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UM's Beilein miffed at ESPN for 10-minute tip delay

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

New York — Michigan coach John Beilein wasn't happy about the late start time for the championship game of the Legends Classic at Barclays Center.

The 10:00 p.m. tip time is the latest on the schedule for the Wolverines this season, but when the start of the game was delayed because of the Ohio versus Miami (OH) football game on ESPN2, Beilein became incensed.

At the end of his press conference following Michigan's loss to Villanova, Beilein had some words for the folks at ESPN.

"Was anybody else bothered today by us moving back 10 minutes to accommodate ESPN?" Beilein asked, unsolicited. "I love ESPN but when they told me that game was being moved back 15 minutes, something's wrong. We have a whole bunch of guys with 8:00 and 9:00 classes tomorrow morning and we moved that game to 10:15 so that a football game could be finished."

Villanova won, 60-55, and the game ended at around 12:15 a.m., much too late for Beilein's liking, given the delay.

"Let us start our game but this is way out of whack when we move a game 15 minutes," he said. "It's already at the wrong time — 10 p.m. on the East Coast — and now move it more 15 minutes. I love ESPN — they're so good for us — but they got that one wrong. We can't do that to our student-athletes."

The Michigan players headed for the bus soon after the press conference and were set to arrive back in Ann Arbor just a few hours before classes for a couple of players.

"Tell Spike Albrecht when he goes to his 9:00 class today that it was more important that we started that (at 10:15) than at 10:00. This is wrong and we're going to fix it."

Lane closure

On the decisive play of the game, where Zak Irvin was blocked by JayVaughn Pinkston with five seconds left, Beilein said the Wolverines had several options but Albrecht, who was inbounding the ball, found Irvin.

Pinkston's block was just one example of big defensive plays that Villanova made throughout the game.

"They had three or four of those rim-protecting type of plays, three big blocks where we had really good leverage but their guys came out of nowhere to take it away from us," Beilein said.

Two others occurred in the first half, when freshmen D.J. Wilson and Mark Donnal were rejected going to the rim.

"We understood what physical play is. When D.J. went to dunk the ball and it got blocked, now you understand this is big-boy basketball," Beilein said. "Mark caught the ball and got blocked from behind — this is big-boy basketball.

"Those are great takeaways because I can talk it all we want and say welcome to college basketball but when they get it like that, it's perfect."

Villanova finished with five blocks, but none more critical than Pinkston's.

Holiday plans

Beilein said the players will have a short break for Thanksgiving and some won't have a chance to go home because of the distance. He and his wife Kathleen are hosting Wilson and Ricky Doyle at their house for dinner.

The local players will have a few hours to spend with family before returning to campus to prepare for Saturday's game against Nicholls State.