Even in the days leading into the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16, Michigan is trying to keep its players rested. After a heavy shooting day Monday, U-M coach John Beilein asked his players not to come to the gym today. Yet, because he expects they still will, he said they should only shoot free throws. There are five full days between Saturday’s third-round win over Texas and Friday’s regional semifinal against Tennessee (7:15 p.m., CBS), but Beilein plans on only two hard days of practice. “It’s a thing we’ve worked a lot on, more in the last couple years,” Beilein said on the “Shep in the Morning” show today on WDFN-AM (1130). “When you go back to the days of being in the mid-majors and low majors, you were trying to keep your team as fresh as you can to win your tournament, which was usually the last week of February and first week of March. Now, when you get to this level, you’re not only trying to win your tournament but win your league and stay alive as long as you can in March.” It’s a seasonlong strategy for the Wolverines, who were ruined by dead legs in 2012, when they wilted in two Big Ten tournament games and then were bounced by Ohio in their NCAA opener. Beilein has learned to push his players hard early and then scale back later in the season. “I don’t concern myself with it too much in February,” he said. “We have an off day, and maybe it’s 15 minutes shorter practice. If, in December, we’re going two hours before a game, now we’re going an hour (and) 45 (minutes). We try to cut it back and try to do what’s really important.” Another important aspect of the Wolverines’ process? Experience. Though they’re one of the youngest teams remaining in the tournament — only Kentucky has less experience —there’s familiarity from last year’s deep NCAA run. “When you go into these NCAA tournaments, there’s a comfort level of just knowing the landscape,” Beilein said on WTKA-AM (1050)’s “Michigan Insider” show. “That first time you ever go to the NCAA tournament, from the media interviews to the open practices, the attention and all the extra stuff, it’s hard to sort it all out. Last year, we had so many guys that it was new to, but the (Matt) Vogrichs and the (Josh) Bartelsteins and the (Tim) Hardaways, they got everybody sort of ready for it — the best they could.” The upperclassmen are passing on their knowledge to freshmen Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin. “I’m talking about the distraction,” Beilein said. “We’re comfortable before the game, knowing what’s up. And when the game starts, it’s like a regular game.”