- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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Michigan faces Alabama A&M at noon Saturday in its second-to-last game before Big Ten play begins. It's also the second straight SWAC opponent for Michigan after three weeks of top-tier competitive games.
The team Michigan is facing will have not played for 15 days by the time it steps on the court at Crisler Arena.
Here's what Michigan coach John Beilein had to say about the matchup and other things surrounding his program, in convenient bullet form:
This 15-day hiatus for Alabama A&M reminded Beilein of his small college days. "What they do is they have an extended exam period and then they are ready to go on the road. I don't know if it is good or bad. Our guys have been going pretty good right now and I'm sure they need a couple days off."
On Evan Smotrycz's success: "Sometimes less is just so much more for him, letting the game come to him that way he doesn't press. He always feels the game on both ends and mistakes defensively lead to offensive mistakes and our kids know when they make a mistake and not to look at me. His offense is better, his defense is better. He's one of my guys that's a grenade guy, like the ball is a grenade and they have got to do something with it or it is going to blow up and that's not true. Just it's OK, there's not something, keep it moving. He's handling that grenade much better right now."
On Carlton Brundidge, where Beilein is hoping he progresses this season into a backup point guard to Trey Burke: "He's progressing. The biggest issue for Carlton right now is two seniors who are combo guards ahead of him who really help facilitate our team."
To aid in Brundidge's progression, Beilein has been placing him on scout teams during some practices in order to let him get more reps against Burke and the rest of the starters. The hope is those increased practice repetitions will carry over into games.
Beilein on Burke's minutes (the freshman played 37 on Tuesday): "I was hoping to pull him at any time and then they start making a run there. My whole idea was trying to get the bench in and that kept the bench from getting in. I thought we could just get away from them but as you well know, with a couple of those kids, a 20-point lead could have been 12 like that. I was hoping 20 was going to go to 30. It didn't happen."
If Burke has to sit, who takes over as the point guard? Beilein asked the media to vote (for the record, I'd go with Beilein's answer, at least for now): "Stu Douglass would come in and do a good job. I just like Stu in a different capacity but if he has to do it, he can do it. Then you have Eso Akunne and you have Carlton. We've tried to train all of them."