Dec. 9, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After a week off from competition for the University of Michigan men's basketball team, head coach John Beilein and select players addressed the media on Friday (Dec. 9) to recap the Wolverines' win over Iowa State and preview their upcoming matchup with Oakland.
The Maize and Blue defeated Iowa State, 76-66, last Saturday (Dec. 3) at Crisler Arena and will face Oakland this Saturday (Dec. 10) at the Palace of Auburn Hills. For tickets to the matchup, go to palacenet.com.
Senior guard Zack Novak (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) and junior/sophomore forward Jordan Morgan (Detroit, Mich./University of Detroit Jesuit), along with sophomore guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (Miami, Fla./Palmetto Senior), combined for 43 of Michigan's 76 points in the win over Iowa State and joined Coach Beilein at the media roundtable.
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement ... "We had a good week where we were able to take the Iowa State game, and learn a lot from it. It was probably our only week all year where we had a few days to get Michigan better on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, take the day off Wednesday, and focus on Oakland the last two days. Once again, the names change, but the style of Oakland stays the same. They're scoring 80 points a game and 90 in their league, so it's very difficult to stop them from scoring the basketball. Transition defense and individual matchups are going to be important. (Oakland guard) Reggie Hamilton is a highly skilled, high-level player. Their redshirt freshman Corey Petros has grown to be 6' 10" and as he evolves he's going to play at a very high level, and he's a challenge. The Palace is a so-called 'neutral site', but it's certainly away from home for us. But it's another challenge that we we're going to have to be able to do, to be a good team and win on the road."
On Oakland guard Reggie Hamilton ... "Last year we tried to shut down Keith Benson, and he had 11 points. But when they were down 20, and they made a great effort to cut it down to a 10-point deficit, I think Hamilton had all 10 of those points. He's explosive, he can just score very quickly and he's been doing that all year long. I wouldn't doubt if he'll be their leading scorer again, and he will be most times this season."
On the consistency of Tim Hardaway Jr. ... "I think foul trouble is still the thing that he's sorting through because he's trying to develop his defense to become a real defensive stopper. Sometimes you take on that challenge and it can get you on the bench if you aren't experienced about how you do it. So the big thing for Tim right now is staying on the court. I'd love to see him get a few more minutes, maybe four a half, to go from 32 to 35 minutes in the game. But it depends on how he's playing and how we need him."
On the low three-point percentages in the early season ... "We've done a lot of full court shooting this week. In our transition offense we've had a high number of open threes that we haven't made. So we're really working at putting them in full speed and getting threes out of the transition game as opposed to getting them out of our sets. That's been a big focus for us all week and will be again today. But I look at their stats from last year at this time and things were the exact opposite: Zack (Novak) couldn't make a shot and Stu was on fire, and now they're at the exact opposite of where they were. And yet they're only three or four more made shots away from having a nice percentage. It's just like baseball: the batting averages are .400 or .500 early or they could be .100 early, and they can change so quickly."
On Zack Novak's development of his pump fake and mid-range jumper... "That's something he's worked really hard on and that's something the coaches believed would be an important part of his next step. He's an excellent foul shooter, so he gets to the foul line by driving. And he's such a good shooter, that with that pump fake, people are going to want him to bounce it. That will be the scouting report -- make him bounce the ball. Well, if you can bounce it and pull up in one move, that's a pretty good play."
U-M Senior Guard Zack Novak
On having a week off in between games ... "We got some time to get our bodies back after a pretty long stretch. Any time you get an extra team to prepare for a team it's a benefit."
On playing at the Palace of Auburn Hills and adjusting to a new arena ... "I think it will be cool playing there. I guess really only Stu (Douglass) and I have gotten to play there so far. I'm sure the guys that are from the Detroit area and from Michigan will really enjoy that experience. It's cool anytime you get to play in an NBA arena. With us being all over the place in the summer and not getting to work out in Crisler, we're used to playing on the road."
On what the team has focused on in practice to get ready for Oakland ... "I think the biggest thing is just guarding our yard. They really want you to get off in help so they can find their shooters. Their guards want to get in and get fouled and get to the line. If we can just play tough defense without fouling, it will really help us out."
U-M Junior/sophomore Forward Jordan Morgan
On being from Detroit and playing at the Palace of Auburn Hills ... "I definitely can remember going to see some games there when I was younger, but as much of a factor as it can be, you try to eliminate that. At the end of the day we have to go out and play and win, so we try to take that out of the equation and just focus on us getting the job done."
On his performance against Iowa State ... "I think really at the end of the day, I was just doing my job. It was something we needed as a team at the moment in the game. There were only shot, open looks that I just so happen to get and I just did my job to finish."
On how the amount of time in between games plays a factor ... "Obviously the four games in nine days with Maui and Virginia was a little bit hectic, but at the same time, with a week off you kind of just get anxious to play. These situations are both kind of something we need. We got a lot of work done this week with the week off -- just getting better individually and working on a lot of skills before we finally turned our focus to Oakland. There kind of needs to be a balance of not so long in between games, but not so short either."
On the team's defensive game plan to shut down Oakland's Reggie Hamilton and Corey Petros ... "It all comes down to our defensive principles. We like to consider ourselves a defense minded team, so we're just going to try to play team defense and keep scoring to a high level like we go into every game trying to do."
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 76