Beilein's Roundtable (Week 4)

Michigan basketball coach John Beilein met with the media yesterday to update reflect on his team's showing the Old Spice Classic in Orlando last week and look ahead to tonight's match-up with Boston College. The Wolverines third-year headman discussed his team's shooting woes, the necessary defensive improvements, getting Zach Gibson more minutes, and much more.

Coach Beilein:  "Okay, we are going through quite a stretch right here with the three games against very good teams in four days and then fly back and we decided to take the day off yesterday because of the long day, so one day prep for a really talented team that we need about five days to prep for and you still don't have enough time.  Boston College has got a great tradition.  Al (Skinner) is very unique in his style and as many people have found out, me included just very difficult to beat."

Question:  Is there any local knowledge that you have?

Coach Beilein:  "I think we had a little bit of success, not as much as I would like when we were at West Virginia.  They are just tough to guard.  They play different than everybody else.  The face has changed but the big strong bodies that post up, offensive rebound, share the ball, stay the same."

Question:  You recruited Joe Trapani, is what he is doing now, what you expected?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah, he's really got a great role on this team.  He can really shoot it.  He is that skilled four man that we really like to have and he's having a really good career there."

Question:  After you looked the film from Orlando, what do you think you learned about your own team out of it?

Coach Beilein:  "I think afterwards, we have to understand that we have sophomore and freshmen in the backcourt and they are learning and getting better every day, but they are young.  I thought we played very, very hard on Alabama, but it is a given, if we are not shooting 37% from three or making eight or nine or 10 a game, it is very difficult for us to win.  At our size, it is hard to stop some people because they are going to get offensive rebounds, things like that.  There are times when we need to outscore people when we are playing really huge teams that are going to get us on the backboard a little bit."

Question:  On the challenge that Boston College presents…

Coach Beilein:  "Just looking at the number of bodies that they've been playing, a week ago they were down…where was it St. Padre Island?  Virgin Islands, they went through this.  They have enough guys.  He really has 10 bodies out there that he can continue to run at you.  I know they have one injury and they have some sickness, but I'll believe it all when I see it.  I'll believe they're not at 100%."

Question:  In terms of the shooting; hoping that coming home helps that?

Coach Beilein:  "I hope so.  It is more individual right now.  One of our issues is Zach Novak is not getting enough looks right now and he is a pretty good shooter.  We've got a couple of guys who are really good shooters that are off to very poor starts from the perimeter – pretty confident that will change.  Hopefully the home court will help."

Question:  When you put together this schedule, was this kind of done somewhat purposing because of that bad stretch you had last January?  

Coach Beilein:  "No not at all.  We don't know the stretch in January.  That stretch in January is done after this is made.  I think the best exempt tournaments are over the Thanksgiving week and as long as the ACC/Big Ten challenge is there, it is going to be a Tuesday or Wednesday game, whether we were going to…the year before we did get the games out of the way the week before.  When we went to Alaska, we came back and BC was waiting for us.  We try to keep that in mind.  I think it is very difficult to change time zones and come back to the ACC/Big Ten, but a lot of tournaments are in LA, Cancun, Maui.  You have issues to deal with coming back to this challenge, but everybody does, everybody does."

Question:  Looking at the challenge as a whole, how do you see the Big Ten chances?

Coach Beilein:  "Was there just one game last night (Reporters:  Yeah).  They look at it so much as a league versus a league.  It is so much an individual against an individual.  Where is that game at and it comes down to a few points.  I think much to much is made of, well they won six and the other team won five or it was seven to four.  It's a great concept, no question, but way too much is made about who actually wins the most number of games."

Question:  What needs to get better when you go to the zone?

Coach Beilein:  "I think our understanding of it.  We're not touching the ball, a lot of it is schematics and angles.  A lot of it is trying to figure out who plays well in areas.  We don't know…like we said, we don't know until you get playing against some really good teams, who is going to perform the best in it.  You can see, we averaged over 10 steals a game down there.  That was incredible numbers, that generated a lot of our offense.  If we can't get steals then it is tough to get stops and scoring points is hard."

Question:  Where is Darrius (Morris) mentally?

Coach Beilein:  "He's fine.  He's probably like every other freshman in the country right now.  Happy that he is playing but didn't probably realize that there is so much too this, al the responsibilities that you have and the scouting reports you have to know and other people know on you.  There is a 22-year-old guy guarding you now and not another 17-year-old.  There is a lot of things that they go through.  You just keep patting them on the back and help them through it."

Question:  Is there something to be said for the preseason tournaments that have the games spread out a little bit more?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah.  The four game tournaments, based on what we just went through, the four game tournaments are pretty good.  That you play a couple at home and then you go somewhere and play back to back like we did last year, but I think the experience that you gain from bonding together in Orlando for five or six days is good.  Who knows in the long run where this is, but the schedule is very difficult for us.  Two things, the people we are playing and number two the travel we're doing, really adds to it."

Question:  Have you guys scheduled any for the coming years?

Coach Beilein:  "I can't share them with you yet, but we are looking at some great possibilities but the challenge sitting there, you have to be very comfortable with the team that you are going to have that year, because you could also overload them as well, like the Anchorage trip and coming back like we did a couple of years ago."

Question:  The fact that you are on the road next year with the challenge does that make where you go…?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah, you'd like to stay in the same time zone and you'd like to make it fairly close.  Also with our academic calendar, you're looking at missing a whole week of classes for a semester, which at a tough time.  So it is hard to do that.  We've really only missed one day of classes so far, actually we missed part of Monday too.  You start going to one of those tournaments on the West Coast and then flying to the Tuesday game somewhere, you're gone for a week, that's hard at this time of the year."

Question:  Any potential lineup changes for tomorrow?

Coach Beilein:  "I don't think so.  I don't think so, but the rotations and the minutes played, we got to keep tweaking with that.  We've gone twice today.  We went this morning earlier.  We just walked through stuff and watched the film so we could have that day off yesterday and now we're having our actual two hour and 35 minute practice, right now between film and everything.  So we're more of right now figuring where we are and how to get ready.  You can't tweak too much in one practice.  You'll outsmart yourself."

Question:  After watching the film was it really your rotation that you are worried about?

Coach Beilein:  "They did a thing against us that we've not seen before and we needed to do better with.  We did, we got a lot of steals.  The 1-3-1 is always a high risk/high reward.  We generate a lot of things.  My biggest concern with that is that we generated steals and didn't convert on four fast breaks.  That was a big part of it, we were sloppy in some fast breaks that we should have had sure baskets."

Question:  On not getting enough minutes for Zach Gibson….

Coach Beilein:  "That is one of the issues.  I'm not stupid.  I look at home many points.  His point production, (Zach) Gibson, but making it all work and so okay, every out of bounds play somebody has to know something.  We're still…I know this sounds crazy but where was Ben (Cronin) is going to be in the lineup.  Two weeks ago we found out that his injury is limiting him so much that we only have two big guys.  Who's going to play well.  Now we need some space to retool how we would play if we were going to play big.  It would not work if we just put the two of them in there.  There are too many different things offensively and defensively in our zone, out of bound plays, offense to play them in there…just throw them in there in one day.  We're going to need a little bit of a window to do that."

Question:  Teams are trying to take DeShawn (Sims) away a little just based off…?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah, he's still getting 16 shots a game.  I think he is doing fine with that."

Question:  Do you think Ben is making progress?  

Coach Beilein:  "It's tough to tell.  We worked him out while we were in Orlando, but you watch him on the court, you see the decided limp even when he is doing anything.  You can't run and jump if you're limping.  So we're trying to look at the whole situation and see what we can do to get him some bounce back.  That's what is important.  He has to have some bounce and some quickness.  Seven foot one inch guys are not quick, but when they lose anything they have because of an injury that is hard."

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