The Wolverine

February 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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46 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2019 B efore Michigan's 64-54 loss at Wisconsin Jan. 19, the Wolver- ines had ripped off 17 straight wins to set a program record for consecu- tive victories to start a season. The 2012-13 squad, which reached the national championship game, had been the last to open with 16 straight. Head coach John Beilein was inevi- tably asked if he'd rather head into the postseason without a loss, giving his team the proverbial bull's-eye on its back, or if he'd like to drop one along the way. "That is a bad question, isn't it?" he said. "You don't want to lose. At the same time, if some losses come up along the way — and I'm pretty con- fident there will be some stumbles along the way — it can really be a good thing. We spin that with our team that we have grown through this success, but you can grow much quicker through adversity some- times. "We treat it like it is, to grow in every opportunity that you can. Our schedule is going to change. We've been very fortunate in league play to have four home games, two away, and both of those [away games] were rebuilding teams with a lot of fresh- men playing." Beilein's previous record-tying team that started 16-0 did it behind outstanding offense. This year 's squad is defense-centric — a lot like last year 's, probably even more so given that U-M lost its best three three-point shooters in Muhammad- Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Moritz Wagner and Duncan Robinson — and that was by design, Beilein said. "It had a lot to do with learn- ing more as a coaching staff about what our strengths are, what areas we needed to improve in," Beilein said. "… It came about a couple years ago when I said, 'You know what … we've been a top-level offensive team, but only 100 or so defensively.' "Now, there are 300-something teams, so it wasn't like we were lay- ing down and letting people score on us, but I sensed we were not go- ing to be as good offensively because we were rebuilding. The only one way we were going to win was the defense had to improve." So Beilein hired Billy Donlon, and he made a difference before leaving to join his friend Chris Collins at Northwestern. Assistant Luke Yak- lich picked up where Donlon left off, and the current staff of he, Saddi Washington and DeAndre Haynes have been "spectacular," according to Beilein. But there's one huge reason they've been so good defensively. "We also have Charles Matthews and Zavier Simpson who love to guard people," Beilein continued, talking about his redshirt junior wing and junior point guard. "That is who we are, and it has lot to do with the coaching staff, but also improvement by those two players. It's made a big difference."   MICHIGAN BASKETBALL Wolverines Break Program Record With 17-0 Start Head coach John Beilein insisted his team would learn from its first loss of the season, a 64-54 defeat at the hands of Wisconsin Jan. 19. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN 2018-19 MICHIGAN MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Time (ET) Nov. 2 Northwood (BTN+)^ W, 90-58 Nov. 6 Norfolk State (BTN)* W, 63-44 Nov. 10 Holy Cross (BTN+)* W, 56-37 Nov. 14 at Villanova$ W, 73-46 Nov. 17 vs. George Washington# W, 84-61 Nov. 18 vs. Providence# W, 66-47 Nov. 23 Chattanooga W, 83-55 Nov. 28 North Carolina& W, 84-67 Dec. 1 Purdue! W, 76-57 Dec. 4 at Northwestern! W, 62-60 Dec. 8 South Carolina W, 89-78 Dec. 15 Western Michigan W, 70-62 Dec. 22 Air Force W, 71-50 Dec. 30 Binghamton W, 74-52 Jan. 3 Penn State! W, 68-55 Jan. 6 Indiana! W, 74-63 Jan. 10 at Illinois! W, 79-69 Jan. 13 Northwestern! W, 80-60 Jan. 19 at Wisconsin! L, 64-54 Jan. 22 Minnesota (BTN)! 7:00 p.m. Jan. 25 at Indiana (FS1)! 6:30 p.m. Jan. 29 Ohio State (ESPN/ESPN2)! 9:00 p.m. Feb. 1 at Iowa (FS1)! 7:00 p.m. Feb. 5 at Rutgers (BTN)! 8:00 p.m. Feb. 9 Wisconsin (FOX)! Noon Feb. 12 at Penn State (BTN)! 8:30 p.m. Feb. 16 Maryland (FOX)! Noon Feb. 21 at Minnesota (ESPN/ESPN2)! 7:00 p.m. Feb. 24 Michigan State (CBS)! 3:45 p.m. Feb. 28 Nebraska (ESPN/ESPN2)! 7:00 p.m. March 3 at Maryland (CBS)! 3:45 p.m. March 9 at Michigan State (ESPN/ESPN2)! TBA March 13-17 Big Ten Tournament (at Chicago, Ill.) March 19-April 8 NCAA Tournament (at various sites) ^ — Exhibition; * — Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Tipoff Tournament, Campus Round; $ — Gavitt Tipoff Games; # — Naismith Memorial Basket- ball Hall Of Fame Tipoff Tournament in Uncasville, Conn.; & — ACC/Big Ten Challenge; ! — Big Ten Game

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