Michigan stops 'playing not to lose,' continues to work on overall team toughness
He rarely gets in a player's face in public, and he almost never calls an individual out after a loss.
But he does have his own ways of toughening up a team. And apparently, after a week off and a win over Illinois, Beilein believes some of those tactics are starting to work.
"I saw that we were a team on a mission in the second half (against Illinois)," Beilein said Tuesday on WTKA 1050-AM. "A ball gets banked in at halftime, and that was probably the best thing that could have happened to us, to be down at the half.
"It would have been dangerous to be up 9 or 10 against those guys, then we're playing not to lose. We played to win, with real conviction."
After the game, Illinois coach John Groce said he felt Michigan out-toughed Illinois in the second half, plain and simple.
Groce's comment would have been almost unfathomable two weeks ago, as Michigan wilted against Michigan State's physical pressure during a 23-point loss in East Lansing.
Michigan was called out publicly for its lack of toughness in that game, and it was called out by Beilein, too.
Especially in practice.
"You can do all the technical things you want to do, but there's got to be a will to win," Beilein said. "We started implementing more 4 on 4 (scrimmages), and until you get two straight stops, you don't get out of there. ... Or, you just go run to the top of Crisler and come on back down.
"There's an intangible of 'I'm going to get this done.' That's something that, as you go through the year, you have to get big stops in games."
Beilein says he's put more pressure on Michigan in practice to work on getting consecutive defensive stops in practice. And additionally, working on three consecutive stops.
He also puts the team through defensive situations where, if any member of the offense gets two feet in the paint -- it counts as a point. Even if the shot misses, it's a fail.
Michigan knew it had to get tougher two weeks ago, and it's still a work in progress.
But right now, work is better than nothing.
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