WEST LAFAYETTE — Michigan basketball games are apparently not for the faint-hearted.

After the team’s 66-64 victory at Purdue on Tuesday night, Beilein took his seat in front of the media, let out a sigh of relief and quickly noted that four of his team’s last five games have come down to the final second. As his squad was celebrating the win in the locker room down the hall, the 58-year-old coach looked worn out by the team’s grueling Big Ten schedule.

A two-point overtime victory over Northwestern. A one-point win over Michigan State. A heartbreaking two-point non-conference loss at Arkansas. And then this — the team’s first true road win after eight lead changes in the final nine minutes — a two-point victory at Purdue.

There’s little doubt that Beilein has picked up a few extra gray hairs in the past few weeks.

You could see it in his face after watching his team blow a 10-point second-half lead.

The Mackey Arena crowd came alive. Michigan looked flustered. Robbie Hummel blocked a shot and scored at the other end to give his team a four-point lead. Beilein looked up at the scoreboard, concerned, and called a timeout.

Here we go again.

But this time, Beilein’s guys battled, and you have to tip your cap to the coach.

Yesterday, he showed his team clips of New York Giant quarterback Eli Manning’s riveting performance against the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s NFC Championship. He lectured his players about being resilient in the face of adversity, just like Eli was when he was knocked to the ground on pass after pass.

So exhale, coach. You deserve it. You got your guys to play like road warriors for the first time this season. They outshot, outrebounded and outhustled the Boilermakers all game long, and they did it all in front of a raucous opposing student section.

Breathe that sigh of relief.

But don’t get too comfortable. In fact, maybe don’t even take your shoes off when you get home, because the truth is that Michigan has hardly touched the heart of its conference schedule.

There’s no doubt that the Wolverines have impressed early in conference play — its 6-2 record so far is tops in the Big Ten and worlds better than it’s 1-6 start a season ago.

But if you really want to prove you belong at the top, and that you can win against anyone, anywhere, then now is your chance.

There’s no time to reflect on this win. No room for complacency.

On Sunday, Michigan travels to Columbus to take on No. 4 Ohio State, where Beilein has never won. Then, the Wolverines come home to play No. 16 Indiana, where they can avenge a two-point loss they suffered earlier this month in Bloomington. And then they hop on the bus to East Lansing, where No. 10 Michigan State will be looking for blood after dropping three straight contests against Michigan.

It’s a murderer’s row of Big Ten opponents that’ll be nearly impossible to come away from unscathed.

And Beilein can pretend all he wants that he doesn’t know what’s coming. After the game on Tuesday, he claimed that he only knew the Buckeyes were coming up this weekend because his wife told him that she wants to make the trip with the team.

I don’t buy it, not for one second.

But if Beilein really doesn’t know, I’m certain his players do. In the locker room, a number of them talked about how the win at Purdue was a huge confidence booster going into the heart of their Big Ten schedule.

So it’s time to embrace it, coach. You want to prove that you’re built to last in this league?

Don’t kick your feet up just yet. Go prove it now.

— Pasch can be reached at lpasch@umich.edu.

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