Feb. 17, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- As the crew of ESPN College GameDay was preparing for tomorrow's festivities and game against Ohio State, University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein and select players addressed the media on Friday (Feb. 17).
Despite all the hype surrounding ESPN College Basketball GameDay's first trip to Ann Arbor, Coach Beilein and his team are focused on one thing -- remaining unbeaten at Crisler Center when they host No. 6 Ohio State tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 18) at 9 p.m.
The Wolverines are off to their best overall start since 1993-94 with a 19-7 record, including a 14-0 mark at Crisler this season. Michigan is also 3-0 at home against ranked opponents this season with wins over No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 9 Michigan State and No. 20 Indiana. In their last two outings, the Maize and Blue have come away with wins -- at Nebraska, 62-46, and against Illinois, 70-61.
In the first meetings between the two teams earlier this season in Columbus, Ohio, the Buckeyes earned the win, 64-49. Michigan was led by 15 points from sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (Miami, Fla./Palmetto Senior) and 13 points from freshman guard Trey Burke (Columbus, Ohio/Northland).
Hosted by Rece Davis and analysts Digger Phelps, Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis, ESPN's College GameDay will broadcast from Crisler Center on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. Coverage will include live look-ins to be broadcast during the 10 a.m. edition of ESPN's SportsCenter. Additionally, College GameDay will go live at 10 a.m. on ESPNU and move to ESPN at 11 a.m., before the day's games begin.
Coach Beilein and the team will make appearances throughout the two-hour morning show. Seniors Zack Novak (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) and Stu Douglass (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) will be featured in the "Know Your Teammate" segment. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson will also make a special appearance during the 11 o'clock hour on ESPN.
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement ... "It's been a great week for us to retool, to get ourselves freshened up, lift a lot of weights, and get ready for the next round of five games. Beginning with this game tomorrow, every game is more important as you get to this time of the season. They certainly have tremendous challenges that we have to overcome. They're a really good basketball team, but we've worked hard and we feel good about the direction we've gone this week to get ready."
On limiting the distractions surrounding the game ... "Today was the only day, but we've been okay. It should give everybody a lot of energy and enthusiasm, but I'm pretty certain that it should not distract us and our focus."
On the team's plan for Saturday ... "We do go to GameDay. Then we'll treat it like a night game on the road, since we've had more night games there. We all are at GameDay -- Stu (Douglass) and Zack (Novak) make an appearance, I do as well, but there's a time that the team walks in. We're going to nestle that around our first walkthrough and our first video. Then the second one would be at five o'clock, which will be our last clean-up of any details, called 'Fast Fact.'"
On what he saw from film of the last game versus Ohio State ... "Their transition offense -- they scored a lot of points out of transition offense -- and transition rebounding. That was the big difference in that game. Half-court it was fairly evenly matched. It was the transition game that they really hurt us on."
On the rivalry with the Buckeyes in basketball ... "Rivalries in basketball are certainly big, but they're not like they are in football where you add to the rivalry that every game determines who the champion is going to be. Michigan State and Ohio State, those are rivalry games that really mean the championship. For us, we played Ohio three times two years ago, three times last year, any one game is not huge. They're all important, but any one game doesn't determine as much as it does in football, where it takes a year to get back at them. For us, we may be playing Ohio again in three weeks."
On the importance of this game in the race for a Big Ten championship ... "It's important -- I think there are still five games left for each team to play, and there's a lot basketball to be played before you say this is a must-win. But when we play Michigan State, Wisconsin or Ohio, any of those teams are in that top tier. It certainly is advantageous to get a win, but I don't know about must. For this time of the year, it's important. But you'll probably never get me to say the words 'must win' ever, unless it was the NCAA Tournament where you must win this game or we don't get to play tomorrow."
On the national exposure that comes with hosting ESPN's College GameDay ... "It's really good for us to be picked, since they only do eight a year. For us to be one of those eight, I think that was pretty forward-thinking for them to go in when they picked it for us to have GameDay, not knowing after losing Darius Morris that Trey Burke would put us in this situation. Who knows where a season is going to go, but this is an important weekend for both teams. To have it here and have it be, as I've said to my team, a daylong commercial for the University of Michigan, what better timing than with this new facility. Digger (Phelps), Jay (Bilas), Hubert (Davis), and Rece (Davis) are all here seeing what we have. They've never seen it, so it's pretty good."
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423