Should Michigan go inside more? John Beilein says that's a 'work in progress'
ANN ARBOR -- John Beilein's offense has changed a great deal since he's been at Michigan.
Beilein utilizes the ball screen more, he lets his athletes play and gives his ball-handlers the freedom to create on the fly.
But Michigan's inside game? Well, that's not all the way there just yet.
"A lot of things are a work in progress and what we see in practice we continue to work at.," Beilein said earlier this week. "Whether that's throwing the ball inside (or something else).
"We've got everything on the drawing board."
Prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, Beilein insisted that he would try to mix in a true two-post offensive set into his arsenal more this year than he ever has in the past.
And though he prefaced that two-post statement by saying "we've talked about it every year, and maybe it's wishful thinking," he still stood by that stance last week before tipping off against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.
With the return of a healthy Jon Horford, Beilein said he'd like to try and get more low-post touches with two post players on the floor against OSU -- a traditionally large, physical squad.
That didn't exactly happen, though, during the Wolverines' 56-53 loss.
Starter Jordan Morgan and freshman Mitch McGary combined for just five from the field -- they hit all five. And, neither player received so much as a look near the basket during the final six minutes of the game. Horford, meanwhile, played two minutes in his return from injury.
Maybe it was a matter of circumstance, as the 21-point hole Michigan dug itself into during the first half likely took the team away from its original gameplan. Maybe not.
Either way, Beilein wasn't too concerned about the lack of interior offensive touches after the game.
"We were averaging 80 points per game going into (Sunday's loss)," Beilein said. "Where we threw it to, who we threw it to, how we did it is not a big concern (right now).
"And why would it be?"
Beilein has a point there. Not only were the Wolverines humming along from a points per game standpoint, but Michigan has also spent the season as one of the most efficient offensive clubs in America.
Even after the Ohio State loss, Michigan entered Monday as the nation's leader in points per possession at 1.23.
And, even after the OSU loss, Michigan entered Monday as the national leader in offensive efficiency.
If it's not broke, why fix it?
Beilein's not completely subscribing to that logic, though, not as the Wolverines prepare to enter the heart of their Big Ten schedule.
Michigan's going to face strong, tough, physical squads who aggressively defend the perimeter and more this season -- and working the ball inside will be something Beilein says he'll explore.
But, at the same time, he's not going to do it just for the sake of doing it.
"Overall, when you have a game like (the Ohio State game) when you play a team with great perimeter defense, that certainly is an option we have to explore," he said. "They know what we're talking about with the Big Ten. All our games were physical, and the one (Sunday) was really physical.
"If your legs or your heart turns to peanut butter during that game, you won't get through it. If you're not able to take a bump, (play through) contact, stay on your feet or take a charge (you'll struggle). You've got to be able to do all those things."
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