Jan. 16, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- With the much-anticipated matchup between the Wolverines and in-state rival Spartans just a day away, University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein and select players addressed the media on Monday (Jan. 16).
Coach Beilein and the players recapped the Wolverines' tough loss at Iowa on Saturday (Jan. 14) and previewed the Michigan State tilt. The Wolverines topped the Spartans in both meetings last season and are preparing to extend the streak on Tuesday (Jan. 17) in front of a sold out crowd at Crisler Center.
Michigan, which is currently 14-4 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten, suffered its second Big Ten loss on Saturday at Iowa, despite double-digit efforts from freshman Trey Burke (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) (19) and senior Zack Novak (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) (14). Following each of its previous three losses this season, Michigan has responded with a win.
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement ... "Well we had a lot of things to learn from the Iowa game. I thought we did a great job yesterday of everyone being focused and putting it behind us. Give Iowa a lot of credit; they played very well and we need to play better than that. So now we've got an incredible test with Michigan State, who, despite Saturday's loss, is playing great basketball all the way through. They've gone on the road and won, which is a true test. They've done that before, so it's going to be a good game."
On losses serving as teaching moments ... "It's essential to success. You have to have adversity to grow; it's the best way that people get better. You don't want to go through that, but it's essential. That's why you see so few teams go undefeated. It's not about how good they are; it's that you don't grow as much in victory as you do in defeat. There's a lot of growth to be had with our guys since we're still very young. But it's very important, and we embrace it. We don't want to lose, but we embrace it."
On the rivalry with Michigan State ... "For everybody, even way beyond me and (Michigan State Head Coach) Tom Izzo, this has been a great series for years and years and years when these two schools compete so hard against each other. I'm sure Michigan State is extremely excited about their opportunity and we are as well."
On Michigan State forward Draymond Green ... "What he's doing right now, which he didn't before, is that he is a tremendous passer. He's as good a passing big man as there is anywhere in the country. He's just as good a rebounder, especially at his size. He's not tall, but his arms are very long, so he really rebounds the ball extremely well. But he's also shooting the ball extremely well from deep, so that's the challenge right now. He provides space on that floor that opens the floor up for (Michigan State guard Keith) Appling so much, or if you close the floor he's open."
On Jon Horford's injured foot ... "He's jump shooting now, he's doing a couple of things. He's not going to play tomorrow. He stayed home this weekend so he could just do therapy, and then Thursday and Friday we're going to go hard with him and see how he looks. We're going to take a shot at full go Thursday and Friday if he feels okay. And then we'll have to make a decision. One more game, one more minute and he burns his redshirt."
On not paying attention to the national polls ... "I don't really do it. I don't know what we're ranked. I see us sometimes in the press guides. I know you probably hear it from the football guys too, but you're in a vacuum. You try to get a pulse for some things and you do your radio shows and I stay in touch with you guys, but we don't really look at them. But for the players, if they're reading it, it's impossible to avoid it, but it's not like we're looking for it."
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423