Quotable Wolverines


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Michigan Head Coach John Beilein



On looking back at the selection show … “It was suspenseful last night. Now that we know that we are a 10 seed, there wasn’t a need for so much suspense but I was not convinced -- knowing that it is a hard decision for the committee. When I did look on the final days at the gory details, it may have been a matter of a win or two, a road win. That could have been the difference. When I saw the block M come up there, I didn’t know who we were playing, where we were playing. I felt like Jim Valvano, I was trying to look for someone to hug. My family was in a group hug and they didn’t even know I was hugging them, it was great.”



On having his whole family at the selection show … “That was really special, it has been special since Seana (Beilein’s daughter) moved up here from Richmond. We all went out afterwards and for about a half an hour I took a break and enjoyed it. It has really been great to have everyone up here to enjoy this.”



On Clemson … “I played against Oliver (Purnell) three times while he was at Dayton, when I was at Richmond. Then one time while at West Virginia. I know the style; I know three of their players and recruited one of their players that is a freshman now. I have a little familiarity with concepts but I don’t know them in detail much. I watched two games today and, when I have three days out, I just watch style and don’t go into details. Then I clip the clips.”



On comparisons to any other team … “No, I was trying to recall that but, in the Big Ten, I don’t think there is a team that is full court pressing for 40 minutes. I watched their Georgia Tech game, Georgia Tech was pressing them, they were pressing back. That can be a good thing, that can be a bad thing, we will see how we react.”



On comparing last night’s selection show to others in his career … “When you have the automatic bid it is exciting but it is more about where you are going. When you know that you are probably in it is the same thing. The other two times (in his career) we have been on the bubble we have been disappointed and probably been one of the last 4-5 teams out. So it was special from that standpoint and to have such a great following at the announcement (last night in Crisler Arena), that was a great way to finish the home season here.”



On the importance of making the tournament for the program … “It is good that we are making strides, I think that we still have a way to go to catch up to with a lot of the top-level teams in some areas and we are doing it step-by-step. That was a great opportunity for young fans, for new fans, for freshman who are going to enroll at Michigan who are going to say, ‘wait a minute, the school I’m going to is in the NCAA Tournament. I’m going to be one of those people that buys season tickets.’ All of those things are really important, small steps.”



On things you learn from past NCAA appearances … “You don’t really change a whole lot. From my first time I have learned a little bit -- like why we are doing the media now and we aren’t going to do it the next two days. We need to get everything done, and then we have our media when we get there. Little things like that you have to change to make it easier on the players and easier on yourself so that you don’t get caught up in the media hype and you can focus on winning the game.”



On the approach to the NCAA tournament … “Every opponent you have at this time is going to be a tough opponent, I don’t care what seed you are, it is going to be a tough opponent. Clemson is no different but we aren’t pleased just to be there, we are going to do our best to win the game, if we win the game you practice again and try to win another game.”



On Clemson’s strengths … “They have great length, they have been to the NCAA Tournament last year, they have a lot of experience. (Trevor) Booker is a force to be dealt with, (K.C.) Rivers is as good of a shooter as there is in the country and their depth, they play a lot of people and do a good job with that. It is going to be full court the entire time. One thing that has been consistent with our wins is good shooting and low turnovers, so that would be important. Against a team like this, if you turn it over they are going to get easy baskets. But when they do press you, you do have more open court to work with to get open shots.”



On the 1-3-1 zone defending the three-point shot … “We haven’t played as much zone as people would think, we have probably only been playing it in 10 percent of our games. I probably don’t have a good answer for that because people have scored like crazy against it this year.”



Senior Guard David Merritt

On how their defense could cause problems for Clemson … “Our style is so unique with the 1-3-1 and the zone, especially if you’ve never played against it and don’t have a lot of time to prepare for it, we could be trouble and hopefully that will be the case”



On Clemson … “I’ve watched them a couple times on TV this year, they’re a good team. Athletic, they like to press a lot and we’ll have to come up with a plan of attack for that.”



On the similarities between the two teams … “In terms of who we have beaten, we have beaten some of the same teams and some of the same caliber of teams. They’re 17 th in the nation right now so I think it should be a good game."



On the team being excited to get there and not focusing on getting the win … “I think that yesterday was our time to reflect and really be excited about getting in and now it’s back to work. We don’t just want to be in the tournament, we want to actually win games and to do that you have to focus and our focus will be there.”



On seeing Coach Beilein celebrating the moment with his family and the team … “It was really special. We attribute that to how much he cares about the team and how much he cares about the program. Coming off a 10-22 season, I’m glad that we can improve so much and he had so much to do with that.”



On coach Beilein overachieving in his past NCAA Tournament appearances … “It gives us a lot of confidence going in and it is what allows us to buy into his system. He’s done it everywhere else so why can’t he do it here. Guys really bought into his system this year and he has a lot to do with where we are right now.”



Senior Guard C.J. Lee

On Clemson … “Our coaches are going to get us prepared today but we do know that they are an ACC team, they’re a pressure team and they press the entire game. They like to get up and down and we know that they have some great players on their team. It’s really about the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament.”



On preparing for the match-up with Clemson … “Our staff is going to have us ready and the key will be to break their press as quickly as possible to get into our half court offense. We’ll know their execution and hopefully we can change that with our defense and throw some different looks at them. In terms of offense, getting past their full court press and getting into our offense as quick as possible and being poised and composed.”



On momentum heading into the game … “This is a start. They’re a bit higher but it’s a clean slate whether you started your season bad or not but it’s a new start for the simple fact that if you win one game you advance and if you lose you are done. All you can do is focus on the next game.”



On seeing himself as a leader at this time last season … “That was obviously the goal. Last year, Selection Sunday we we’re in the gym working out, doing individuals, lifting weights -- all to prepare for this opportunity this year. We knew we could do it and we knew that it was going to take a lot of work and we knew that we needed to win a certain amount of games to put ourselves in that position to have that opportunity. We’re glad we got that opportunity but now our focus is Clemson. That’s our next opponent and our next game; it’s our only game if we don’t win and we’re going into preparing for them.”



On the perception that the team is so happy to be in the Tournament that they aren’t focused on Clemson … “I don’t think that’s the case. We know we have to play a good team and coach told us to enjoy it last night but come Monday we’re going to start preparing for our next game. So its business as usual around here today, we’re going to watch film as we normally do and we’re going to practice like we normally do and get ready for our next opponent. Obviously, we put a lot into getting to the NCAA Tournament, that was our goal at the beginning of the season but now that we’re here we want to do some damage and that starts with playing a great Clemson team.”



Junior Guard DeShawn Sims

On Clemson … “I’ve seen them play. They’re a good team but we can beat any team if we have all of our guys ready to play.”



On a matching up with Clemson’s big guy (Trevor Booker) … “The Big Ten has prepared us. There are a lot of good big guys in the Big Ten and that has prepared us for any situation and I think it will be great to play against them.”



On fighting the “happy to be here” mentality … “We don’t have to fight it because we know the work that we have put in to get this far, to get to the tournament. We don’t want that hard work to go to waste, so we have to keep continuing to make progress."



On seeing the reward of the teams hard work … “It’s been exciting time for our basketball team. We just have been gelling and playing such great basketball the last eight games. It has really been good for the program.”



Sophomore Guard Manny Harris

On the excitement of last night’s NCAA Selection announcement … “I’m just ready to play actually. I’m ready to have a great practice today. I’m really excited that we got into the tournament but all of that starts with having a great practice today and we’ll be ready to go in and do some more damage in the tournament. “



On it feeling more real today … “I got a lot of calls and texts last night, today and it wasn’t the same as last night. It’s back to reality and, like I said we’re ready to come to practice and work hard.”



On the perception that getting into the tournament is good enough … “That’s not what it is at all. We definitely feel that we can make a run in the tournament and, like I said, we’re not settling for just getting into the tournament, we’re trying to do more than that.”



On Clemson and the matchup heading into the game … “I didn’t really get a chance to think about the team that we are playing. We know that they are a great team and today we know that our coaches are going to prepare us for Clemson. We just need to have a great practice and do whatever we can to get the win.”



On Clemson being a positive matchup … “I haven’t really heard people talking about the match up but I feel that if we do what we’re supposed to do and execute and play hard, that it could be a great match-up and we can possibly get a win.”

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