NCAA Tournament 2018: What John Beilein said after Michigan’s win over Texas A&M

Michigan basketball is headed to the Elite Eight on Saturday after a dominating 99-72 win over Texas A&M on Thursday night in the Sweet Sixteen.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman led the way for the Wolverines with 24 points while Moe Wagner had 21. The Wolverines held serve wire-to-wire and built an insurmountable lead, going into the break up 52-28. Of course, the Aggies tried to get back into it in the second half, but could not climb the mountain as the Wolverines kept their foot on the pedal.

After the game, coach John Beilein met with the media to discuss the win and moving on to the Elite Eight.

Here’s what Beilein said.

Beilein spoke quickly on TV after the game and made a point to harp on his team’s assist numbers (it had 21) and also gave a ton of credit to Abdur-Rahkman, saying he’s a great example of a college basketball player.

He was then asked his thoughts on going to the Elite Eight and said this:

“It feels pretty good. There’s been a lot of great teams that go there. We’re just proud to be Michigan. Greatest university in the world.”

Here’s some snipits from his press conference:

On preparing for games:
“We’ve got really good players. They have grown over the year and they allow themselves to be coached a great deal. You could be out of tournaments quickly in one day. That Houston game. I’d be home right now. You’ve got to get breaks sometimes… If you look at the story of teams, they just get hot. I look at every year differently, but we’ve got a special ingredient here.”
On what it feels like during a semi-easy win:
“It never feels easy to the coaching staff…You can have games where everything’s happening your way but you’re just trying to get through the game. Survive.”
Beilein did say he preferred winning that way, though.
On having a strong offensive game after last weekend:
“That was a big question. Let’s credit Montana and Houston they played us well. Mohammed-Ali Abdur-Rahkman had the same shots he had last weekend that didn’t go in. It just happens. There’s no secret formula.”
On unselfish play (21 assists):
“It’s something that we recruit a culture that we’re united and we really work at that. We really value the assist as much as the shot. The other thing about the assist, the pass has to be on time and on target.”
On Duncan Robinson/his defense:
“One of the biggest thing is the way that he’s guarded the ball screen. We haven’t switched as much with him.”
Beilein said Robinson is small but has been playing well in the post and is now one step ahead of the offense after coming in one step behind. He also noted Robinson carries his play from offense to defense if he’s having a bad night, he will make sure he shows up on the other end.
He also touched on how special it’s been for Robinson.
“The kid went to the championship game at Williams. Now he’s been to a Sweet Sixteen and an Elite Eight. He’s had a pretty good four years.”
On how he will coach his team tomorrow:
Beilein said video will be 30 minutes of Michigan, 30 minutes of whoever the team is playing.
On playing for the crowd a bit:
“This felt like Madison Square Garden for us. We have such a great presence in California. It felt like Michigan.”
Beilein also thanked the fans for their support.
On walk-on CJ Baird’s 3-pointer:
“I didn’t watch him. He put his fingers up and I watched our bench. That shows you. When you have a non-scholarship player that the team likes as much… Here’s a kid who started out as a manager… He’s brilliant. Close to a perfect score on the SAT. He just goes into the game and he just gives us buckets in practice too. Those are great moments. Those are the ones I may remember more than others.”

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