U-M Players Not Overlooking Ohio
Trey Burke
GoBlueWolverine.com
Posted Mar 15, 2012


Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Zack Novak and Stu Douglass talk about getting ready for tomorrow's game versus Ohio.

QUESTION: They talk about Ohio's stiff defense. Talk about what prepared you during the season to get ready for such a defense this year.

STU DOUGLASS: We just played a team like Ohio State, great trapping team just like Ohio. On ball pressure, different stuff like that. We've seen it throughout the entire Big Ten season. We made adjustments and we approached it just like normal, really, like we have with any other Big Ten team that applies the same type pressure.

QUESTION: They're noted for taking away the three. They defended the three well. Is that something they're doing other just people are not taking as many or putting a lot of pressure on people? Did you see that on film?

ZACK NOVAK: They get in you, they climb up. They'll let you catch the ball, but afterwards it seems like they try to eat you up. They force a lot of turnovers. You know, I think it will be just a battle of we run good action. They guard the three-point well. You know, I think if we execute, we should be able to get some good looks.

QUESTION: How has this experience been any different? Is it any different from last year's tournament being here the second time?

Tim Hardaway, JR.: Any NCAA Tournament is not the same. It's our honor and privilege to be here. We take it as we do every game going into, just prepare like it's our last and try to go out there and give it all we got.

QUESTION: Trey, they're known for forcing turnovers like Zack mentioned. You guys are known for taking care of the basketball. How does that battle shape up, in your mind?

Trey Burke: Like Zack said, just execute. You know, we watched a lot of film the last couple of weeks, and we know that they're good at forcing turnovers. We're going to try to take care of the ball and run our action. We really -- like Coach Beilein said, our assistant coach, he said, take what the defense gives you. We'll look at whatever type of looks they give us and play from there.

QUESTION: Trey, you said you know DJ a little bit. Can you just talk about what you see from him and what kind of player he is, what you expect?

TREY BURKE: Great player. Similar to Tim Frazier of Penn State. Left-handed shooter. Very quick. You know, he runs their offense. He runs their team. He shoots a lot of their shots late in the shot clock, so I'm going to have my hands full tomorrow guarding him. It should be fun.

QUESTION: Guys, at the Big Ten tournament you got it down early, Minnesota and Ohio State. How much of an emphasis is put on avoiding that against Ohio?

TREY BURKE: You know, it's been a couple games this year where we started off slow and flat. You know, we've kind of made adjustments, that type of play early on in the game and tomorrow, you know, like I said, we have -- we haven't really lost two games all year. We'll bounce back and come out two times harder.

QUESTION: Guys, how have practices been since the Ohio State game? Do you sense a focus here?

STU DOUGLASS: Definitely been great. We're making progress with dealing with their pressure. Nothing too special. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just been great focus, but this time we realize with Ohio State game how pressure post-season can be. It's helped us focus leading up to this game.

QUESTION: Zack was there a balance between getting you guys off your feet a couple days after the Big Ten tournament and going into those practices?

ZACK NOVAK: Definitely. Obviously we had Sunday off, travel day. Monday we got after it pretty well. Yesterday we cut it back a little bit. And obviously today with the weird scheduling, got an hour practice in the morning and half hour one coming up. You know, it's not as strenuous as normal. So I think guys had an opportunity to get their legs back under them. You know, the Big Ten season takes a lot out of you. If you can get a couple days that are easier and get your legs back, it will help out a lot.

QUESTION: Tim, how do you guys react from a lot of people picking Ohio as a chic pick in a game like this for an upset?

TIM HARDAWAY, JR.: We're not going to bypass them, we're not going to look ahead of them. They're a very good team. If you get selected to be in this tournament, you're here for a reason. So we're just going to go out there and try to play as hard as we can and try to limit their opportunity of trying to win the game.

QUESTION: Any of the players, maybe particularly Trey, talk a little bit about just playing a MAC school, period. Seems a little bit underneath the Big Ten in the lot of ways, lot of comparisons. Some innate rivalries there. Can you maybe address that a little bit?

TREY BURKE: Like Tim said, we're not going to overlook this team. They won the MAC for a reason. We know how good they can play and how well they've been playing lately. Just watching film on them lately, we see, you know, there go-to guys and how good they can be. We're going to go out there and have fun. Coming off the tough loss from Ohio State, we always bounce back hard and, you know, I have no -- no doubt in my mind that the team will come back three times harder, come beat to our fullest tomorrow.

QUESTION: For any of you guys. Trey, you just touched on it, what is it about your team that allows you not to let, you know, one game beat you twice? You have come back and not lost more than one game in a row, I guess for lack of a better phrase.

TIM HARDAWAY, JR.: I think it's just Coach always says moving on to the next play. We do a great job of that. After a loss, we're a very good team. We really like to learn in the film room and see what mistakes we made and what we can do to prevent that, and I think we just do a great job of just listening and being a team of just going out there and just trying to play hard and execute better the next time we're out there on the floor. That's what makes us a good team: This is hard way speaking.

QUESTION: Could Zack and Stu elaborate a little bit on that, if that's all right.

STU DOUGLASS: We go to the film room and any film session would be a very sobering experience. You're playing all right and there could be double-digits mistake that you made in the entire game you don't even realize sometimes. You got to put pride aside and grow up a little bit, just take responsibility for your own actions and move on and ask yourself what are you going to do for this team instead of saying, woe is me, why is Coach picking on me. Maturity and growing up and the experience we had last year has helped us a lot.

ZACK NOVAK: I would credit a lot of that to the leadership from the coaching staff. There's been a few games this year we played really bad and the film sessions a little bit more lively and spirited, but typically whether it's win or loss, you know, Coach comes in and the first clips every time are, you know, this is what you did wrong. He calls them "instructional clips." If we want to be the team that we can be, this is what you've got to do. So I think that consistency that even when you are winning or, you know, losing, you know, we're just constantly learning and he's constantly teaching us that, you know, when we do have a loss, we're able to bounce back quicker, get back into our normal routine, because, you know, it's not like the world ended. It's the same thing that we do every time.

QUESTION: Just wondering if you guys fill out a bracket and who you have winning it?

STU DOUGLASS: No. And I hope nobody on our team does.

QUESTION: What's the reason behind that? Is that just to kind of keep everything in front of you?

STU DOUGLASS: Yeah, exactly. That's one of them. There's a million reasons why. It's just bad.

QUESTION: All four of you been well represented by your families all season long. Can each of you comment how much that has meant to you with Zack and Stu, all four years, Tim and Trey, most recently and the support you get from them?

TREY BURKE: It's meant a lot to me. I'm sure it's meant a lot to the whole team when each family comes together and supports us, and not only the family, you know, our fans and just all the fans that come out and support us, and you really don't see how much of an influence that it has and how much it helps us play out there, you know, just to have the type of support and type of fans we have is great.

STU DOUGLASS: Words can't describe how appreciative I am for my mom and dad and all my extended family come and support me at games. You know, it's not always easy to show that appreciation, especially after losses or you're tired after every game, but, you know, I hope they know that how much it means to me and how much it means to these guys and, you know, always making jokes about my mom, how intense she is. It's pretty funny. She's become kind of a staple a little bit.

ZACK NOVAK: Nancy does get after it. But, no. I think it's just -- it's cool. You know, I'm just happy that my parents are both coming down here, and obviously for Stu and I, this is the end of the road, so for them to be able to come watch us, you know, couple last times hopefully, I think it's special and it's just a credit to them. I know for me, without my parents driving me around, you know, all over the Midwest when I was a kid, I wouldn't be here. I think it's just fun for them that they get to follow this and be a part of it, and, you know, I think for every family in general. I think the players for the most part, you know, we get along with everybody else's parents. Trey's mom wrote the seniors a nice letter. It's a close knit, you know, group and, you know, it's been very fun to be a part of.

TIM HARDAWAY, JR.: Yeah. Like Zack said, Stu and Trey, it's an honor and a privilege to have my family, you know, to be on this run with me while I'm in college, and, you know, just having my pops, my mom behind me, just having someone to talk to, you know, whether I'm having ups and downs, especially when I'm struggling out there. It helps out a lot. Just through the fans walking through campus, that's a big part of why we play is for them and just to hear them, you know, just come to the games and just talk to us while we're on campus and stuff, it's an honor and we respect them just like they respect us. So, it helps us out a lot.

QUESTION: Stu and Zack, is there a comfort level now having been here, this is your third time now, and what have you learned that kind of applies that you can use in a tournament like this?

STU DOUGLASS: Some of the jitters and excitement, you're still anxious and anxious for the game to start, but the nervousness has gone down a little bit. I think it was good for us to experience it last year. I don't think Trey has to worry about that. He's experienced a lot this year, nothing really affects him in that sense. So it's a little different. We kind of know what to expect, and we know that seeding and all that kind of stuff isn't really a big deal. Anybody can beat anybody at any given night. We haven't been picked to win the first round since the last two tournament appearances. None of that really makes a difference.

ZACK NOVAK: This time around I would say the only difference is, you know, you're more accustomed to things like this, the open practice and, you know, just the extra attention surrounding the game. Everybody's families, coaching staffs and everything traveling with you. It's a little different, but you kind of know what to expect. It's not as distracting, but I would say "comfortable" is not a great word. I don't think anybody, you know, when you get in the post-season play is going to be entirely comfortable. I think it's a good thing. You're supposed to be a little bit nervous. You're supposed -- do that extra film study, practice a little bit harder just because you know it is winner go home, and that's the type -- that's a part of the year that we're at. So I think you just have to embrace that and go with it.



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