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March 26, 2018

John Beilein

San Antonio, Texas

Q. Coach, I just wondered how you felt about playing in San Antonio; have you been down here before? What do you think about the Final Four being in San Antonio?
JOHN BEILEIN: That's a great question because it's a bit ironic. I think I've been to two Final Fours in San Antonio, and always felt it was one of the very premier places to have the Final Four. I'm an advocate of find, like, four good places and keep alternating every year, and San Antonio would be one of those four on my list.

Q. I wondered how you would characterize Charles Matthews' role on the team and his importance to the team?
JOHN BEILEIN: His growth over these two years that he's been with us has just been tremendous. You can be really good coaches, but you've got to have great students, and he's been a student of trying to learn every part of the game. One thing he did really well for Kentucky, I know, when he was there was defend. He's really done that really well.

But he's done a great job with us now working on improving his shot, his ball handling, everything. It's different when you're a freshman or you're third year in college. You should grow. But his attitude has helped him do that.

Q. And can you elaborate a little on how much you recruited him out of high school or the process of him coming to Michigan?
JOHN BEILEIN: I did not recruit -- we did not recruit him out of high school. I don't know if we were aware of him or what our needs were that year. Maybe that wasn't a need. And the process came where I didn't even know he was transferring, but Gary DeCesare, the coach of St. Rita's -- who I know, but we're not close -- we weren't close at all at that time. He just thought he'd be a really good fit for Michigan, and he called me after Charles had his release and asked if I had a scholarship, and I said yes, and we started to do our due diligence. I talked to John Calipari. He recommended him very highly and was a real classy gentleman about the whole deal.

After about a couple weeks he decided to commit to us and was in summer school.

Q. Kind of compare this team with the Final Four team back in 2013; do you see any differences with the two teams?
JOHN BEILEIN: Oh, there's a lot of differences. But I'm not good at comparing teams. They're both very good in very different ways. You know, you'd have to break down the stats to do that. For me, they all run together. They are very different, but I'm not going to get into one plays better defense or one shoots the ball or one has more talent. They both have found unique ways to win.

Q. When you look at Loyola, kind of like defensively, Loyola's defense is pretty good, and yours is, as well, what are some of the challenges you see in defending Loyola?
JOHN BEILEIN: They're a lot like us. They probably cut harder than us. They might pass the ball -- I think they have more assists than we do. They're just a really talented, experienced team that they've got a great plan, and they execute it as good as anybody we've seen all year long.

That's only after like three or four hours of video, of seeing this. They're a really exceptional offensive team, but they're equally as good on defense. You look at their stats both offensively and defensively in their league, they're No. 1 in both categories.

Q. I'm wondering, you've been to the Final Four, the other coaches except for Porter haven't. I wonder if there's any advice you would give to a coach like Porter, not necessarily on Michigan, but the idea of sort of preparing for a Final Four, anything at all like different about this week that is unique about this week that you don't know until you sort of have done it before?
JOHN BEILEIN: I think the magnitude of the media is -- I'm not talking about the publication of the media and all the blogging of the media. It's just the time demands on you and your student-athletes is immense, and if you get to the championship game, it's even more so. And that's something that -- it's our duty as college basketball teams and fans to satisfy those requests. But it is, it's a lot of the same questions over and over and over and over again, and you've just got to do it and do it the right way. Do not get frustrated by it because you will have enough time to plan if you plan your day right.

Q. This is your second time to get to the Final Four. We talked before, when you left Richmond, when you started coaching, your goal was to be in a position to get to the Final Four. Did you ever in your wildest dreams think you'd have two shots at the Final Four?
JOHN BEILEIN: Well, actually it never has been the goal to be in the Final Four. It would be nice to get there. If the goal was to do your best every day and try to mentor and teach every kid and it led to the Final Four, that's great. But it's never been the goal.

But getting there one time was certainly -- the way we did it with a last-second shot against Kansas to go into overtime and then being able to go and have some success. Knew that to get there you have to be very fortunate. There's great teams that don't get there, and it's not as much about coaching and players as somebody like Jordan Poole throwing in a 35-foot shot with his legs spread.

You're going to have those breaks some years, and you hope that -- another break we've had is very few injuries, if any, and you don't have those type of years. We've been hurt by that.

It's just great to be there, and we're just going to do the very best we can.

Q. Did I see that you're now a grandfather?
JOHN BEILEIN: Well, my daughter Seana has three children, three grandkids, and they live here in Ann Arbor, but Patrick that played there at Benedictine and West Virginia and his wife just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy yesterday morning, Thomas Patrick.

Q. How does that compare to getting to the Final Four?
JOHN BEILEIN: That was better than that. I mean, that was -- it came -- the next morning we found out via text. We didn't even know they'd gone to the hospital yet, and all of a sudden the picture of Thomas Patrick was on the phone. That brought tears to our eyes. Getting to the Final Four did not bring tears to my eyes. That did.

Q. We asked you back at the beginning of the season about the poll where you were named the cleanest coach in the country by a poll of other coaches, and you kind of laughed it off and said you showered twice a day in order to get that honor.
But I am curious, how much more fulfilling has this job been for you when you've been able to feel sort of a mutual respect with your peers and with the other coaches and when it hasn't been an adversarial relationship with most of them?

JOHN BEILEIN: Well, I think I represent hundreds of Division I coaches that are doing things the right way, and if people have that perception -- once again, that was not an exact poll, that was a very random poll, but we do do everything we can to make sure we follow the very spirit -- not just the NCAA rules, the spirit of the rules of the NCAA.

But if there's 360 coaches, there's hundreds of us doing it exactly the same way. Probably much too much made of that, but I'm very proud to be one of those many coaches.

Q. You mentioned some of the media who follow the Final Four. How do you feel about facing Loyola Chicago and kind of the attention they've gotten and Sister Jean and just that whole thing?
JOHN BEILEIN: Oh, it's fantastic. I went to a Jesuit college, Wheeling Jesuit College, Wheeling Jesuit University. I spent 14 years at two Jesuit schools, Le Moyne College for nine, Canisius College, and have a lot of admiration for the Jesuit education, and also for small colleges, small universities having this opportunity. I go way back to following Dick Tarrant's Richmond Spiders, and then obviously to have seen the great stories of the so-called Cinderella teams. They're not Cinderella anymore. When you win 30 games, you're not a Cinderella team, you're really good, and this team is really, really, really -- that's three reallies -- good. And everybody knows it that's played them, and those -- and I know that will be our biggest thing, to make sure our kids know that.

I can see where they'd be a really tough prep on one day between games. We've got our work cut out for us, and we'll do our very best.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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