Michigan coach reexamines his team's performance and what the Wolverines can take away from Wednesday's loss. Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News
After a loss to defending national champion North Carolina, the Michigan basketball team is sitting pretty much where coach John Beilein thought it would be on the cusp of the Big Ten opener.
The Wolverines are 6-2 and will face Indiana on Saturday at Crisler Center.
They lost 86-71 at North Carolina on Wednesday and endured a stretch in that game that Beilein termed “silly.” Still, junior forward Moe Wagner said no one sulked after that performance.
“It’s actually, we really don’t care about the results right now,” Wagner said Friday afternoon. “We embrace the growth. Don’t take that wrong, obviously we care about the results, but if you embrace the growth, if you embrace the process as a team, the results will work out in the end.
“That’s what we trust. That’s what we’ve been trusting since June. Yes, we lost to North Carolina, but don’t make this loss make you lose the next game.”
Beilein would love to be undefeated, but he’s secure in where team is right now.
“I think we’re 6-2 and no matter how well we’re probably going to play we’re probably right where we should be right now at 6-2,” Beilein said. “We’re probably right on schedule. I don’t think we’re ahead or behind on anything.”
Beilein is still searching for the right combination as his young players continue to progress and understand their roles.
Junior center talks about his team trusting the process and bouncing back in Saturday's Big Ten opener. Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News
The North Carolina loss gave him plenty of information regarding where this team needs more coaching and teaching.
“We played really well at times at North Carolina and we had a bad, bad 12 minutes,” Beilein said. “It made us look silly at times. At the same time, we’re going to find a way to make it very positive. The great thing about the Big Ten and our schedule is that we have chances to make up for that poor performance we had in that game, to do well again tomorrow.”
Confidence is not something the Wolverines are struggling with after that loss. Beilein’s team is in learning process now, and the players are learning the flow of the game and how to work it to their advantage.
“Tomorrow’s result is the result, whatever it is, it’s going to make us better,” Beilein said. “Our big thing is not about gaining confidence, it’s about gaining intelligence of what it takes to win games. It was an unusual performance in a couple ways.”
The North Carolina loss is a jumping off point, and now Beilein hopes to use the information learned from that game and apply it to Indiana and the Big Ten schedule.
“It was an unusual performance in a couple of ways,” Beilein said of the UNC loss. “The very first play was something we had practiced over and over again. It was supposed to be a switch and we stood there looking at it and didn’t switch. It was just really unusual.
“I think I counted like eight wide open 3s. We were 0-for-8 from 3s during that time. It was one of those performances you just gotta say, ‘OK, where can we learn from it and get better?’ There were some times there when the going got … when all of a sudden what could have been a tied game with six minutes to go, became a six-point game, it was like it was a 66-point game. We just blew up.”
He did acknowledge a silver lining.
“We’re better prepared than we were two weeks ago to play,” Beilein said. “Thhs is going to be a tough one.”
Indiana at Michigan
Tip-off: 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Crisler Center, Ann Arbor
TV/radio: CBS/WWJ 950
Records: Michigan 6-2; Indiana 4-3. Big Ten opener for both.
Outlook: Indiana leads series 107-59. Michigan has a three-game winning streak in the series.