Many of the pregame breakdowns had Michigan getting bullied by Tennessee's big man tandem Friday…
Beilein's "Insult" of Morgan Pays Off
QUESTION: You jump out early and it gets tight at the end. Some how you guys find a way to win.
John Beilein: "You know, we are playing good teams. If you look at the end of our schedule it's very similar to it. But there are a lot of plays at the end that everybody talks about; there are a lot of plays in the beginning that gets you out like this. You know we are a young team and it's really hard for us to sustain defense at that 35 minute mark, 38 minute mark. We weren't young when Jordan Morgan stood in there and took a great charge. One that we will always all remember for a long time."
QUESTION: Was it the right time for that call to re-emerge?
JOHN BEILEIN: "Yeah, but it was different it was off the dribble which is easier one to take and it was the right call. He liked it, he took it as an insult that they were just going to take him one on one in game. He is great at figuring out his angles, he did a wonderful job of denying stokes the ball, and then really did a great job on that play."
QUESTION: Coach talk about those big plays in the beginning, Zak was huge off the bench shooting the ball. Talk about his role
JOHN BEILEIN: "Being a coach all these years, you can have great shooters, but when they can come off the bench and shoot like he does. I mean you look at our biggest wins this year, the road wins, he was a big part in almost off those because comes off and hits two or three, and Minnesota he had five. And for him to come in the game, then they went 1-3-1 zone we had an easy shot, we missed it and then all of the sudden he hits another one and they are out of the zone. So it's incredible what he has been able to do with this team and in limited minutes and handle it personally. Here he is Mr. Basketball of Indiana and he's playing 12 minutes a game. And he's been great handling that."
QUESTION: In later game situations such as inbounding the ball, is that something you guys need to work on?
JOHN BEILEIN: "I can't recall in 1100 games ever having to inbound the ball in a close situation under the other basket in four consecutive times, dead ball. You only have to do that once or twice and so we went with a scheme twice and the third time we changed it. What we have learned from that is we had timeouts. Spike threw the ball to people when they were in trouble. You don't throw it to people, short passes, he just wanted to get rid of it. And we need to be stronger there. Pressure has never been a problem with us but that's a difficult situation."
QUESTION: One win away from the Final Four, what does that mean to you?
JOHN BEILEIN: "Well, I mean, we have done nothing just yet; I'm going to think about beating Louisville or Kentucky—whoever we have the privilege to play, we know we are going to play a great team."
QUESTION: When you saw Nik miss that second free throw, what went through your mind? Were you almost kind of happy?
JOHN BEILEIN: Yeah, I was thinking we had to get a sub at the table if he made it, so now they can set something up and we sort of have a defense for that at the same time. When he misses it, it's not a bad thing with 2.9 seconds remaining. You don't want to miss it with 4 seconds. And I knew they were out of timeouts.
QUESTION: Talk about Jordan coming up big?
JOHN BEILEIN: "It's huge, and this is the thing that we have talked about. His coaches and he have really talked about. He has watched so many of his fellow teammates go pro, and that the game is about them. I said, ‘Jordan, you're as key as any of those guys have been, its just different numbers. How many guys you have stopped, how many charges you have taken, and here you are going to have a Masters in engineering. You're just as big a Michigan man as anybody that has gone pro, or any senior.' He has been the key, one of the many keys to our success over these last four years."
QUESTION: Often in those late game huddles, Derrick said that Spike can be a calming influence. Tell us a little about his role there.
JOHN BEILEIN: "Well there is a lot going on because were changing things back and forth. Maybe there is too much time in a CBS timeout. Spike has been really good, he needs to speak more, but he has been terrific for everybody."
QUESTION: You and the other coaches try to hype up matchups down low with Jordan Morgan. Do you think that kind of helps with the pressure on him a little bit?
JOHN BEILEIN: "I didn't do any of that. We were practicing double teaming in case we needed it in the game and Jordan took it as an insult all week that we were practicing double teaming. He wanted number 5 – stokes, no help, I can handle it, just give me some scratch downs. The minister of defense, he can handle it, and he did. But he had a lot of help from other guys, but I'm just tellin ya. That young man—when its all said and done—is going to be one of the great Michigan players, winners, and leaders we have ever had."
QUESTION: Why have Mitch in uniform tonight?
JOHN BEILEIN: "He wanted to go there and his teammates wanted him there. I just think he is jumping around in a suit and dress shoes, I thought it would be very comfortable and be good inspiration for the team."
QUESTION: Talk about the stretch Jordan is on. Three games in double figures, leading scorer tonight.
JOHN BEILEIN: "Yeah, it's the jump hooks inside. It's what he has been practicing on. He's so deserving of these opportunities he is getting getting. He is so deserving because of how hard he has worked to get to this point. And he is going to have a special place in my heart for a long time. Another thing is he doesn't want to go home, I know he doesn't want to end his senior year, so he is doing a great job there."
QUESTION: After five years is Jordan still doing things that surprise you?
JOHN BEILEIN: "Yeah. I've watched his maturity grow. He came in here as a very young 17 year old, and just watching him grow from not playing to playing and starting. All these things. His Jesuit training in Detroit did a great job, he has a very holistic look at things right now and you can see it every day."
QUESTION: Are you ever amazed that these guys never seem nervous? You're nervous I know, but their not and it seems significant.
JOHN BEILEIN: "They are pretty composed, and I think it has a lot to do with our staff. We keep things light but they have been through it so many times where they just stay focused. I think they have a task, task orientation, so they know the job, so they focus on that instead of worrying about what could go wrong. They just say I'm just going to go do my job."
QUESTION: There aren't so many teams that go on a run like this with so many close games, 15 straight with under ten points. Is that something you see as a characteristic of this team?
JOHN BEILEIN: "We have told you all, we have been lucky, because things can go the other way. But no this is uncanny. We are a good foul shooting team, we are a good passing team, and we can take care of the ball late and make good judgment late in the game. We blew up that 15 second play; however, two guys went to the wrong spots. We have been able to preserve even through mistakes late in games. They have this thing were they are going to make it work, even if they don't know how, they are just going to make it work."
QUESTION: Zak's couple threes really spread the run, how big is it from a freshman to do that?
JOHN BEILEIN: "It's incredible, for a kid to come off the bench and do this. Mr. Basketball in Indiana and he's coming in and he is sharing time just looking for opportunities. One of the greatest teammates we have. And so people are going to enjoy watching him at Michigan for many years to come."
QUESTION: How much of the game plan was to tell Glenn when Maymon was on him to attack?
JOHN BEILEIN: "That was the game plan going in. if they were going to play with both bigs, we needed Glenn to really attack. Probably when they brought in number 23, we probably should've been attacking more there as well. It's not about Nik making shots, he sees so well and finding Glenn, he is such a great passer."
QUESTION: When you have first halves like tonight, is that something you address in the locker room—like look you're probably not going to do that again.
JOHN BEILEIN: "We don't put that voodoo out there, we just talk to them about guarding. Pretty much that we scored a lot of points in the first half and that's because we are guarding people and we have to continue to do that."
QUESTION: When they are hitting shots like they did in the first half, do they look better than they did last year?
JOHN BEILEIN: "There are times this year when our offense is clicking and we can put 45 in one half on a team, we have a good team, now we just have to guard them a little bit. The weakness we still have is the youth in our defense. We have one charge-taker out there in Jordan Morgan and he was in the right spot. It's a tough call this year, but we have to be able to stand in there and take some things. We can't let guys just come right at us."
QUESTION: When they were going back to the four wings, they got a lot of looks at the basket and a lot of baseline cuts. How are you going to address that?
JOHN BEILEIN: "We didn't guard our yard very well, McRae and Richardson are very quick, and we just got to be better in those situations in rallying to the ball and showing more jerseys. We got spread out a little bit. But basically they are a talented team, they can beat you one on one and with the new charge rule it's very difficult to do anything about it."