Juwan Howard took the podium in the Crisler Center press room only a few hours after his Michigan Wolverines were ranked number 4 in the AP survey after being unclassified at this point in the season. His squad has an opportunity on Tuesday once again to show how it compares to the nation's elite as they travel to face the newly appointed No. 1 Louisville.
"They are a very good team, obviously, the rankings prove it," Howard told the media Monday afternoon. “They play very hard on defense and play with a lot of energy at home. Very good team in transition, they generate 15 points in transition, so we must return. In addition, we must protect the three point line. Their attackers do an excellent job when going out in transition for a tray to finish or make plays for others. This will be a great game in which we will have to take on the challenge by protecting ourselves one by one and returning to the transition. Last but not least, boxing on rebounds because they hit the offensive crystal very hard. "
Here is the rest of what Howard said about tomorrow's game and more:
When playing in a road game for the first time
"We plan to be in a difficult environment, we will enter the lion's den, I would say. They play extremely well at home and this will be our first time to be tested on the road in non-conference games. I am anxious for the challenge and I know our players are too. "
About the development of Jon Teske
"He is a great talent. He has a high IQ. He can shoot very well from the outside. I first labeled him as a stretch five, but I knew that, with his size, an area where he can improve is his internal presence. I think He has continued to work on it, not only in practice, but he has worked hard this summer. He will continue working on it and we will rely on him to score inside and out. I looked at Jon as one of the fundamental pieces of this team "He's a senior. He's a guy who has had the experience. Tested in battle. I played in a lot of big games and won a lot of big games. In his last year, he's been present. With that, I knew I had to take advantage of his set of skills and see what other areas he can improve on. He has been a great soldier accepting to learn and improve. "
In the AP ranking
"I saw him. My son called me and told me. I was excited and surprised, but I also felt that we had earned it. I agree with him. At the end of the day, it is early. The championships are not won now. Yes , we won a championship during the Thanksgiving game, but the NCAA championship in April, you still can't get there until you start playing the Big Ten tournament. We have many goals to try to get out and achieve. It's just one that we achieved ".
The focus of your team
“I have a very hardworking, humble, motivated and focused team that understands what we intend to do. We have always been very sacred and kept everything at home and in private about how we approach things as a family. We feel we have team goals that we are trying to achieve and we will continue driving and moving forward. "
About what you need to improve
“Defense, rebounds (and) sharing basketball. I think our offense can improve by improving each other by adding more assists, making plays for each other. As a coach, you are always looking for areas on how to improve as a group. You are never satisfied. I wake up early in the morning to work on how we can improve. I am sure that my players do the same. They care where we are as a group and all the areas in which we need to improve. They watch many films about teaching areas about how we can improve. We have a growth mindset and will continue to have that throughout the year. "
About Franz Wagner's debut games
"He has played very well with me, just maybe not in his own eyes. He probably felt the fact that the ball is not entering all the time for him. It takes time. It will not happen overnight when you only play three games in a row, you will play the way you normally play in the past, where the ball falls every time for you or your rhythm is playing and you feel very comfortable there on the floor. At the moment, it is not really in the form of basketball and it takes time to adjust that change of direction schedule, your body with those different types of movement.You can run on the court as long as you want.Without practice, you can go out on the treadmill and prepare for conditioning. against the cones. When you have that arm in the face or someone hits your body, that's a different level of play right there. "
About how your team has picked up the new system
"Our boys, being so young, are able to handle things in a very mature way as professionals in the way they approach their way of working, the way they go out and compete and how the areas they need to improve. They have the voice to talk and add, or something with which they don't feel comfortable or feel they need to improve, they have the platform to talk about that. We are a group based on solutions that are not only led by the coach but also by the player. having a guy like Isaiah, Zavier, Jon and Eli who have the experience of playing in big games, two of them were old people, the other two were rotary players who had many minutes, they understand what it's like to play on the road. experience, it would be great, as far as I know they will, teach our boys who haven't been to those great games before what to look for. "
- Howard praised the conditioning of Isaiah Livers and his physical transformation. He said that he is "connected in the right way" and that when his body is in the right way and so is his mind, good things will happen.
- Eli Brooks is "another coach" on the floor. He said Brooks is not afraid of being vocal and adding his opinion or asking a question.
- Howard called it "great" to line up with people like Roy Williams and Mark Few in the Bahamas last week. "There is always something here that you can learn from each and every coach, whether at the university level, the NBA or high school."
KFC Yum's game Tuesday night! The center in Louisville starts at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised nationwide through ESPN.