Amaker Looks Back, Forward

Michigan Men's Head Basketball Coach Tommy Amaker talks about the Wolverine's struggles in last few games, and looks ahead to this week's Big Ten Tournament.

Tommy Amaker on what has gone wrong in Michigan's last few games:

Well, I think you look at who we've played. We certainly lost at Wisconsin in what was a game there where we were completely outplayed and outclassed. I think you look at our Illinois game which was such a terrific basketball game here and could have gone either way. And I think you look at the game which was just played here, our final game on Saturday, against Purdue – a team that sure was fighting and looking for that win to secure their opportunity to go to the NCAA Tournament. We had Senior Day, but it was obvious Blanchard wasn't himself. And again, we need everything hitting on all cylinders for us to be in the ballpark and potentially have a chance to beat the better teams in our league.

Those are our three losses and then certainly we went on the road and won at Penn State. I thought that win said more about our team maybe than many of the other wins this year. I mentioned that after that game because coming off the Illinois loss, how difficult that was for us, how much we invested and how well we played and we came up short. And I thought that both teams deserved to win that game. And then you go on the road and you're expected to win against a team that has struggled all year in terms of their record, but certainly had played very well in their building as we saw the next game that they played there by them upsetting IU. So I thought that win was a significant win for our team to bounce back, to regroup and respond which is something we talk about. To regroup and respond.

Tommy Amaker on facing Penn State or Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament:

Certainly Penn State is the team that we've played the most recently and we played them at their place and we talked about for our team how dangerous we thought they were. They proved us correct after our game, going against Indiana. They've been, we think, extremely dangerous when they've played at home. I think that's the kind of team, too, that is better than their record indicates. They've had some tough losses. They've been very close to upsetting a number of people this year and that's the kind of opponent playing in the tournament – and certainly Indiana plays them first and whether or not we get an opportunity to play them is yet to be seen – they're the kind of opponent I think most people would view as a very dangerous opponent in a tournament atmosphere because they've shown they can upset some people.

Indiana, we know what they're capable of. I think that's a team that everyone feels if they get on a roll that they're as good as anybody in our conference. And, if you're as good as anybody in our league, then you have a chance to play on par with anyone in the country. With their talent, with Bracey Wright and certainly with Newton on the inside and Coverdale, I mean, this is the team that won the regular season title last year and went to the NCAA Tournament championship game. So you're talking about a team with a lot of players returning that knows how to play in a tournament atmosphere and I'm sure that they're going to be a team that has an opportunity to possibly go a long way.

Tommy Amaker on whether LaVell will be ready to play in the tournament:

We were off yesterday, after our game Saturday. We're going to check on LaVell this afternoon. He's been in already for some treatment. We're going to take it day by day with him. And certainly having him stay off it and having him as healthy as possible for Friday night is going to be a big key for us. It's no secret that we need –especially LaVell – but we need everyone healthy, but especially LaVell to be as close to 100 percent as possible. I think there's a good chance he might have to be off a few days this week. I don't know the answer to that yet, but there's a strong possibility that could happen.

Tommy Amaker on momentum and how lack of depth might affect the Wolverines:

I don't believe you go into a tournament with momentum. I think we've seen all along a lot of teams that have played well going into a tournament and lose or don't play well. I think you gain momentum within the tournament and so, when you talk about that, anything is possible. I think for players to play for a conference championship and you have the possibility of three games in three days, I mean, they're young and they would be extremely excited. I think if we put ourselves in that position, I don't think depth or fatigue would really be a factor.

We're going to worry more about the health of our team as that's something that could curtail our ability to give 100%. But I just think at this time of year, if you have players on your roster, I think that they're going to be excited to play and they're going to give everything they have. Certainly if teams have the depth, I'm sure they're going to try to utilize it to their advantage. But that's not one of the things we bring to the table.

Tommy Amaker on the Big Ten Tournament being Michigan's NCAA tournament and how he wants his team to play:

They know it. I don't know if there's a card left to play, if they already know it. I think it's obvious. We don't even have to go that route with our players. They know what's at stake and they know that this is our last portion of our season.

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