Beilein on Iowa Victory, OSU, & More

After Michigans 59-52 win over Iowa in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament John Beilein discussed the keys to the victory and looked ahead to Friday's match-up with the top-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes.


OPENING STATEMENT:  We got off to a great start, which I thought was really important always in these tournaments, to get off to a good start with our defense.  Made some shots early.  Things got a little bit cold.  Todd went to a zone defense, which I don't know, the Iowa people may know, you very rarely see, shook us up a little bit, and they made a great comeback, and then we made a couple great shots to get back out in front to hang on.

QUESTION: On paper with the talent you have, if I said eighth seed coming into this tournament at the beginning of the season, is that where you envisioned you would be right now?

COACH BEILEIN:  Well, we were seventh last year.  There wasn't a lot of attrition within the league last year, from last year to this year.  I don't think too much about those things.  I wanted us to get better.  I had hoped we'd get better.  We won nine games in the league last year, we won seven this year.  Obviously we weren't as good.  But it was smaller than people think, probably, about the difference, but it's a difference.

QUESTION: Did you limit DeShawn's minutes intentionally because of the nature of the tournament?  It seemed like he played fewer minutes today.

COACH BEILEIN:  What was his final minutes?

QUESTION: About 30.

COACH BEILEIN: I mean, that's pretty -- we wanted -- playing Iowa, we do not like to play big. They really play really big because they set so many ball screens, it takes some stuff away. I wanted to make sure Zack Gibson gave us some minutes there.  And so 30 -- it turned out 30 and 10 or something.  I did play them together for a second.

QUESTION: If you could talk about your two games with Ohio State and the differences between how they both play now.

COACH BEILEIN:  I think that Ohio State was in a bit of a transition.  They started out in the league with four out of five on the road without having Turner and had gotten beat I think maybe up in Wisconsin and then came to us.  They looked like they were feeling like who they were without such a fabulous player.  The second time we played them, I thought they really had -- they'd all gotten better without him, and then adding him, it's just an X factor to really make them -- like one of the league co-champions or tri-champions and a great chance to win the National Championship. 

QUESTION: In that vein, just talk about the opportunity that your team has tomorrow.  You could have a special win with a win over them tomorrow, just the opportunity you guys have in that game.

COACH BEILEIN:  Yeah, I mean, once you get to the quarterfinals, then -- now, this is like the old eight-team leagues now. You're down to eight teams and you're three wins away from really a magical experience for these guys to go through, given the type of season that we've had. But it's got to go through Ohio State, so it's -- you have to get that win to continue to advance, but it would be great to beat them. They're very, very talented.  We're going to have to play our best game.  We're not going to be able to shoot 6-for-25 and can't give up a bunch of offensive rebounds and turn the ball over late like with he did today.  We'll just do our best.  That's all we're going to do.

QUESTION: They're talking about expanding the tournament to 96.  What's your thoughts about that? 

COACH BEILEIN: The NCAA Tournament?

QUESTION: Yes.

COACH BEILEIN:  I've never been in favor of that. Being a guy who was in the low majors to mid-majors and the high majors, I just think it's really a great tournament right now.  Now, they may know more than I know, but I just -- when we were at Canisius, we only won the tournament one time, and we won the championship game three times. But it was huge to just get in there for no other reason than you won that tournament.  Same thing at Richmond.  Were in it a lot, but only once we won it.  It was just great to get there. I think it's really nice and tight right now and we probably should keep it that way.  But I'll do whatever people say.  And if we're the 96th team in sometime, I'll be happy about it.

QUESTION: They didn't start off really on fire. Can you talk about their form especially early?

COACH BEILEIN:  Yeah, they came out and played us man, and we really executed them to be able to get them the ball. When they go zone, that presents the different issues getting the ball to the right people at the right time, and the timing.  I'm glad --we may see zone from Ohio State, as well, I'm glad we could work on that a little bit today.  But the zone really changed that plan from Manny to DeShawn. We dialed them up a lot at the beginning of the game.

QUESTION: After Michigan State you talked about eliminating turnovers, Manny, having a season low at that point.  How pleased were you at those areas?

COACH BEILEIN: I liked everything until those last three.  I mean, we finished with eight, but we had five going into those last four minutes. Those three gave them a chance to come up in the game. But it's important, now Iowa is a little bit less aggressive than Michigan State at turnovers, but that was a huge part of our game with Michigan State. I mean, they deserved to win.  They were certainly better than us.  Their record shows it.  But those turnovers just changed that game from a 10-point game to a 30-point game in no time. 

QUESTION: Can you talk about Harris and Sims and just kind of the way they're working together inside-outside?  There's one time in the second half they had a give and go, and the team work and how they're clicking?

COACH BEILEIN: Yeah, they room together. They see each other a lot and they look for each other in our offense quite often, sometimes too often.  You can see like DeShawn threw one up right after that thinking he could get him, as well. That's where we're got to separate from being great friends and finding the next option. But they've really done a good job with that and they've clicked together and it's no secret we try to go to the two of them a lot.  DeShawn is one of the leaders in the Big Ten in shots taken and Manny is pretty close. 

QUESTION: You guys had I think it was 16- and 14-point leads where Iowa came back.  Are you concerned that maybe you guys were a little complacent at times out there?

COACH BEILEIN: No, you know, to win we had to make a foul shot.  We had the three turnovers.  I don't think any of them were careless turnovers, and I don't think we stopped playing defense.  If there was a time tough in that game, four or five minutes to go, and they got to the one and one, we were careless with our unnecessary fouls, and then they were just -- you saw they were just going to drive it in the last four minutes and try to slow -- to change the game and lengthen the game. So we've got to take care of the ball better, and if we hadn't had those fouls early we could have kept them off the foul line or guarded them differently.


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