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November 21, 2013

News and Views: Beilein talks learning experiences, more

Michigan fell for the first time this season, dropping at 77-70 decision at Iowa State after leading for much of the game. There was plenty to like, head coach John Beilein said, but plenty to learn from.

Here are Beilein's comments and our take.

News: Michigan let one get away at Iowa State with some poor shooting and some bad match-ups down the stretch.

Beilein: "We have tremendous opportunities to learn and improve based on the game, what we learned in the game and what we learned after the game. I cannot wait until today's film session to teach the young team and veterans, as well, the things that are important to winning. The coaches as well, we all learned about this team, things we can do better. Now we grow from it."

Views: In hindsight, sophomore Caris LeVert struggled and his production didn't warrant 37 minutes. Beilein admitted he would like to have played fifth-year senior Jordan Morgan more down the stretch, particularly for his defense.

"We thought maybe he'd make his next shot, the next defensive play, and it didn't always happen," Beilein said. "Maybe we should have played Zak [Irvin] a little more in the second half.

"But it's very rare when they take their point guard and post up. That's a one in 15 game. It wears on physical conditioning, battling in the post and then guarding on the perimeter."

Essentially a "my bad." The good news - this staff learns from its mistakes. This will be a much better team by the end of the year than it is now, and the lessons learned about the group along the way - and adjustments made - will be a big reason why.

Georges Niang was one who did plenty of damage, a match-up nightmare.

"He did a lot of things," Beilein said. "One time we went under a screen so we didn't have to switch, could keep Glenn on him. We blew that one and they hit a three. Caris got switched one time on some type of ball screen, drove him down, but we could have gotten some exterior help, too. He's a nightmare, because he's not just a rebounder. He can pass, shoot from three, is very cagey with the ball.

"Caris matched up three times sand none of that worked out well. It's hard to avoid that sometimes, because you're in quick man rotation, so somebody has to have him. But we probably could give him more support."

News There was still plenty to like about the young Wolverines in the loss.

Beilein: "We did score 70 points. The offensive execution was nowhere where it will be down the stretch, which is understandable at this time given the amount of stuff we'd given them. Now throw Mitch in there after a day and a half of practice for 20 minutes - we were off there."

Nik Stauskas, too, was very good beyond his 20 points, even though he missed some shots down the stretch he'll normally make.

"He was physical, guarded his man, was on the scouting report. It was his rebounding, pushing the ball better - I really liked what I saw from him. Spike coming off the bench, making shots, plays, no turnovers. He's going to be a tremendous help to us off the bench and for Derrick Walton, as well. What Mitch can do at different times to impact the game, stealing, offensive rebounds. For some players it is a mystery what will happen. There's no question he will put it back in if he has some leverage."

Stauskas, though, appears to be the go-to guy down the stretch at this point, replacing what Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway provided in the clutch. We'll see if he has it in him.

News: There's plenty to improve upon, too. The Wolverines struggled defensively, with Walton, especially, hurting in transition. Walton wasn't overwhelmed and did some good things, but he has a lot to learn.

Beilein: "Defensively, just understanding all the concepts when we're playing a team that presents that many looks and issues. They have a great plan. They spread you out with five guys on the perimeter, attack, posting the point guard like we did with Darius [Morris]. That's very difficult to handle.

"I wish we'd driven the ball more. We want to get to the foul line. It was only nine times, but we did get some really good looks. Nik was the guy feeling it the most, so we were trying to dial him up a little more. They took some things away, didn't some other things. Glenn and Caris, those are shots they have made in practice in games going into that."

Views: That will only get better. Walton, for one, showed some aggressiveness, even though he struggled at times with some concepts and in transition defense.

"He did some really good things understanding the timing in our offense and defensively, as well," Beilein said. "They had 16 points in transition, and a lot of times it was young players making mistakes there."

News: Mitch McGary played well in limited minutes, but his timing was off and he was gassed at times.

Beilein: "We wanted to get him some time, if needed a little more, get him out there get him through some things knowing if we were going to play him in Puerto Rico we wanted to get him as much game experience as possible.

"He had treatment and I asked him how he felt Monday, and he felt good. In that game biggest thing I saw was fatigue on the defensive end. When he plays there's only one speed, and that's going to wear you out. Now he has to build the timing and cardio up."

Views: The sky's the limit for this team when McGary is on the floor. The Wolverines will be a Big Ten contender, and he'll be one of the reasons why. He finishes, rebounds and is outstanding with his outlet passes to fuel the break.

Enjoy him this year.


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