When John Beilein Has Extra Time to Prepare...

Submitted by Mercury Hayes on March 24th, 2014 at 11:20 AM

When Beilein Has a Week to Prepare…

A wise man once said, When John Beilein has a week to prepare, there will be subs and it will be crazy. And looking at Michigan’s past games, that’s not really how the games go. Below, I take a look at how Michigan has performed against quality opponents with 4-7 days rest and prep-time. I have removed teams such as Long Beach State and Coppin State because it really does us no good to quantify.

2014 Non-Conference Games

Iowa State on the road with five days rest. Michigan loses 77-70.

Duke on the road with four days rest. Michigan loses 79-69

Arizona at home with seven days rest. Michigan loses 72-70.

Stanford at a neutral site with seven days rest. Michigan wins 68-65.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 1-3 in games after significant rest. However, we know that wasn’t the same Michigan team. Also, two road games and three contests versus the remaining Sweet 16 in which Michigan was 1-2.

2014 Conference Games

At Minnesota with five days rest, Michigan wins 63-60

At Nebraska with four days rest, Michigan wins 71-70

At home vs. Penn State with four days rest, Michigan wins 80-67

At Wisconsin with four days rest, Michigan wins 77-70

At home vs. Iowa with four days rest, Michigan wins 85-67

At home vs. Purdue with five days rest, Michigan wins 75-66

Against Wisconsin on four days rest, Michigan loses 75-62

At home against MSU on seven days rest, Michigan wins 79-70

At home vs. Indiana on four days rest, Michigan wins 84-80

Nuetral site vs. Illinois on six days rest,  Michigan wins 64-63.

For those of you keeping score at home, Michigan went 9-1 in conference when they had four or more days of rest. Overall, Michigan was 10-4 this season when having four or more days of rest, with a record of  4-2 vs. teams that remain in the Sweet 16 and 5-3 against teams that have made the tournament.

At this point the results are pretty inconclusive. While Michigan tends to win more often than not when they have extra rest, they’ve also won more games in general this year. There have also been outliers this year such as Duke and Wisconsin where the team has had significant rest and looked bad and quick turnarounds vs. MSU where the team has looked good.

Let’s look at some other games to see if we can note any more trends.

Previous tournament games under coach Beilein:

2014 vs. Wofford on five days rest, Michigan wins by 17

2013 vs. North Dakota State on 5+ days rest, Michigan wins by 13

2013 vs. Kansas on six days rest, Michigan wins in OT by two.

2013 vs. Syracuse on five days rest, Michigan wins by two

2012 vs. Ohio on 5+ days rest, Michigan loses

2011 vs. Tennessee on 5+ days rest, Michigan wins by 30

2009 vs. Clemson on 5+days rest, Michigan wins by 3

Again, we find Michigan with a winning record in tournament games with significant rest. Here, Michigan has gone 6-1 in the NCAA Tournament under coach Beilein when they have had a few extra days to prepare. However, there are once again outliers where Michigan doesn’t perform well such as there game against Ohio. On the other hand, there are games on minimal rest such as last year’s contests vs. VCU and Florida where Michigan rolls.

Moreover, when Michigan beats Kansas by two after a furious comeback, is that a win because John Beilein has prepared well? Or rather because Kansas faltered and Trey Burke hit a wild shot? One can make the argument that Michigan stayed close because of great gameplanning by the coaches. It is all up to interpretation.

And while these results are a bit inconclusive because of the varying factors involved in such analysis (road games, top-ranked opponents, injuries, etc.) the results do favor Michigan’s chances a bit when they have extra time to prepare. Overall Michigan is 16-5 this season and in the NCAA tournament over many years under John Beilein when they have significant rest. While 16-5 isn’t a sure bet to win, that’s damn good considering the teams that were played. Wofford may be the only cupcake on that list. And for every South Dakota State, there are a few blue bloods.

Needless to say, Michigan with an extra day this week (six days off vs. Tennessee’s five) certainly favors Michigan but having a good coach favors them a bit more.



March 24th, 2014 at 11:36 AM ^

I think this is one of those times when rest is a big deal.  Michigan, starting with the B1G tournament through Saturday's game, played five games in nine days.

Last week, on Sam Webb's show, Coach Beilein was saying that he thought that one reason we didn't do well with Staee in the B1G tournament was that the players were tired.  He went on to explain that often young players aren't as strong physically as older players, who are bigger and stronger. Captain obvious here, but I think the break may be good for us.


March 24th, 2014 at 11:45 AM ^

the problem with the analysis above is that it doesn't rate performance versus expectations.  so while losing to ISU, Arizona and Duke after significant rest times appears to belie the notion that with significant preparation Beilein wins, those teams may have just been better than UM regardless of time off.  the relevant question is how does he do with significant preparation versus other games with less significant time off, or versus expectations against the opponent generally.

Mercury Hayes

March 24th, 2014 at 11:52 AM ^

I completely agree which is why I mentioned so many factors going into this analysis. Is a 7 point loss on the road to a Sweet 16 team bad? It's not great, but it's not necessarily bad either. Same can be said for a close loss vs. the No. 1 team in the nation. That's why I think it is important to look at the overall body of work 16-5 against top notch teams is damn good. I liken that to our overall football bowl record or Rose Bowl record. Those games are against top teams but our Rose Bowl record is a losing one. You would expect that to be 50-50ish.


March 24th, 2014 at 12:54 PM ^

THJ wasn't lying.

Playing Saturday and not till Friday helps a little more.

I hope they talk Tenn. all week. They probably will just talk Kentucky and Louisville which is fine too.

Aside from the players and everything, I think Coach is having the best time of his life.

I'm so happy for everyone involved in the program.

snarling wolverine

March 24th, 2014 at 1:49 PM ^

One other data point: Beilein is 7-0 in opening-round BTT games (when he's always had ample prep time) but just 1-7 thereafter.  One consistent trend is that playing on 24 hours' rest is hard for us.  That generally only comes up in the BTT and the occasional Nov/Dec tournament, fortunately.  In any event, we are money in the first round of those things.




Mercury Hayes

March 24th, 2014 at 2:58 PM ^

This is a great point. Tired people can make defensive stops and dunk the ball. They can rebound and get steals. Tired people can't shoot. You spend your whole life shooting a ball a certain way and then all of a sudden you are dog tired and the shots are short. It is hard, and it is why we don't do well in long tournament situations. No excuses, it just happens.

That's why I wish we would have relied more on Spike and Irvin against MSU. Fresh legs.


March 24th, 2014 at 5:32 PM ^

I'd argue Michigan has been better in the second game of the NCAA weekends.  It seems that out of conference opponents have a tough time preparing for Beilein's offense in less than 48 hours.  Over the last 4 years, look at the opponents: Duke (L), VCU, Florida, Louisville (L) , Texas.  Michigan played well in all those game.  The two losses came against very good 1 seeds in close games.