- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
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Michigan basketball coach John Beilein met with the media Tuesday to discuss the fourth-seeded Wolverines’ upcoming game against Ohio in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Here are some of the key points he touched on:
First off, the team leaves for Nashville Wednesday after practice and Beilein said it doesn’t make much difference whether the team plays Thursday or Friday.
ON PREPARATION FOR OHIO: “It’s always an interesting time when you’re getting ready to play an opponent,” Beilein said. “Sometimes you have enough time, sometimes enough time is too much time.” Beilein said sometimes the Wolverines work better on a short turnaround rather than a week of prep.
ON FINDING AN OFFENSIVE BALANCE: Beilein said they need solid performances coming from redshirt sophomore forward Jordan Morgan and sophomore forward Evan Smotrycz every day. “They have been huge in many of our big wins,” Beilein said. “We just have to continue to feed them a lot of sunshine, tell them how they can help us, both of them work their tails off in practice.”
ON WHAT TO SAY TO FRESHMAN TREY BURKE: Beilein said he doesn’t need to say anything to Burke about going into the tournament even though Burke had an up and down performance at the Big Ten Tournament. “He had this incredible freshman year,” Beilein said. “He’s such a good player and he really understands the game and the ebbs and flows of his performances.”
ON WHAT MAKES OHIO A GOOD TEAM: Beilein said that Ohio point guard D.J. Cooper is similar to Penn State’s point guard, Tim Frazier. He also said that Cooper is surrounded by several talented shooters. The Bobcats use the ball screen a lot and use several set plays.
ON FIRST-ROUND GAME RECORDS: “A lot of good fortune,” Beilein said. “We just try and get ready the whole week.”
ON HIS FIRST EVER NCAA TOURNAMENT GAME: Beilein had taken Canisius for two straight years when he got his first bid to the NCAA Tournament. Beilein said that the NIT experience was very exciting because the team made it to New York, but in 1996 they lost their first round game in the NCAA Tournament. “It was great for Canisius to go to it,” Beilein said. “It was a big step in the Canisius program.