Jan. 10, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- With the Wolverines sitting at 3-1 in the Big Ten, University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein and select players addressed the media on Tuesday (Jan. 10) to recap the Wolverines' key win over No. 18 Wisconsin on Sunday (Jan. 5) and preview the upcoming matchup against Northwestern on Wednesday (Jan. 11) inside Crisler Center.
Michigan was handed its first loss in the Big Ten at Indiana on Jan. 5, as the Wolverines' second-half comeback effort was cut short, 73-71. The Maize and Blue bounced back to upend Wisconsin at home, 59-41, on Jan. 8. behind sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr.'s (Miami, Fla./Palmetto Senior) double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds).
In conjunction with the Wisconsin tilt, the Michigan men's basketball program welcomed back six decades of alumni to share in the weekend's festivities. Alumni and supporters of the program were honored at halftime of the matchup for their contributions to Michigan basketball.
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement ... "It's a short prep again; it seems like it has always been like that when we play Northwestern -- a short prep with a team that you'd like a lot of time to prepare for. This has unique challenges as all games do; we do not see this action, except once or twice a year, within the Princeton family. I think (Northwestern head coach) Bill Carmody is probably as innovative as anyone that ever runs this. It's forever changing with the game, and we really have a challenge ahead of us. They have in particular two players, who I think upon graduation will be in NBA camps, or playing at a very high level if not in the NBA, in (John) Shurna and (Drew) Crawford. They have the most experienced big man in the Big Ten with big Luka (Mirkovic) and a bunch of parts around them that are very athletic and long. They have a point guard with 15 or 16 turnovers playing huge minutes. I don't know what Billy thinks of this team, they are off to a tough start, but they have been playing very good opponents. They have a win over Penn State like us, but tough losses at Ohio State and versus Illinois at home. We've got our work cut out for us. They've had a week's rest, we've had two days to rest, but that's the Big Ten and we will be ready to roll after today's practice."
On what to expect from Northwestern's defense ... "They will mix up all kinds of things. They've played a lot of man this year, they've played 1-3-1, and they've played their classic 2-3 matchup. One year they played us here and beat us with a really good 1-3-1 zone. Then we went to their place and didn't play one possession of 1-3-1 after they had beaten us here with it. They're ever-changing like I said. They're very innovative in what they're doing and we have to just prepare for a lot of things."
On the improved offensive rebounding of the team ... "I think we're doing a better job of offensive rebounding here now then we've ever done. It has to do with Jordan Morgan being a year older, Evan (Smotrycz) is giving us some great stuff, Zack (Novak) has always gotten the ones that any 6-foot-3-inch power forward can get, and now Tim (Hardaway Jr.) has to continue to do that and get at least two a game. That would be huge for us."
On Jon Horford's status ... "There is improvement in his foot. This week he's going to be able to shoot on his own. They're going to do a lot of water therapy with him to get him ready. So this is the week he'll be allowed to jump and do some things just a little bit. Next week, we'll see how he feels, so we'll try to get him into practice by next week after one more week and see how he does and how he feels. Then we have a pretty big decision to make."
On if he worries about a letdown following Sunday's win ... "You would worry if this was a team that did not have Zack Novak and Stu Douglass in that locker room. We have lost three of the last four to Northwestern -- two of the times at their place badly. So it's not like we've been beating them every year, and they beat us here two years ago. I think our kids will come in to this one ready to play. I'm not worried about that."
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423