Inside Michigan: Beilein Weekly

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The weeks directly after the end of every college basketball season are always very interesting. Decisions and speculation about future decisions make just as much news as a great win or a tough loss during the season. I want to take this opportunity to give our friends and fans an update since my last post two weeks ago.

First, I would like to note that Wednesday's reports of Trey Burke's decision to enter the NBA draft were premature.

My coaching staff and I have met with Trey and his parents several times over the past two weeks. Collectively, we have gathered and shared with each of them some necessary information that we feel will help Trey make the most informed decision for his future.

The Burke family has been very receptive to our assistance and appreciates that we have encouraged Trey to take his time and look at all of his options between now and the April 10 deadline.

With only one full week of classes remaining, Trey and his teammates, like all students at Michigan, are working diligently to complete their assignments and prepare for final exams.

The entire team has really worked hard in our postseason practice over the past few weeks. I love the progress of our returning talent; they are playing with great confidence and swagger. The leadership roles are evolving in a very positive way as the veterans step up and lead the team. The attitude has been great and the energy very high for each and every workout. Our three redshirt athletes have all had some very impressive moments in recent drills and scrimmages as well.

Stu, Zack and Corey have also attended many of our team workouts as they prepare for the opportunities they may have after graduation later this month. Those three have brilliant futures waiting for them down whatever path they choose.

We are all looking forward to seeing so many of our friends at the celebration of our Big Ten championship on Tuesday, April 10, at the Annual Awards Celebration Dinner. The Celebration is a sellout and will be held for the first time at our beautiful new William Davidson Player Development Center.

GO BLUE!
-John

Inside Michigan: Women's Lacrosse Coaches Blog

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It's March and in the lacrosse world that signals the start of the high school season. Without a team to coach this spring, we are getting a jump-start on the summer recruiting circuit and hitting the road in the search of the next future Wolverine for the Michigan women's lacrosse program!

The opportunity to get out and see high school games is not only a great chance to begin to scout players from all over the country, but it's also a great way to initiate connections between our coaching staff and high school coaches while continuing to spread the enthusiasm and excitement surrounding our inaugural women's lacrosse program at Michigan.

First stop on my recruiting calendar was California. The sport of lacrosse has grown tremendously over the past several years in California and it is continuing to develop at a pretty rapid pace. It was great to see and experience the excitement surrounding the sport in the state first-hand, and despite the "stormy" weather they experienced while I was out there, I was able to catch some great lacrosse. (Who would have thought that I would encounter below 60 degree temperatures, rain and wind in California while Ann Arbor was sunny, warm and in the mid-70s in March?!) While it was cold and at times quite wet, my experience in California was a good one.

Only three days to rest up in Ann Arbor until my next trip to Texas. Much like California, Texas has seen tremendous recent growth in the sport of lacrosse, and there are some fantastic players coming out of that state. I am looking forward to getting out there and watching some very talented high school lacrosse ... and hopefully doing so in warmer and drier weather conditions than I experienced in California!

GO BLUE!
JV

Inside Michigan: Beilein Weekly

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Last Friday we suffered a disappointing loss and end to our season in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. We knew prior to the game that Ohio University was a good basketball team, and they proved to be a difficult matchup for us.

Our staff and players all felt that we had the right ingredients to make a run in the tournament this year, but the Bobcats came out and played a great game against us. Ohio was certainly deserving of the win.

Although it is difficult to send our seniors out on a loss, we have not let this diminish our pride for all that we have achieved this season. All season long our team remained focused on winning a Big Ten championship, and we were able to accomplish that goal for the first time in 26 years!

We are thankful for our seniors who have guided and carried the program through both the high notes and rough patches during the past four years. They will surely be missed, but we know team leadership and ownership will emerge in the coming months as we work toward next season.

Go Blue!
- John

Inside Michigan: Beilein Weekly

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We are continuing to enjoy the Madness this week as we prepare for the NCAA Tournament. After returning from Indianapolis on Sunday, our team watched the selection show together and we were thrilled to be selected as the fourth seed in the Midwest Region.

In preparing to play the very talented Ohio University, we will benefit from the experiences of a tough conference season and a challenging non-conference slate of games.

During this time of year more than ever, college basketball is about exploiting matchups and making adjustments. The Big Ten Tournament this past weekend certainly proved this point as well as provided us with some teachable moments as we game plan for Ohio University.

Minnesota played with incredible quickness in our first game that took us some time to adjust. I was very proud of how our guys fought back and maintained their poise, even when the momentum and energy of the game wasn't going our way. The team kept their focus and managed to knock down some much-needed shots to put the game into overtime.

In the semifinals, Ohio played tremendous basketball and dug us into a hole early. When you're playing a team with as much talent as they have, it's difficult to come back. However, the loss gave our guys a taste of the disappointment of a run cut short, and we will use it as motivation as we look to achieve our NCAA Tournament goals starting this Friday in Nashville.

Go Blue!
- John

Inside Michigan: Beilein Weekly

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This week started with a great finish in our regular season with a victory over Penn State and winning a share Big Ten regular-season title! We are thrilled about the regular-season championship. It is a wonderful accomplishment and a true testament to the hard work and dedication of our players.

As great as it is to a share the Big Ten regular-season title, our season is not over. Our next challenge is the Big Ten Conference Tournament in Indianapolis this weekend.

We gave our guys some time away from the gym in order to recharge for this next stretch of our season. Our focus has shifted from the regular season to the postseason.

We are currently preparing for a game against either Minnesota or Northwestern. Both teams pose unique challenges for us; we will have our hands full with either team.

Go Blue!
-John

Inside Michigan: Beilein Weekly

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March is here and the stakes are high in the college basketball world. We are thrilled to be part of the "Madness" and are working hard to advance our program one day at a time.

Last Saturday, we took on a tough Purdue team that came into Crisler and played well. I thought we did a good job of countering their runs until the closing minutes of the second half. Credit Purdue for playing hard and making more plays than we did down the stretch.

Coach Painter's team executed their game plan at a high level, and Robbie Hummel looked like the All-Big Ten player that he has been for his entire career.

Senior Night is always special, and we couldn't have been happier to honor Zack Novak, Stu Douglass, Corey Person, Ben Cronin and Josh Mack before the game. The game did not end with the result that we wanted, but we are appreciative that there is more meaningful basketball ahead of us.

Our team bounced back vs. the Fighting Illini in Champaign last night. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke gave us great lifts when we needed points, and the team defensive effort was outstanding.

I spoke to the team yesterday about having great faith in their ability and in our group as a unit. Without question, our staff saw a confident team take the floor in Champaign and we were pleased to pull out a victory.

Penn State is our next opponent as we close out the Big Ten regular season. While on Spring Break this week, our schedule has afforded us the opportunity to work with guys individually as well as with the team as a whole.

As we prepare for Penn State, we will continue to maximize each day in order to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

Go Blue!
-John

Inside Michigan: Beilein Weekly

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What a tremendous weekend it was in Ann Arbor! The game, the crowd, and the atmosphere surrounding College GameDay made last Saturday a memorable day for our program.

I knew from the minute I arrived at Crisler and saw the number of fans already lined up at 6:45 a.m. that the day was going to be special. The excitement and enthusiasm carried throughout the entire day and made the game against Ohio one of the loudest and most passionate I have ever experienced at Crisler.

Our players felt and played with that same passion to not only beat their rival, but to take another step towards our goal of a Big Ten championship. We had not one but a number of guys make tough shots when we needed them, and as a team we held strong to our defense to stay in the lead for all 40 minutes of the game.

We are thrilled to have beaten such a talented basketball team, but we must keep the win in perspective. Tomorrow we play at Northwestern in the first of three remaining road games on the schedule. We will need to play each of our games leading up to the Big Ten Tournament with the same level of energy and enthusiasm that we had this past weekend.

Go Blue!
- John

Inside Michigan: Beilein Weekly

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Another week of difficult Big Ten match-ups is behind us. Nebraska and Illinois were each challenging opponents in different ways. It was great to come away with wins against both teams.

Without any experience playing against Nebraska before, we had to start from scratch in our preparations. Yet, I thought our guys did a tremendous job, especially considering we were on the road. Our defense was really strong throughout the game and played a big role in limiting baskets for Nebraska.

It was also great to see Zack score his 1,000th career point. Not very many young men are able to accomplish that in their collegiate careers, but he has certainly worked hard enough over the past four years to attain it.

In both games I was pleased with the contributions from our bench players. Matt Vogrich got things going at Nebraska with three big three-pointers in a row. He, along with some of our other guys, had been in a bit of a slump, but his confidence seemed to spread and carry over into our game against Illinois on Sunday.

Tim and Evan both found a rhythm in the game and really stepped up to help us get the win. Illinois has some very quick and talented players, but I loved how we had a lot of guys contribute and really played together as a team.

We've got five days ahead of us before we get back on the court. Our guys will use these next couple days to get refreshed and then we'll put all our focus into preparing for Ohio on Saturday.

Go Blue!
- John

Inside Michigan: Beilein Weekly

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Indiana and Michigan State proved to be challenging opponents this past week. We were pleased that we protected our home court and earned a victory versus Indiana. We did not play our best game versus the Spartans in East Lansing and we must give credit to the Michigan State team and coaching staff for their great effort.

It is always nice when you get off to a great shooting start. Versus Indiana, we put together a tremendous start and I believe it set the tone for us the rest of the way.

Indiana made runs to get back into the game but our guys responded well to each run. To grab another Big Ten Conference win in front of our home crowd was great for our team.

Michigan State played with a ton of energy and their execution on Sunday matched their intensity. I felt our effort was there on both ends of the court but our execution was not.

In order to win on the road, especially versus a rival, you must play well. We did not execute the details of the game to the level that we needed to in East Lansing.

We will learn from the Indiana victory and we will learn from the Michigan State loss. We are at a point in conference play where every game has Big Ten championship and postseason implications.

We will continue to take things one day at a time. That is the only way we know how to coach our team.

Our next game is versus Nebraska on Wednesday. In order to get a victory in Lincoln, we must have tremendous focus, energy and execution.

Go Blue!
-John

Inside Michigan: Beilein Weekly

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Life in the Big Ten Conference is a ton of fun and it is also extremely taxing. Mental, physical and emotional toughness is tested in each training session preparing for games as well as in moments of competition. We constantly speak to our team about embracing the process of becoming a good team.

This past week, we took on a good Purdue team in West Lafayette and a strong Ohio State team in Columbus. The conference schedule is relentless and in order to be a good team, you are going to face some of the best teams in the country on the road.

Last Tuesday, Purdue made us work on both ends of the floor. Coach Painter always has a team that competes hard and plays tough. This Purdue team is no exception and we were pleased to come out of there with a victory.

I loved the way our seniors, Zack and Stu, carried themselves throughout the game. I believe their assured play rubbed off on our team and carried us to the eventual win.

Last Sunday in Columbus, we played an Ohio State team that was incredibly active on the boards and very good on the defensive end. They are a talented team and in order to beat them, we must play well and at the same time limit their easy baskets. I thought the difference in the game was their ability to convert second chance points and convert off our turnovers.

Indiana is our next conference opponent on Wednesday. We can't wait to put on the Michigan jerseys again in front of our home crowd in Crisler Center. We have to play well in order to beat Indiana. They are coming off a game where they scored over 100 points so we expect a confident and well prepared team to take the Crisler floor.

Look for a piece from me after the Indiana game later on this week.

Go Blue!
-John