March 13, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After U-M secured the fourth seed in the Midwest Region of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein and select players addressed the media on Tuesday (March 13). The Wolverines will kick off the Big Dance against 13th-seeded Ohio University on Friday (March 16) at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
Following the team's return from the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind., on Sunday (March 11), the Wolverines all gathered in the film room of the William Davidson Player Development Center to await the announcement of their seed, location and first opponent [ NCAA Reaction ]. After celebrating the announcement of their highest seed since 1998 (No. 3), the Wolverines knew it was time to get to work preparing for their first opponent.
Tipoff for the Michigan/Ohio matchup is slated for 6:20 p.m. CDT on TNT. Ohio is coming off a win in the 2012 MAC Tournament Championship, which gave the Bobcats an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan will have two more days of practices and film sessions to prepare for the Bobcats before departing for Nashville on Wednesday evening (March 14). On Thursday, Coach Beilein and members of the team will participate in an NCAA press conference before its practice, which will be held from 4:25-5:05 p.m. CDT at Bridgestone Arena and is open to the public.
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement ... "It's always an interesting time as you're getting ready to play a (NCAA Tournament) opponent. You have enough time -- sometimes enough time is too much time. You probably sort things out very closely at this time about what's the best way and there's more thought involved. Sometimes that is not easy -- sometimes we work better on short turnarounds. So we're trying to figure out some of the things that Ohio University does, and what's the best way. We have a lot of respect for them -- to win the number of games they did this year, to go to Marshall and win, to play Louisville a very tight game where I think they led most of the game. They're obviously a very talented team with a great coach and they're doing the right things. As you hear me say time and again, you have to play at this time of the year and that's why March Madness is such a special time."
On establishing Jordan Morgan's and Evan Smotrycz's presence early in games ... "I think it's important we get solid performances out of our big guys every day, and it's not as easy as you would think. But at the same time they have been huge in many of our big wins -- both of them have been. We just have to continue to feed them a lot of sunshine, tell them how they can help us, and both of them work their tails off in practice. There is never a doubt when they come to practice every day, they are ready to practice. So thank goodness that's not an issue, but the consistency is something that we are working at daily."
On Trey Burke getting past his performance versus Ohio State in Indianapolis ... "He had this incredible freshman year, but he is not the type of young man that would not have a performance that is more expected of a freshman. He had a few very expected freshman games, where you're playing against good players and you're not going to have the best day every day, especially when you compare it to the night before (against Minnesota), where he was the best point guard in the country that night. He's such a good player, and he really understands the game and really understands the ebbs and flows of his performances."
On whether or not they feel increased pressure to win in the tournament versus last year ... "I don't think we thought we were playing with 'house money' last year, and I don't think we feel any pressure now. We just do the same thing no matter whether we're playing Concordia, when they came in last year, or we're playing Michigan State. We have the same approach every day. So we can't control all those things, and it really doesn't get to us. We're just trying to be very direct in our approach like we always are, and in yesterday's practice we were certainly very focused in what we wanted to do. It was shorter -- only an hour and fifteen minutes -- but it was on point. Our kids are very excited to be where they are, and feel challenged by it as well."
On Ohio's offensive style ... "I think with the talent they have in D.J. Cooper, it is very much like (Penn State guard) Tim Frazier type of talent at the point guard, I do know that. They have shooters who are very good. We haven't talked about anyone individually who they compare to, but it's very typical to teams that have gone more to ball screens and variations of the ball screens, although they do run several really good sets. But defending the ball screen for anyone who plays them, you better be able to try and do it the best you can."
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423
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