With Eastern Michigan (6-3) ready to make the short drive to Ann Arbor to take on second ranked Michigan at Crisler Center, John Beilein and the Wolverines have used the time off wisely and are more than aware of what the Eagles are capable of. Despite their most recent blowout loss at Illinois-Chicago, Eastern, led by coach Rob Murphy, has beaten a Big Ten school in the early going.
“We’ve had four days here to both rest, lift weights, clean up a lot of things and then prepare for Eastern Michigan,” said Beilein. “I feel good about our preparation and really respect what Eastern Michigan has done so far by beating Purdue and by having the record that they have right now. We’re going to have to play good basketball.”
“They’re playing a very pesky 2-3 zone very much like Syracuse plays where Rob was an assistant coach. We’re going to have to shoot the ball, pass the ball well and we’re also going to have to defend them.”
The injury to Jon Horford, of which Beilein still didn’t have any definitive answers on Wednesday afternoon other than to say “no news is good news,” provides an opportunity for Max Bielfeldt and even senior Blake McLimans to grab some minutes in the rotation.
“The plan right now is Max and Blake as well could get minutes just because he plays well against a zone defense in particular and can do some of the things we might need,” said Beilein.
The Wolverines will need to use every bit of energy left in the tank heading into to a four-day holiday break. They’ll return to action on December 29th against Central Michigan. Beilein wouldn’t say his team is fatigued, but he can tell the time back home with family will be refreshing, especially for the underclassmen.
“We’ve talked to a couple of guys about things we’ve seen,” said Beilein. “Not, maybe, hitting a wall but they may be a little, not lazy, they’re not as prepared in a stance and doing things that you have to do. That’s usually a sign that hey wait a minute, we’ve been going at it for a while.”
“We all need a little break here over the holiday. Just, when you have so many freshmen playing, I know they’ll cherish those four days they’ll have at home.”
To watch video of Beilein updating the status of Jon Horford and more, press play below.