Michigan coach talks about growing from Saturday’s loss at Wisconsin and learning from those lessons heading into Tuesday’s game against Minnesota.
James Hawkins, The Detroit News
Ann Arbor — Michigan coach John Beilein isn’t afraid to admit he made a mistake.
After further review, Beilein said the officials were correct to call a Flagrant I intentional foul in the final minute of Saturday’s loss at Wisconsin.
“I was completely wrong,” Beilein said on Monday. “I actually remember the genesis of it is back in the old days when I was at Le Moyne and Syracuse had a bad foul shooting team. John Thompson and Georgetown would just grab Rony Seikaly and the game would take forever.
“I hadn’t seen it happen since then. It didn’t happen last year to Zavier Simpson or any of our guys that went through a foul shooting slump last year. It never happened.”
But it happened this past weekend. After sophomore forward Isaiah Livers hit a 3-pointer to make it a three-point game with 59 seconds left, Beilein instructed freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis to foul Wisconsin big man Ethan Happ, a 49-percent free-throw shooter, regardless if he had the ball or not.
Brazdeikis attempted to foul Happ when he caught a pass near midcourt. But when no whistle was blown, he followed Happ and swiped at his arms to draw a foul when the ball was on the other side of the court.
The refs blew the whistle and after a brief discussion called the Flagrant I intentional foul on Brazdeikis, which sent Beilein storming toward midcourt demanding an explanation.
While there’s no specific section in the NCAA rulebook for intentional fouls, it’s a variation of a Flagrant 1 personal foul and falls under the category of “fouling a player clearly away from the ball who is not directly involved with the play, specifically designed to stop or keep the clock from starting.”
The foul ended up causing a critical swing, with Wisconsin being awarded two free throws and the ball. Happ made one of two free throws and then put back his own miss on the ensuing possession to start a 7-0 run the Badgers used to close out the game.
“I said off the ball don’t make it look intentional,” Beilein said. “We actually don’t call it an intentional foul, we call it another name. When you’re trying to foul late in the game, I will tell officials we’re trying to foul. And we will try and foul and they will call the foul.
“I completely goofed. That was really a pivotal point in the game and they made the right call.”