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December 08, 1971 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-12-08

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Wednesday, December 8,;1971

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Nine

Wednesday. December 8. 1971 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Nine

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Wildcat
By GEORGE HASTINGS
A lot of experts have picked
Northwestern to finish tenth in
the Big Ten again this year, but
don't try to convince Wildcat coach
Brad Snyder of that. Snyder
scorns the preseason prognosti-
cators and declares "When teams
come to Evanston they'd better be
ready to play or they'll get beat."
At first glance, there might
seem to be little reason to take
the Wildcat coach seriously. For
the 1971-72 Northwestern squad is
starting the same group that
went downto asmiserable 3-11re-
cord and a Big Ten cellar finish
last year.,
And while there are some prom-
isingdsophomores. not one of them
as yet seems to be ready to step
in and take over a starting berth.
However, Snyder is basing his
optimism on a word which wasn't
used much around Evanston f o r
most-of last year: defense. He
feels that if the Wildcats c a n
develop a defense to go with their
scoring punch they can regain re-
spectability.

HIGH HOPES
stress

for the

Actually, the defensive trend
which has dominated Northwest-
ern plans this year began late
last year with the Wildcats mired
in last place in the Big Ten with,
a 1-10 record. The team was scor-
ing points at an acceptable rate,
but was giving them up at all too
fast a clip.
For the last three contests, then,
Snyder decided to pull his num-
ber-two scorer but defensively
poor Ron Shoger, and substitute a
strong defensive guard, P a u 1
Douglass, as well as generally re-
patterning his team to play a.
more defense-conscious game.
The results were gratifying.
First, the Wildcats took on the
leading Big Ten club, Ohio State,
and nearly pulled an upset, los-
ing by a low score of 68-67. Then
in their last two contest, t h e y
soundly defeated both Illinois and
Michigan State. The final three
game represented the only times
all year that the opposing side
had been held to 70 points or less.,
Snyder was convinced. "At the
first meeting with our team this
year, I told them that the guys.
who play he best defense will be
the five on the floor," he says. He
now feels that his defense has been
vastly improved, and that this will
mean a 100 per cent difference in
the play of his team.
Evidence of this change w a s
forthcoming in Northwestern'st
first victory of this year. After
droping their opener to highlyj

defense
The Wildcats are set at forward,
although they do not have a great
deal of height at that position.
Barry Moran, 6-5, Northwestern's
leading scorer and rebounder last
year, will man one spot, w h i l e
Rick Sund, 6-4, the Wildcats most
valuable player in '70-71, will hold
down the other post.
Backing them up are an exper-
ienced senior, Steve Berg, and a
sophomore who led the frosh team
in scoring, 6-5 Joe Otis.
There is a little more competi-
tion at guard, where three men
who played a great deal last year
and one sophomore are contend-
ing. Mark Sibley, a 6-1 junior Who
started all last year, has a lock
on one spot.
At the other post, Paul Douglass
has started the first two games
ahead of Ron Shogar, who is ac-
tually the Wildcats best shooter
and their second-leading scorer
last season. So far, Douglass' ex-
cellent defense and ball-handling
has kept him on top. Sophomore
Kevin Kachan is in reserve.
There are three in competition
for the center position. 6-9 return-
ing starter Barry Hentz retains his
starting role, scoring 38 points in
the first two contests.
But 6-8 Bryon Ashbaugh, a soph-
omore, has scored 11 and 12 points
in two brief relief roles, and must
be reckoned with. Greg Wells,
another sophomore at 6-7, is an
excellent rebounder who may well
fit into Snyder's future plans, as

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ranked Kentucky, 94-85, the Wild- rebounding has been a major weak-
cats stopped Mid-American con- ness so far of the Wildcat team.
ference power Ohio University ! Snyder feels that it is this com-
cold, 76-65. petition at all $ositions, the fact
In this second game, Northwest- that he has 10 or 11 men that he
ern made 49 per cent of their can count on, as well as the im-
shots, a fine performance, but it proved defense, that can bring his
was their defensive show that im- team out of the cellar. "If there's
pressed Snyder. "Our defense won a weak team in the Big Ten," he
the game," he insisted, and the says, "it won't be us."
statistics showed that Wildcat ---_ -_-
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of their shots and committing num-,entyour
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Another factor bolstering t h e Roommate with
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Northwestern is the only Big Ten
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from last season. In fact, the top
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