Feb. 20, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein and select players addressed the media on Monday (Feb. 20) to preview the Big Ten matchup at Northwestern (Tuesday, Feb. 21).
Michigan's regular-season slate has four games remaining and the Wolverines are just a half-game out of first place in the Big Ten at 10-4. One of Michigan's conference wins came on Jan. 11 against the Wildcats at Crisler Center. The Wolverines trailed 44-36 with 13 minutes to play but used a 10-0 run to eventually force overtime. Freshman guard Trey Burke (Columbus, Ohio/Northland HS) went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in the extra period to secure the 66-64 overtime victory and finish with 19 points. Sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (Miami, Fla./Palmetto Senior) matched Burke's productivity with 19 points of his own.
Coach Beilein and the Wolverines have turned their attention to Northwestern. Wildcats forward John Shurna (20.2 ppg) and guard Drew Crawford (16.6 ppg) rank first and fourth in scoring in the Big Ten, respectively. The Wildcats will enter the game 16-10 overall and 6-7 in the Big Ten.
Both Michigan and Northwestern will have a short turnaround to prepare for Tuesday's matchup as each team played on Saturday (Feb.18) -- both recording wins. Michigan defeated Ohio State, 56-51, while Northwestern beat Minnesota, 64-53, at home. NU's Dave Sobelewski led all scorers in the win over Minnesota with 22 points, while Shurna added 18.
In Michigan's win over Ohio State on ESPN, the Wolverines held the upper hand the entire game. Junior/sophomore Jordan Morgan (Detroit, Mich./University of Detroit Jesuit) recorded his first career double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds), while Burke had a team-high 17 points.
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement ... "It certainly was a very-emotional, high-spirited day on Saturday, and now we get back on the road for three out of four. I don't know if there's a more challenging place to win at than Northwestern. They are really good. They are so unique in every way they play that there is a lot of prep in two days to get ready for. I think we're passed the Ohio game and now we move onto Northwestern and all the challenges it brings us. It is also a great opportunity for us to get a road win and you have to win on the road if you're going to win a Big Ten championship."
On the quick turnaround before playing Northwestern ... "We just go to work. Our guys were here yesterday for about three hours overall between film, weights and therapy. I think everybody would always like to have three days between every game to get a rest day, but they played as well, and they had a really good win over Minnesota on Saturday, so they had the same thing."
On the possibility of an emotional letdown after Saturday's win ... "I think our kids are pretty focused about taking each day as it comes. That was good, they worked for it, they deserved it -- they deserved to win a game like that because they've worked so hard. Now we just have to move on. When you go on the road to play it's always difficult, at Northwestern especially. I think they last two times we've gone there, at halftime it was usually over. So, we have to play better than we have."
On Bill Carmody's innovative style of coaching ... "The innovation that he puts into their offense -- it's never a 1-3-1, it's always a matchup zone. They played a completely different type of man-to-man here than they've ever played us. Now they're playing differently man-to-man. There are just so many things, you better be prepared and hope the ball bounces your way. He specializes in people not having enough time to prepare for all they do."
On what Jordan Morgan needs to carry over from the Ohio State game ... "He should play with confidence. He was playing against a guy like Jared Sullinger, and whenever we went with one-on-one coverage with him, he was outstanding. If you can guard somebody of the likes of Sullinger, you can play against a lot of people."
On the team putting itself in position at the top of the Big Ten ... "With Stu (Douglass) and Zack (Novak) in particular, who have battled like crazy -- they've set a culture of hard work and it works if you just stay with it. They've been a great example for some of our younger players. The fact that we're in it and they have a great chance of going to three out of four NCAA Tournaments while they're here, that says a lot about what a lot of hard work can do."
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423