The war is on!
The Michigan Daily-Thursday, January 25, 1979-Page
Wolverines fight for state championship'
By GARY KICINSKI
Remember the days when lichigan
was mighty and the Spartans were
Nobody is quite ready to write off
those days as gone forever, but there
can be no denying that tlie Michigan-
Michigan State basketball rivalry has
taken on new dimensions.
For years the Wolverines had been
the dominant team in this traditional
rivalry. In the 70's the Spartans have
only topped Michigan three times in 16
meetings, and last year's 73-62 whip-
ping of the Blue cagers at Criser ended
a string of six consecutive Wolverine
TODAY, THE 4-2 Spartans storm into
Ann Arbor hoping to demonstrate that
the turnabout is complete. It is
Michigan which is the undisputed un-
derdog now, as the 2-4 Wolverines have
been struck by misfortune throughout
the current Big Ten season.
In fact, the game is now so one-sided
that the hoopla which surrounded last
year's memorable meetings is virtually
non-existent this year.
But don't think for a moment that the
Wolverines are sticking their tails bet-
ween their legs and searching out the
nearest dark corner. You've no doubt
heard it before: ' "Throw away the
records when these two teams get
The Michigan State basketball
renaissance began just prior to the 1977-
78 season with tie signing of Lansing
Everett's Earvin Johnson, possibly the
most-highly regarded prospect to ever
come out of a Michigan high school. It
was Johnson who singlehandedly tran-
sformed the spurious Spartans into the
spectacular Spartans, guiding them to
a Big Ten title and an NCAA Regional
final with his wizardry. .
IT IS THIS same Johnson who runs
the show for the fourth-ranked Spartans
this year, and is the man the
Wolverines must stop if they harbor
any hopes of an upset.
The superlatives never stop flowing
when Johnson's name is mentioned
around anyone knowledgeable about
collegiate basketball. "Earvin Johnson
is terrific. He's the best player in
America and the most valuable player
to his team in the country," said Orr.
Surprisingly, Johnson has taken
some criticism this year from writers
who have judged his performances to
be less-than-outstanding. But Michigan
State coach Jud Heathcote says that
Johnson too often is asked to do the im-
before experiencing foul trouble in the
home loss to the Spartans.
"When we went up to MSU Staton did
a great job on Johnson," said Orr. "We
came back here he did a great job and
then got three fouls on him in the first
half. We took him out with 1:59 left or
something like that and it was a real
close game and Earvin hadn't done
much. At the half they went ahead nine
and Earvin had 11 points. He just killed
.........Jay Vincent '
well, with an average of 7.6 boards per
THE SPARTANS' other starters in-°
elude 6-8 sophomore center Jay Vin-,
cent, 6-7 junior forward Ron Charles
and 6-2 senior guard Terry Donnelly.
Reserve sophomore guard Mike
Brkovich has really picked the Spar-
tans up lately, tallying a career-high 16
points against Indiana and 10 big points
in the near-loss to Iowa last Saturday.
Brkovich sunk two of his 10 points on a
pair of free throws with just three
seconds left to send the game into over-
"He's been in there down the stret-
ch," Orr said of the 6-4 reserve guard.
"He's a great shooter and has made
some key free throws for them."
Free throw shooting is one area
where Orr says his own club needs to
improve in order to get back on a win-
ning track. The Wolverines missed 11
cruciaf free throws in the nine-point loss
to Ohio State. "We need to concentrate
on our free throws and cut down on our
mistakes," Orr said.
IN AN ATTEMPT to eliminate son$e
of those mistakes, Orr has decided on
using his most experienced players
against Michigan State. Besides Staton,
senior Alan Hardy is back in the lineup,
with senior Phil Hubbard sliding back
to his center spot and Mike McGee an-
choring the other forward slot. ."We're
calling on our seniors to give us some
leadership," Orr said.
The Spartansrare notorious for their
aggressive zone defense, and it is likely
that zone-buster Marty Bodnar will see
plenty of court time as well. Bodnar ha'd
previously been the only Wolverine to
start in every game, and his 53 per cent
field goal accuracy will no doubt be
possible. Still, Johnson is undeniably
the catalyst on the club, and his stats of
14.6 ppg and 9.2 assists per game attest
In anticipation of Johnson's antics,
Orr has again called out the
guard-Michigan co-captain Tom
Staton, who will be starting in the back-
court tonight along with freshman
STATON LAST year turned in a
credible performance on Johnson
"Then we couldn't guard Earvin. He
went crazy in the second half. He dlid
everything but sweep the floor. But he
never did dominate us like that when
we had Staton in the game."
Johnson tallied 22 and 25 points in the
pair of match-ups last year, but State's
"other" superstar, forward Greg
Kelser, was also heard from, scoring 32
points in the two games. Kelser this
year is averaging 17.1 points per game
and is the team's leading rebounder as
WOLVERINE TALES. .. Tonight''
contest will be televised on Ch. 50 at 8
p.m. . . Injured sophomore Johnny
Johnson has started running again but' '
has not practiced. He might make the'-
trip to Illinois but isn't expected to play. L
until next Thursday against Indiana..
Tom Sta ton
SPORTS OF THE DAILY
Irish destroy Fordham
By the Associated Press
SOUTH BEND, Ind.-Notre Dame's
Bruce Flowers scored 18 points last
night, including eight in a row during a
14-point burst in the second half,
carrying the top-ranked Irish to an 85-53
college basketball rout of Fordham.
Notre Dame, 12-1, never trailed. The
Irish jumped off to an '11-2 lead, with
center Bill Laimbeer scoring six of
those points on two field goals and two
After that, the closest Fordham came
was 32-24 with 3:40 left in the first half.
The 6-foot-11 Laimbeer finished with
11 points, all in the first half, before
fouling out midway through the final
The Irish grabbed a 38-28 lead it half-
time, then outscored Fordhaln 7-2 in,the
first three minutes of the second half
for a 15-point lead. The Rams, 5-12,
came no closer than 12 points the rest of
Notre Dame built a 59-43 advantage,
then boosted it to a 30-point lead on
baskets by Mike Mitchell and Flowers,
two straight three-point plays by
Flowers and field goals by Kelly
Tripucka and Tracy Jackson.
Rich Branning added 13 points for the
Irish, while Orlando Woolridge chipped
in 12 and Tripucka 11.
Finley to sell?
NEW ORLEANS-Sports tycoon
Edward J. DeBartolo, a wealthy Ohio
businessman, has offered Charles - O.
Finley $12 million for the Oakland A's in
a move to bring the American League
baseball team to the Superdome, a
spokesman for DeBartolo said yester-
The offer was for cash and if accep-
ted, the A's could be playing in the
Dome for the 1979 season, said
spokesman Vincent Bartimo.
A source close to the deal, who asked
not to be named, said the total offer
would be $13 million, including $1
million from either the 13 other
American League baseball teams or the
San Francisco Giants, who now share
the Bay Area with the A's. Attendance
at Oakland has been disappointing,
even when the team was winning
Bartimo said something must be,
decided in the next 25-30 days U there is"
to be baseball in the Superdonie next
Notre Dame 85, Fordham 53
Duke 84, Virginia 66
Clemson 64, Furman 58 -
Texas A&M 57, TCUi 43
Vanderbilt 57, Florida 56
Nebraska 74, Oklahoma 65
Louisville 80, St. Louis 65
Arkansas 79. SMUJ 67
W. Kentucky 78. Dayton 72
Kansas 80, Iowa State 7t
Georgia 59, Mississippi 53
Eastern Michigan 87. Ball State 82
Central Michigan 81, Bowling Green 76
Washington 128, Boston 106
Cleveland 123, New Jersey 114
Washington S, New York Rangers i
"That's outside. That's stretching
it," said Bartimo. Major league teams
begin training camp late in February.
OTTAWA-A quota system limiting
the number of professional soccer
players allowed into the United States
this year may be a bad omen for
Canadian hockey players in the U.S.,
says Alan Eagleson, executive director
of the National Hockey League Players
"There will be more and more
restrictions with respect to foreign, in-
cluding Canadian, athletes in the U.S.,"
Eagleson said yesterday. "And the new
quota will provide the stimulus for fur-
ther restrictions in the future."
Eagleson was reacting to a U.S. labor
department announcement Tuesday
that 220 professional soccer players will
be admitted into the U.S. next year to
play in the North American Soccer
League, down from 245 allowed last
Daily Photo by ANDY FREEBERG
INTENT ON THE flight of a Wolverine jumpshot, Spartan guard Earvin Johnson breaks for the hoop in last year's loss
the Spartans at Crisler Arena. Senior Alan Hardy, attempting to distract the magic man, casts a spell of his own. The 2
Wolverines will need all the tricks in their bag to whip heavily favored State tonight at Crislet.
Connors McEnroe to
duelIn Grand Sam
By the Associated Press
NEW YORK-And the other match will be . . . Bjorn Borg and Guillermo
John McEnroe's name was picked out of a hat as the opponent for top-seeded
Jimmy Connors yesterday, allowing them to continue their tennis feud in the four-
man, $300,000 Grand Slam of Tennis tournament at Boca West, Fla.
Had Vilas' name been drawn, he would have played Connors, and there was a
possibility McEnroe and Connors would not meet in the two-day event.
Borg, winner of the Wimbledon and French championships, has not played
much since McEnroe beat him at Stockholm in December. Meanwhile, Vilas
qualified for the Grand Slam by wining the Australian Open on grass early this
Despite his victory on the slick grass, Vilas prefers clay-the surface being
used in the Grand Slam. Borg, who has won seven straight matches from Vilas
dating back to 1975, also favors clay.
The last time Connors and McEnroe exchanged forehands was in a
preliminary round of the Masters Tournament two weeks ago. McEnroe won 7-5, 3-
0, with Connors retiring due to a foot blister.
"I would rather have won by finishing the match," said McEnroe that night.
"But a victory over Connors is a victory over Connors, and I won the match."
But the 19-year-old McEnroe, who had scored his first triumph over Connors in
five career meetings, did admit: "I don't think one-match changes around that
he's No. 1 in the world."
Connors, 26, the U.S. Open champion, said the injury had hampered his
movement and hurt him psychologically. IHe laughed off the suggestion that
McEnroe had replaced him as No. 1.
"It's only January. We have a long time to go."
The winners of the semifinals meet in the finals on Sunday, Feb. 11, and play
for a $150,000 check, biggest in tournament tennis.
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