ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan coach John Beilein has never shied away from playing a tough non-conference schedule.
And coming into this season -- it would be no different.
But after the Wolverines’ disappointing 6-4 start, with tough road losses at Iowa State and Duke, a neutral site loss against Charlotte and at home defeat against No. 1 Arizona last Saturday, it begs the question -- is Michigan’s non-conference schedule too tough?
Probably, yes, but it doesn’t get any easier this Saturday, when the Wolverines to take on Stanford (8-2), who are coming off an impressive 53-51 victory at No. 10 UConn Wednesday night, in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational at the Barclay Center.
“When we scheduled this game we had no idea who we were playing the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and where it would be,” Beilein said on his tough schedule thus far. “I don’t think we anticipated that Iowa State would get a fifth-year point guard who is a tremendous and junior college player who is a tremendous player. Those are sort of anomalies at our level to have two people just show up out of nowhere.
“So it turned out to be a really difficult schedule for the top teams we are playing and where we’re playing them. I think when we schedule Arizona four years ago, we thought they would be pretty good. Clearly they are the best team in the country.”
While it hasn’t worked out the way Beilein envisioned in the win-loss column, he has no regrets on his tough schedule as Michigan prepares for Big Ten play at Minnesota on Jan. 2.
“No, absolutely not,” Beilein said, when asked if he regretted his non-conference schedule. “Because this is an important thing. We would like to have a win or two, it would make me feel better. But it’s part of the process. Now we’re going to go into the Big Ten schedule and will have played against the very best and we’re going to play against the very best. We won’t be all of a sudden ‘shocked’ by what we see on opposing lineups.”