ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan's student section wasn't at Crisler Arena on Thursday night -- most had gone home for winter break -- but those who were gave Patrick Beilein a welcome.
When Patrick, the Bradley director of basketball operations, met his father, Michigan coach John Beilein, at mid-court for the traditional pre-game handshakes between coaching staffs, those student section members who stuck around gave him a welcome.
"Pat-rick Bei-lein," the few chanted. "Pat-rick Bei-lein."
"It's little things like that," Patrick said. "There were only like six Maize Rage guys, but still, I'll take it."
Before Thursday night's game, Patrick wandered around the Crisler Center court, saying hello to trainers he used to know, to administrators he used to work with and eventually, to assistant coaches who helped shape the early stages of his career.
This was a homecoming, kind of, and he wanted to make sure he remembered all of it.
Patrick spent two seasons as a graduate assistant with the program under his father before leaving for an assistant coaching gig at Dartmouth in 2010-11 and then this season at Bradley.
"Seeing people I've known and still keep in touch with, whether it is players, staff here at Crisler, reporters, it was pretty neat," Patrick said.
There were weird moments, though. He tried not to look at his mother, Kathleen, who was sitting around midcourt. Earlier this week, Kathleen said she would be rooting for Michigan and she held true to that. When Patrick would look over, he'd see her mom clapping for Michigan baskets -- the first time in her life she rooted against her son.
Then there was the locker room. When Patrick coached here, the visitors locker room was Michigan's home lockers. And when Bradley coach Geno Ford gave his talk before the game, it brought back memories.
"Seeing Geno up at the board and all those chairs lined up and he's drawing up plays, it kind of brought back memories," Patrick said. "I remember where Zack Novak's locker is and Stu Douglass' is. Things like that."
Once the game started, though, it was business -- a business that ended with a 77-66 Michigan win over Bradley.
And John Beilein didn't treat it much different. He shook his son's hand like he would any other assistant coach in the post-game handshake line. Before the game, the two briefly embraced during the usual coaching chit-chat.
Otherwise, it didn't matter who John Beilein was coaching against.
"It wasn't really that much different. I've been like this my whole life, I'm so focused in the game," John Beilein said. "My mother could be on the other bench, my late mother, obviously. Bless her heart. You know what, she'd be the same way.
"Your job is to win that game. You just let all that stuff go and he's coming to stay at the house tonight and I'm sure that we'll have a better Christmas than we would have had if they had beaten us, that's for sure.
"And I mean it. My mother raised me to be a tough guy. Just win, baby."
Apparently luckily for almost all Beileins involved, Michigan did.