Michigan Coach John Beilein knows Penn State is for real, after all the Nittnay Lions upset the Wolverines’ last month in Happy Valley, Pa., 84-78, handing the Maize and Blue its worst loss of the season.
While PSU (10-20, 2-16 Big Ten) won’t scare anyone with their losing record, it certainly has the full attention of No. 6 Michigan (25-6, 12-6), as they prepare to play in Thursdays Big Ten Tournament first round matchup.
“Just watching Penn State, it’s a whole different team than it was earlier in the season,” Beilein said. “I think six of their last seven games they have shown they can beat anyone. …They really can beat us or anyone in the tournament, right now the way they’re playing.”
Penn State beat Michigan and Northwestern to get their only Big Ten conference wins to end the regular season.
“You want to go into it with a lot of excitement and courage to get that game back,” Beilein said on PSU matchup. “But, at the same time there is process you must got to go through to win. So, I’m just telling you, I’m just watching this team and I can’t find right now, with between they’re playing and what they’re doing, I can’t find significant weaknesses you can exploit.
“We better play really well. And it’s that time of the year, if you don’t play well in a game—your season will be over or your tournament will be over. That’s about how simple that is.”
On Michigan playing in Chicago
“I hope we go out with a chip on our shoulder every game and try to show we’re as good as team as there is in the country,” Beilein said on playing the Big Ten tournament in Chicago. “So, in this particular tournament, being in Chicago for the first time, I hope we’re really excited.”
Getting over Indiana loss
Michigan blew a five point lead in the final minutes, as Indiana took the outright Big Ten championship, 72-71, and handed U-M their only home loss of the season on Sunday. The Wolverines’ missed key free-throws down the stretch of the game that proved costly to the outcome.
“We had frank discussion after the game on some of things we could control in the game,” Beilein said. “That we really could control. I don’t think foul shooting is controllable as you think. I think some of the other things that we did, were very controllable.
“However, lets congratulate Indiana on an outright Big Ten championship in one of the best years ever. We got beat by a heck of a team on our home court, with chances to win.”
Burke Wins B1G POY
“For Trey (Burke) to be all-league and player of the year, it says a lot about when people look at here he is a point guard and is playing predominantly with one of the youngest teams in America, and he is still leading us to 25 wins,” Beilein said. “It says a lot about what he’s able to do, not only scoring, passing, just leadership.