Michigan basketball coach John Beilein wrapped up his stint on the weekly Big Ten men's basketball coaches conference call a little while ago.
Michigan has games against Northwestern and Iowa this week after splitting with Indiana and Wisconsin last week. As always, here are the highlights in easy-to-digest bullet form:
Michigan sophomore forward Jon Horford will have an X-Ray on his right foot today to see how his stress fracture is healing.
Beilein's opening statement: "It seems like we always have a two-day prep for Northwestern and after a great day yesterday where we had so much respect for the Wisconsin team and the program and their coaching staff and doing things the right way. For us to get a win over them with a huge crowd and Rudy Tomjanovich, Phil Hubbard and Cazzie Russell among other former players was a great day. We’re moving on now because we have a unique challenge again, as we do in this league, with Northwestern coming up here in just two days."
Is it easier to prep for Northwestern because of the pace of Wisconsin? "Wisconsin deals so much with concepts and while the pace is different than Indiana to go from one to the other, but I don’t think there is any easier prep at any time during the year because what people don’t do sometimes, it may be harder to guard because they are dealing conceptually on things. So I’m not really sure. I just know every prep in this league is really a challenge and Northwestern is no different, despite who we play before them or after them."
How did Michigan build the program back to this level: "We had a couple times that were big but the league, here’s the thing that I keep telling myself. There have been 5 or 6 teams that have been perennial at the top of the league since I’ve been here and before I was here. When you have a moment that you have a tipping point where you think you made it, the other teams don’t back off and say ‘OK, let’s let Michigan or Iowa get in here now.’ We had great wins over UCLA and Duke my second year here and it’s the same thing. You’ll have great wins and you just have to keep pressing on. It’s like handling success, it is sometimes tougher than handling the adversity of growing the program. We’ve had those and some of our biggest moments have been our biggest losses and we have gotten better from them as well. So you have to take the good and the bad and growing both ways."
On Iowa's Devyn Marble, who Michigan also recruited: "One thing I really liked about Devyn was his birthday, that he was so young, and we were in a choice of Marble or Tim Hardaway Jr. We made a choice with Tim and we wouldn’t have gone wrong with Devyn. Devyn is a tremendous player and his dad went there. LaVall Jordan, who is on my staff, was there at the time and Todd Lickliter did a great job of recruiting him to Iowa right out from underneath us but we had already made a commitment both ways to Tim Hardaway at that time. So both Iowa and Michigan both won in that selection."
On Trey Burke: "It is a very unique situation, atypical for a young man to come in and feel so comfortable running this team, playing with confidence and poise. The teammates he has on this team really like him. Zack Novak, he’s told me several times, I love playing with Trey Burke. That helps a great deal when your number one leader loves his point guard and so as a result, he’s been accepted very well. You have to show it in the weight room, on the court, the whole deal, to gain that acceptance and Trey has done a great job of doing that."