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January 21, 2014

News and Views: Beilein talks Iowa, more

Michigan has knocked off one top 10 team and will face another Wednesday night in No. 10 Iowa, one of the nation's surprises to this point. The Hawkeyes have a lot of qualities similar to Arizona, head coach John Beilein said Tuesday, and the Wolverines will have to play extremely well to win.

"We'll have to rebound out of our area, make sure the hustle areas are really strong and have the bounces go our way," Beilein said. "And that's what we plan to do, make the bounces go our way. We'll have to execute at a high level on both offense and defense.

"We have to pay attention to detail, locating the man and valuing every possession. Arizona came down to a last second game. They scored easy points. We can't allow that. This team can really score points, so we have to keep easy points from happening. They're going to get them. At the same time, we've got to limit those opportunities."

Here's more from Beilein in News and Views form:

News: Iowa comes to Michigan as one of the top two or three teams in a loaded Big Ten.

Beilein: "They're very much like what we've seen with Wisconsin over the years They have three seniors, and [big man] Melsahn Basabe was key. Zack McCabe and Roy Marble - McCabe is like Novak. He is like the quarterback, gets every loose ball. Marble was young and forced to play, and he gets better every year. Those three have been terrific, and in time have gotten better. They had to play really early like Tim Hardaway and Trey Burke did here."

Views: No doubt, this Iowa team is legit and worthy of its top 10 ranking. The Hawkeyes outplayed Wisconsin on the road and should have won in Madison, have won in Columbus and will finish in the top three or four in the Big Ten and easily make the NCAA Tournament. They go a legit 10 or 11 deep and "are extremely hungry to get to the NCAA Tournament and beyond," Beilein said.

Marble, meanwhile, has been outstanding, averaging over 16 points per game.

"He reminds me of [former Ohio State guard] Evan Turner right now, doing whatever he wants to do," Beilein said. "He shoots threes, passes, steals and rebounds. He's a really good player.

"Aaron White, I coached him this summer with USA Basketball and he was good then. You can see it really helped him. He is playing with a great deal of confidence, making running hook shots and duking on people."

The Hawkeyes have been scoring at a ridiculous pace, too. Beilein said he had an idea of what tempo he'd like his team to play, but he wouldn't disclose the goal. Bank on a game similar to Michigan's win at Wisconsin, somewhere in the 70s.

News: Michigan's big men continue to play well. Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford are playing arguably the best basketball of their careers on both ends of the floor.

Beilein: "They've really been good for us. The clean catches and finishes we've made are a positive direction.

"Bacari Alexander has worked so hard with those guys on those aspects. The game doesn't have to be real complex - catch it and get it in the basket, get a body on a man and keep the ball away from them, put it in, whether it's two feet away or Jon with the little fade from 10 feet. Both have embraced that role on the team."

Beilein stopped short of saying they'd been playing as well as sophomore Mitch McGary was in last year's NCAA Tournament, but their success in the pick and roll was related to their experience, he said.

"They have more experience at the angles," he said. "The pick and roll looks so simple but it's so complex sometimes, a couple feet here or there - is it a hook pass, a bounce pass? They may come up and hedge you.

"Those guys are more experienced at this point getting to that. When Mitch got here he would just run to the basket and be a vacuum. He was getting very good at that last year in March and the beginning of this year, but [the seniors] have got one thousand more reps than Mitch had."

Views: They'll be tested Wednesday night. Statistically speaking, the Hawkeyes defend the pick and roll as well as most in the country, meaning the Wolverines will have to pick their spots.

"They have varied how they've done it," Beilein said. "They'll come out and hard hedge a lot, also play off a little bit.

"The first five minutes of the game, we just don't know how people going to play. We have a sense and we've practiced it, but we've got to be able to adjust to it. We had forty minutes of sagging pick and roll defense the other day - the hard pick and roll they may give to us, we've seen it before and they're just really good at it. We'll have to execute even better against them."

The bigs will also be tested on the glass. They did their best job of the year putting bodies on people and keeping the Badgers off the boards, but Iowa poses a more difficult challenge.

"They're like Arizona because they are so long and rangy," Beilein said. "They really get stretch rebounds and send guys to the boards. It's going to be difficult to keep them off there. They'll be coming in droves.

"Wisconsin sent one or two, but they'll be more like Ohio State and Michigan State and send three or four in there. Not only do we just have to box out, but don't leak out, get possession with two hands. If they crash all those guys to the boards, we should have an advantage the other way, be able to get easy hoops."

How they fare could determine whether or not they win the game. Beilein wants to let them run, too, but strong and responsible outlet passes will also be critical.


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