ‘so called' mid major programs.  There is nothing mid major about Creighton – they can play."

Question:  More on Creighton…

Coach Beilein:  "They're running 12 guys at you right now and they're playing a little different than they played before.  They've got two actions, a great passing action that they've used for years but I don't know if it is the Vance Walberg dribble drive, Memphis dribble drive thing.  It looks something like it from what I've seen.  They're playing more zone, pressing more than they have before.  He's really experimenting with some great ideas."

Question:  People always said you are pretty good at taking advantage of tournaments because it is difficult to prepare for you guys on short turnarounds and stuff; do you try to play to that advantage in a way?

Coach Beilein:  "I hope that it works to our advantage.  I think having your team at this time of the year is hard because our team is making adjustments is just as hard.  We haven't been challenged the way we are going to be challenged now so that'll be the biggest adjustment that we have to get ready for is that this is…Creighton and I haven't seen much of Marquette or Xavier are extremely athletic teams and they are well coached and we're going to have troubles defensively.  There quickness, the press, these are all things that our backcourt is going to have to handle."

Question:  What stands out about the latest (Kaleb) Korver kid?

Coach Beilein:  "He's another great shooter.  Kyle (Korver) was in a class by himself and thank goodness I didn't have to play against him the first time.   Just a great time shooter, just great presence out there, very good player."

Question:  Can you talk to us about your discussion with Mary Sue Coleman and how that came about that you are part of her committee?

Coach Beilein:  "The only thing I'm going to say about that is that President Coleman will talk to you about it.  That's as far as I'm going to say about that committee.  I think that is an agreement we all have.  She'll have any comments addressing that."

Question:  What you're looking for hasn't changed from what you said last month?

Coach Beilein:  "We (can get) back to basketball?"

Question:  What you said back at Big Ten Media Day about what you'd like to see, that hasn't changed in what you'd like to see out of the AD?

Coach Beilein:  "I don't even recall what I said.  All I'm saying is that obviously the confidentially is that I would rather not even discuss it.  I just think it is the thing that President Coleman – she will speak for the committee."

Question:  DeShawn (Sims) was mentioning the team bonding aspects are together early; what do you think about that in terms of how it affects your team?

Coach Beilein:  "This is great time for us, especially now, you go to this situation.  There was bonding when we went to the…I said the movie ‘The Shining' in that hotel that we were in.  There was bonding but hopefully this will be really nice in that we get to go to the park one day and we will just be outside and, we're all bracing up for the winter so this will be nice to be in the sun a little bit."

Question:  Do you get on a ride with the guys? 

Coach Beilein:  "I don't know what I will do.  I traditionally will get on one or two depending on how we're playing.  I've only been there one time and we did go on a couple of things.  It depends, that Saturday that off day really is the day to gather up a little bit, but I also want the coaches and everything to be part of that team bonding that goes on during the off days, the trip down.  We're flying commercial down and commercial back.  That's all things that brings a team together as well."

Question:  Are you concerned about your transition defense; how much have you worked on it?

Coach Beilein:  "We've worked on it every day for 15 to 25 minutes every day.  We will work on it again today.  We got nine minutes today on it.  Going from summertime basketball to that, it is a yearly event no matter what happens, no matter what team you have, transition defense stinks when you first get it and then you've got to talk them into it because you just can't give up easy baskets."

Question:  Do you have a favorite one these (tournaments)?  I mean you've been to so many at this point.

Coach Beilein:  "Like I said, we were more Christmas tournaments before but this is one of my few repeats, I believe.  It may be.  We were the first teams that was in this at West Virginia and it was experimental a little bit.  So I'm glad we're back and it really has a great field in it."

Question:  Do you want your team going in feeling like it is favorite or the marquee team that is going into this tournament?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah I don't know – we are?  All the teams in it are so good.  At this time of the year I don't really buy into favorites and nonfavorites, ranked teams and unranked teams.  I want us going in their confidence but also knowing, alright, now we really get to play some challenging situations."

Question:  On the benefit of playing in the Classic

Coach Beilein:  "It is preparing us for the Big Ten is what it is.  It is preparing you, I assume out of this field there could be four or five teams that could go to the NCAA tournament out of this field.  This is what it is like and we come back and when we're talking about transition defense or we're talking about you got to be ready to shoot quickly and come off a screen harder, somebody is going to be there – it hits after you play these teams.  There will be positives out of it either way after this weekend."

Question:  What is the hardest part about Creighton?

Coach Beilein:  "I think that they are so diverse right now with what they do.  I think that is the biggest thing right now.  The two options that they are running is extremely different and we've got to prepare for both.  They are also running 10-12 players at you and knowing the scouting point is really hard.  They have three kids that are junior college kids that are outstanding kids that we don't have tape on from last year.  So there is a lot to it."

Question: Manny (Harris), DeShawn and Zach (Novak) seemed to have logged a lot of minutes for you initially; do you watch that especially the first few games?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah it has been on my mind about how we practiced this week.  We went two hours yesterday plus weights plus some extra shooting.  Today, we are only going go about 90 minutes and we are going to practice down there tomorrow, probably combine two because we'll practice for an hour and a half and shoot for half an hour.  Yeah it is on my mind right now going into the tournament and see how we're playing.  You're trying to win that first game with everything you got and worry about the second game after that."

Question:  Manny is healthy?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah.  I don't think he is 100%, but I think he is certainly physically ready to play."

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