“Right now we’re boxing out anybody we see. If you get in that hallway on the way back I’m going to box you out,” Michigan coach John Beilein told a reporter. “They are tremendous offensive rebounders. Somebody asked me if it would concern you. It would concern the Boston Celtics if they had to box these guys out.”
Beilein, a former chairman of the NCAA’s ethics committee, claimed to have little knowledge of Pearl’s case because he’s been consumed with his own team, which lost to Ohio State in the Big Ten semifinals.
“Hang with me for one day _ I had to force myself to go to CNN sometimes just to follow the tragedy in Japan,” Beilein said. “It’s very hard to worry about anybody else’s issues right now.”
In his fourth season, Beilein has Michigan in the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years after a 10-year drought _ despite having no seniors. Behind sophomore point guard Darius Morris, freshman guard Tim Hardaway Jr., and Beilein’s complex offense, Michigan may have just enough momentum and depth to begin Tennessee’s offseason of uncertainty.
“The challenge of guarding John Beilein’s offense is much, much, much greater than the challenge of getting our guys through any kind of distraction,” Pearl said. “I promise you this.”