Dec. 16, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan men's basketball head coach John Beilein addressed the media on Friday (Dec. 16) to recap the Wolverines' win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff and preview their upcoming matchup with Alabama A&M (Saturday, Dec. 17).
Coach Beilein also touched on a challenging situation that all college basketball teams go through during this time each year -- balancing their basketball schedule in the midst of finals week. Classes wrapped up for U-M students on Tuesday (Dec. 13) and then Wednesday was a university-wide study day to prepare for final exams, which began on Thursday (Dec. 15) and run through Dec. 22.
Michigan is currently 8-2, including a perfect 5-0 mark at Crisler Arena. The Maize and Blue most recently defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday (Dec. 13), 63-50, compliments of a 19-0 first-half run. On Friday afternoon (Dec. 16), the Wolverines held one last practice to prepare the program's first-ever meeting with Alabama A&M. The matchup with the Bulldogs will be the second in a five-game homestand for U-M.
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
Opening statement ... "With a 12 p.m. game tomorrow and some exams this afternoon, we've already had our workout and we're once again preparing two things -- we had a day off Wednesday, Thursday was a great day just to get better as a team, today was a lot about getting ready for Alabama A&M. I think we'll see similar quickness that we saw with Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Lazabian Jackson for Arkansas-Pine Bluff did not come in as a shooter and he certainly proved he was a shooter. They (Alabama A&M) have not shot the ball well yet and we hope that continues because of our defense."
On Evan Smotrycz's play in the last two games ... "Sometimes less is so much more for him by just letting the game come to him, that we he doesn't press. I always feel the game is at both ends. Mistakes defensively lead to offensive mistakes. Our kids know when they make a mistake; they don't have to look at me. When his offense is better, his defense is better and he'll play smarter. He's one of my guys that I call 'grenade guys' -- it's like the ball is a grenade and they have to do something with it or it's going to blow up and that's not true. It's okay, if there's not something there, keep it moving. He's handling that grenade much better now."
On the number of turnovers versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff ... "I think there are two things -- Arkansas-Pine Bluff was so quick, not certainly a tremendously talented team, but their talent was their quickness and we just don't see that in practice every day. We got very sloppy with the big lead. We've got to shear that up. We've been working on it, but a lot of that is just slowing down and seeing things better when you go a little slower."
On Carlton Brundidge's progression ... "He's getting there. It's exam week right now for everybody and that's difficult. Carlton couldn't even practice today because we could not practice with everybody. He's making good progress, but the biggest issue with Carlton right now is that he's got two seniors, combo guards, playing in front of him who really help facilitate our team and get people to the right spots."
On the improvements he's seen in practice this season ... "It was really good -- the other day in the Player Development Center we actually had two teams playing against each other and one team dummying at the other end so that when it was their turn to come, they were running specific offenses and defenses, so that's been really good. The depth has to get better though. These guys have got to keep improving. Sometimes you get frustrated by the standstills that they go through -- it's probably confidence, it's probably lack of playing time, but we've got to keep going. Really those six, seven, eight, nine, 10 guys, we need consistency from them. In order to do that, they need playing time. It's a difficult blend."
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423