Michigan coach John Beilein met with the media to talk about the Wolverines' game at Iowa State Sunday and the program's four newest signees.
News: The Wolverines hit the road for the first time this season Sunday, playing Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. Michigan was 5-5 in true road games last season and has posted a 31-41 overall record in true road games under Beilein.
Beilein: "The road season begins. What an exciting game this is going to be. We understand that, and rightfully so. This is a great weekend game in November, where two teams that went to the NCAA Tournament last year are playing. I believe it's sold out. Much like our Bradley game last year, but probably stiffer competition than we have seen.
"We're still a young team that is going to have to look at this, embrace it and try to get a 'W.' It's not going to be easy. We're going to try to be as prepared as we can. I think we have always been a pretty good road team, but when it starts over again and you go into that first road environment, it is hard to do. We have to sort of breath it in and jump right into it."
Views: In the last three years, the Wolverines have finished .500 in true road games each season. (5-5 last year, 6-6 in 2011 and 5-5 in 2010). And it is no small coincidence that the Wolverines have won a Big Ten title, gone to the Final Four and made the NCAA Tournament all three years during that stretch.
You have to be able to win on the road if you're going to be a good team, and this will be a terrific test for the Wolverines, especially for guys like freshmen Derrick Walton, Jr. and Zak Irvin, who have never experienced a hostile road atmosphere.
When the Wolverines get back from the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, they're making the most marquee road trip of the year, playing at Duke in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. If they get off to a nice start and play well Sunday, it will be a big step toward getting ready to play in front of the Cameron Crazies.
News: The Cyclones are stacked with veteran talent, most of which came to Ames via transfer.
Beilein: "They have incredible shooting everywhere. The kid Naz Long [a 6-4 sophomore guard] didn't even play last year, and he comes in and hits eight threes. This kid George Niang [a 6-7 sophomore forward], he reminds me of Draymond Green, in that he is a strong forward who can pass, hit threes. There's an eerie similarity there. Some really good players.
"They have made more threes for us. That will be important. When they were here two years ago, they did not shoot the ball well from three, and they were a tremendous three-point shooting team that year. It's probably one of the reasons we got away with that win. Very similar styles, different plays, but similar in many ways."
News: With the way Michigan shot last time out, against South Carolina State - sophomores Caris LeVert and Nik Stauskas hit 11 combined three-point shots - this game could be a serious shoot-out.
The Cyclones have been on fire offensively thus far, beating UNC-Wilmington, 95-62, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 80-50.
And, of course, the Wolverines are no slouch, offensively, either.
The Wolverines officially signed four 2014 commits during the early National Letter Of Intent period this week. Beilein spoke about those players for the first time today.
Beilein: "The three perimeter positions are so similar, but the more size, the better. As long as they still have quickness. The great length and size, those are so important, especially at this level, but they need to have some athleticism, as well. Really feel good about the athleticism of this team, for each of their positions."
On Portland (Ore.) Columbia Christian guard Kameron Chatman, 6-7: "He can do a lot of things. What's really unique with him, while he's stronger than Caris, he really loves getting down around the basket. Not that Caris doesn't, but he has been more of a guard his whole life, and Kam can play either one. Kam has incredible vision. And he can stick his nose down there, even though his frame right now is slight, because he keeps growing, and mom's trying to feed him, but he keeps growing. "
On Sacramento (Calif.) Capital Christian forward D.J. Wilson, 6-9: "I knew he had had back issues, but we saw him when they were all finished. People are going to get injured from time to time. From what we saw in the summer and from his workouts, was a kid with huge upside and a great desire to be a player. He has great work habits, and he loves Michigan. All those together, it was a no-brainer."
On Cape Coral (Fla.) Bishop Verot center Ricky Doyle, 6-10: "As I said, I don't know if he's done growing. His dad is a full 7-1, a big man. Ricky, he likes it down in the paint, and out on the perimeter. People are going to enjoy seeing that old-school type of approach."
On Pasadena (Calif.) Loyola guard Austin Hatch, 6-6, who is recovering from a plane crash that held him out of basketball for a year and is planning to play this season: "Obviously, that is up to his high school and coach and things like that, but that is the plan for him right now.
"It's as exciting as can be, that he is going to have the opportunity to play organized basketball again. We just have to see how that all develops. The big thing is, he has a scholarship to the University of Michigan, and we want to make sure he knows that.
"They changed the rules drastically last June, so we were able to interact with him a lot, after a year, because they changed the rules about how much you can talk with juniors. But [the NCAA] did give me some leniency so I could stay in touch with Austin. Jeff Meyer and myself, we have stayed in great touch with Austin over this time period. And you know what? He gives to us, too. He makes us appreciate what we have a whole lot more, because this young man is just terrific to talk to and speak with. It sort of puts our lives in perspective."