Jan. 23, 2012
What's up everyone?
I just got back from practice after a tough loss yesterday. A lot of people would think the atmosphere today would be somber, but it couldn't have been any different. We were all upbeat and just excited to get back on the court and get better.
No question we expect to win every game and there are no moral victories when you are trying to win a championship, but the resolve and toughness we showed yesterday is the reason I think this group can really accomplish some special stuff this year.
Winning on the road is really hard, if you didn't already know that from watching college basketball this year. We had about 19,000 fans screaming at us as soon as we got off the bus, and it was Arkansas' first sellout in almost three years. Between that and Arkansas getting a chance to play Michigan on national television, we knew we were going to get their best show. We would not want it any other way.
Coach Beilein tells us all the time when you go on the road, you better expect to get a team's A game. The reason he says this is because of the name across our jerseys. Everyone gets up to play when they play against Michigan; that's the reason every road game we play is sold out.
Now, onto the game.
Arkansas came out on fire, making their first 11 shots and it took us a while to get used to their speed. I have to say Arkansas is really, really quick. But after the first eight minutes of the game, we really settled in and dominated the game.
The problem was we dug ourselves a huge hole and just couldn't get over the top. I think our performance was really an indicator of the moxie of our team and just how tough we have become. A lot of teams would have folded once they found themselves down 20 on the road, but not this team.
That's the biggest difference in my time at Michigan. We have become a team that hits the ground first, takes charges and does all the ugly stuff that winners do. We have become both mentally and physically tough!
Our schedule doesn't get any easier as today we leave to take on Purdue on Tuesday (Jan. 24). They are another very talented team who really gets after you on defense just like Arkansas. We will be ready to go and try to remain in first place in the Big Ten. Make sure you all tune in Tuesday night on ESPN!
Before I go, I want to just say I appreciate all the comments I get on how much fun our team is to watch. We know we have great fans and we try to represent Michigan the way it should be. That means playing as hard as anyone and having a ton of energy and enthusiasm for the game every time out.
I have also had a ton of questions about Stu Douglass' defense. Stu is a big time defender and, yes, as many of you have pointed out, he never gets the credit he deserves. Next time we play, check out how hard he works on defense every possession. One of the best in the country!
Keep writing in to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will keep answering your guys questions and sharing your comments.