One of Michigan’s biggest tasks in the 2018 Final Four will be slowing down Loyola-Chicago’s offense.
The Ramblers’ scoring total doesn’t jump out on paper as they average 72 points per game. But Loyola shoots 50.9 percent from the field as a team, hits 40 percent of its 3-pointers and has five players who average at least 10 points per game.
Beilein, considered one of the top offensive minds in college basketball, is impressed with what the Ramblers are able to do with the ball. He said Michigan, which is ranked eighth in the country in scoring defense, is going up against “a thing of beauty.”
“I’ve been thinking the last few days. This thing is a thing of beauty,” Beilein told reporters Friday. “This is not Princeton in any way, but they cut on and off — they cut without the ball. They dribble with the ball. They post. I think having the great, not good, but great passing center has really had a great impact on them. And they’ve got shooters everywhere.
“Now, people have great offenses. Do they have people who can all shoot and all see the floor? That’s the real thing here. Their plays are pretty. But their concepts, the way the team runs their concepts is a thing of beauty.”
Below are some other highlights from Beilein’s Final Four press conference on Friday in San Antonio.
“I have some religious in my own family, aunts and great aunts and Kathleen’s aunt in our family. I have great admiration for them. I will tell you I have heard from many religious that I personally know that tell me their prayers are doing everything they can to counter Sister Jean. And I had a priest, not even at my own parish, stop mass at the end of mass on Tuesday and say, they have Sister Jean, you have everybody here praying for you. It’s been a lot of fun and it’s great.”
On Duncan Robinson’s transition from D-III player to Michigan…
“I watched his films extensively. A freshman leads his team to the final two, to the championship game in Division III. And I trust him with my assistants, former assistants, head coach at Williams was saying, said this makes sense for us. He fills a void of a shooter — and also knowing our strength coach, Jon Sanderson, could develop that body over time with a redshirt year.”
On one-and-done players not having much success in this year’s NCAA Tournament…
“It is difficult to win. I remember when Carmelo Anthony did it with Syracuse, and Duke did it a few years ago with some young kids. There may have been some other times where freshmen have dominated in the NCAA Tournament. It’s very few that’s really been able to happen. Kentucky had some success as well. I’m sure John would have liked to have been more experienced. Then they would have even more experience, but you can’t teach experience.”