Feb. 11, 2013
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team held a media roundtable on Monday (Feb. 11) prior to traveling to East Lansing, Mich., to face in-state rival Michigan State on Tuesday (Feb. 12) at 9 p.m. as part of ESPN's Super Tuesday lineup.
Tuesday's game will mark the first time ever that the two programs will face each other when both are ranked in the top 10 nationally.
The Wolverines will need all hands on deck to find success in East Lansing and every player on the roster has to be ready to contribute at any minute, regardless if they play two minutes or 40 minutes. One Wolverine that has been earned more playing time on the court as the season has progressed is forward Max Bielfeldt. As he continues to develop and adapt to the college game, Bielfeldt's production has also continued to increase. He recorded two points, four rebounds and one assist while committing zero turnovers in a career-best 18 minutes at Wisconsin (Feb. 9).
As a player who redshirted during his freshman campaign, and missed four games this season due to an ankle injury, his minutes have been limited and inconsistent throughout his career in the Maize and Blue. Bielfeldt continues to embrace his role for the Wolverines as a physical forward with the ability to score, rebound and defend -- in whatever capacity is needed of him.
U-M Sophomore/Freshman Forward Max Bielfeldt
On getting more minutes in the last few games ... "My word on our fuse box in the locker room has always been 'physical,' and everyone states that the Big Ten is the most physical conference in basketball. Sometimes the freshman inexperience and lack of physicality has showed in some possessions, and I think Coach has noticed that and has given me a chance to get in there and prove myself a little more."
On his biggest area of improvement this season ... "I think I'm really starting to learn the game better -- I'm seeing things that I never would have seen last year, making a lot more right decisions and not turning the ball over like I did sometimes in practice last year, so I think that's one of the biggest things that has helped me."
On his mentality to be ready to play when his number is called ... "I think I know that I have a lot of time in front of me. I don't feel pressured to get out there -- I know I have time to work and get better. As long as I bring it every day, it's going to eventually add up."
On getting into a rhythm when playing inconsistent minutes ... "I haven't really done anything like that since my freshman year of high school. The whole process of getting back and playing games, since I redshirted last year, and I hadn't played for basically two years, has been a challenge. I'm really starting to get some minutes and learning how to adapt to those minutes. It's been difficult, but my mentality towards it has really helped me -- I just go out there thinking positively about what I have to do."
On the team helping him adjust to his role on the team ... "The upperclassmen have all said bits and pieces to me that have been helpful. Jordan Morgan is always there to help me when I'm a little late or a little early on a read. Everyone kind of points things out to me that are going to make me better."
On the keys to being successful at Michigan State ... "I think we really just need to focus on fundamentals -- focus on the things that we learned at the beginning of the season with defense being a big one, executing our offense with hard cuts and just being tough. That's what it's going to take to play at this level and be successful."
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423