Jan. 20, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After the Wolverines recorded a key win over Michigan State on Tuesday (Jan. 17) to post their best start since the 2006-07 season at 15-4, University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein and select players addressed the media on Friday (Jan. 20).
Michigan, which is currently 15-4 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten, upset No. 9 Michigan State on Tuesday at Crisler Center in front of a sold-out crowd. Freshman Trey Burke (Columbus, Ohio/Northland) led the Wolverines with his third 20-point performance of the season. Burke found senior Stu Douglass (Carmel Ind./Carmel) for the winning layup with 35 seconds remaining in the game. Michigan's defense thwarted the Spartans last-second efforts to secure the win.
The Wolverines will take a break from their Big Ten schedule to play at Arkansas on Saturday (Jan. 21) in their last non-conference game of 2011-12. Due to the team playing in the Maui Invitational early in the season and the final exam schedule, Michigan was forced to schedule the Arkansas matchup during its Big Ten bye week. The Razorbacks are currently 13-4 this season, including a 13-1 mark at home.
Burke and Douglass joined Coach Beilein at the media roundtable. MGoBlue.com (via audio clips) also caught up with seniors Zack Novak (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) and Corey Person (Kalamazoo, Mich./Central) and junior Josh Bartelstein (Highland Park, Ill./Phillips Exeter Academy [N.H.]) to talk about the win over Michigan State and the importance of Michigan's scout team to its success this season.
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement ... "We had a recovery day from our game Tuesday, so Wednesday the kids had off. We're still very busy; we went about only 90 minutes yesterday, we're going to go about 95 minutes today, get on the plane and get to Arkansas, and maybe shoot there for about 15 minutes or so. With a 2 o'clock game, it is really important that we shoot one time without getting up early in the morning. You try to get rest and then try to get ready for their tempo, which is hard to do."
On adapting to the fast pace of Arkansas ... "I don't know what they are calling it right now, but it's certainly a tempo that is faster than what we see most of the time. So, hopefully we can adapt and that we can always adapt to whatever tempo people are trying to play."
On playing a non-conference game during the Big Ten season ... "It's a question we always get. There's a couple of reasons why this has happened: We're always looking to get a quality non-conference opponent back here and balance it with the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. We were looking for an opportunity to get on national TV, but our exam schedule is a little bit different than a lot of other schools that we're trying to schedule. We can't play during our exams, and they can't play during their exams. We had to do it second semester, so this opportunity came up. It doesn't matter where it is, we have to play the game, and I felt we needed one more road contest against a very high-level team. Arkansas' date matched with our date, and it happened, and CBS helped make it happen."
On the announced partnership between the Big Ten and the Pac-12 ... "I think it's a great idea. It's a very healthy idea. Anything that we can get, where we're not in the situation we were last year, where you know your schedule, you know this game is coming. It's like the ACC/Big Ten Challenge; you're counting on this home game or this away game. Even though it got flipped on us this year, at least we know we have a quality opponent. Any time that we can do this, because of the exempted tournaments now, it's really hard to get BCS-quality non-conference home-and-home series going. So this is a way to do it."
On the state of the Big Ten this season ... "I just think this may be the most difficult year. It looks like road victories will be really hard to come by. It's because the transition period is all but over with so many programs. There have been four or five with very little transition over the last decade, and those programs have been solid as can be. Those that have transitions in my five years here have had their times of building, and now teams are getting to where they want to be. Like the Big East was last year with 10 or 11 really good teams, we only have 12 teams and probably nine or 10 of them are going to be vying for an NCAA bid all the way."
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423