Michigan coach John Beilein and Purdue coach Matt Painter finished up their weekly stints on the Big Ten conference call a few moments ago.
As always, here are highlights of what they had to say, in convenient bullet form. Michigan plays Purdue on Tuesday:
On what Arkansas game did for Michigan, confidence-wise: “I think a similar situation happened at Indiana earlier this year. Our kids realize with just good, solid defense and then several of those guys we have that can shoot the ball or score the ball, we’re never really out of their game. Their speed was like a blur to begin with and all of a sudden we’re down quickly and we can’t duplicate that. You can do that when they have one or two guys on the other team, not three or four on the other team. I do think there is growing confidence that even when another team makes their first 11 shots, you can stay in a game and win it. I think it was 11 in a row. It seemed like they made every shot.”
On pattern of why started slowly: “Those two games it was a similar thing, their transition offense is something that is hard to duplicate in practice. They do it all year long, Indiana does it all year long. You can try to duplicate in practice and you could also out-practice yourself and get so ready in the two days beforehand that when you get to the game, they are too tired to actually do it. So you have to try and give them enough of it but to simulate that quickness is hard. What Indiana does with four scorers on the floor with a big man, we’ve gotten a lot better since the Indiana game with that, but that is something we have to shore up.”
On critical week: “I don’t see any games as being critical until you get down to the last couple ones and you’re fighting like crazy for a championship. It’s got to be down to where your back is really against the wall before I say anything is critical. I honestly don’t think we played all that poorly on the road. We have a semi-road win over Oakland but Virginia, it was a pretty good team and we led for most of the first half. Indiana was a two-point loss. Iowa was a game we just didn’t have it. I thought we played pretty well, unfortunately, just the ball didn’t bounce our way enough."
On get Tim Hardaway Jr. into game early: “We’re trying to dial everybody up as much as we can but Tim is learning how they play him, what they do. We’re still trying to find new ways for Tim to use his talent so we’re always looking to do that and we do try to get shots for everybody early in the game.”
On how different is Purdue: “When you lose that much, there has to be a transitional period that has to be difficult. Watching JaJuan (Johnson) and E’Twaun (Moore) play, they are so talented so they are going to make up for it in other ways. They used to throw the ball to JaJuan and get out of the way because he was so good, give the ball to E’Twaun and get out of the way because he’ll make plays. Now, we’ll have to have more team action, those things.”
On Trey Burke improvement: “His court demeanor and practice demeanor. Forget about the numbers. I thought about it yesterday watching Eli Manning get knocked down, knocked down, knocked down and the next thing you know, he’s up calling the next play, the next audible to the next play. While Trey Burke has a long way to go to get to that category, he shows those qualities that he can bounce back in adversity and stay level-headed in times where we are really playing well.”
On Michigan: "Michigan is a dangerous team....Trey Burke is one of the best freshmen in the country. He can break you down, get the ball to his teammates. Timmy Hardaway is a talented kid who can score the basketball."
On Evan Smotrycz: "Smotrycz is a very versatile guy who can play the three, four, five. You always know a guy like that is prime to come out and nail four or five against you."
On Stu Douglass: (Background knowledge from me: Painter initially recruited Douglass to Purdue, but then pulled back after signing another player. It led Douglass to almost go to Harvard before Michigan arrived with a scholarship.) "Stu Douglass is very dangerous, especially when he makes that first shot and get into rhythm."