Beilein Looks For Bounce Back

With a young team in the grip of a three game losing streak, head coach John Beilein is preaching poise and confidence as his team prepares for the in-state battle with Marshall.

"We must play with confidence," Beilein said of the key to breaking out of the team's current streak. "Anytime you lose three in a row, that can hurt your team's confidence level. But, we don't want to dwell on past problems. We have to review the tape, correct problems, and then move on.

"We seem to have that resiliency to bounce back in practice. Our guys watched the film, and then got back to work. Games can be a different matter, though."

While Beilein and his staff do look at film to both correct mistakes and prepare for individual opponents, he continues to spend just as much, if not more, time on his team and their execution.

"We need to pay attention to the big picture, that is, getting better at fundamentals as opposed to playing against a particular team," Beilein noted. "We tell our kids, 'this is what we need to do to get better', and then we work on it.

"We could spend a lot of time learning the other team's plays, and then you might know what they do, but if you can't pass or shoot the ball, then you have problems. We had 12-16 plays against BC where we didn't do those things that were elementary to scoring points. They didn't have anything to do with what BC did."

MUSKET BLASTS

Despite attempts to draw him out on the subject of a West Virginia Marshall football game, Beilein remained focused on his sport.

"When you have so many non-league games like we do (WVU plays 12 this year), it makes some sense. In football, scheduling is different, and they already have some established rivalries in their non-league games. This game makes sense for us right now, so we play it."

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Beilein does acknowledge that this game carries higher significance than the average out of conference tilt.

"We just have to acknowledge that this game has a lot of interest throughout the state. There's a lot of pride involved. It's exciting, so we want to make the most of this opportunity.

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Beilein has considered some different combinations of players than those he has currently used, but notes that the necessary preparation time, combined with the fact that his players are still learning his complex system, would make that very difficult.

Changes such as getting Chaz Briggs and Kevin Pittsnogle on the floor at the same time have been discussed, but Beilein notes that his team just isn't at the point where they can begin switching positions.

"We'd like to do that, but we'd have to devote two to three days of practice just for one change. We're specialized in many of the things we do at each position, so it's not easy to change spots. You have to have great familiarity with the system in order to do that, and with us being in the first year of our program, we're just not ready to do a lot of things like that yet. There may be a special situation where we could do it, but we have to look at the short term versus the long term benefits of any move."


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