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December 09, 1975 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1975-12-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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By JEFF SCHILLER i the type of troubles that havei
Maybe Pavlov had some- plagued Michigan basketball
thing when he did those experi- teams during their road per-
ments with dogs. Whenever I formances of the past few
hear a foghorn, I immediately years. And, if you believe theI
think of Iowa City, and the record, the Wolverines havej
rauccous noisemaker they use done better than most. Last
to signal time outs and substi- year's team finished with a
tutions during basketball games 4-5 away mark against Big
there. Ten opponents; uninspiring,1
That infernal device blaredI until you stop to consider that1
often during the final four min- only Indiana had a better.
utes of Michigan's 75-70 road: road record.'
victory over Iowa last January. Why is it so tough to win3
The Wolverines were in the away from home? Superficial'
process of dissapating most of: analyses always claim that the'
an 18 point lead, and Johnny crowd bothers visiting players,I
Orr was desparately trying to or that travel tires the visitors1
halt the momentum the Hawk- ! out. In fact, though, Steve,
eyes were building. Eventually Grote denied even hearing the
the surge fell short, and the crowd noise when he missed
Michigan cagers emerged tri- the front end of a crucial one-
umphant. and-one at Tennessee Saturday
That game is indicative of ' night, and the cagers arrived
- Knoxville almost a day-and-
a-half before their scheduled
The home court advantage is
BILLIARDS not inexplicable, however. You
just have to go beyond simplis-
BOWLING tic explanations to discover the
reasons for its existence.
and One is that basketball
courts are often tailored to
PINBALL fit the needs of the home team.
At Minnesota, for example,
OPEN REGULAR HOURS there is a large 'dead spot'
at each end of the floor, stra-
tegically positioned to slow
during study and exams down a running team's fast{
break. When Bill Musselman
at the UNION coached the Gophers, theyI
were always larger and slow-
er than their opponents. The

dead spots emphasized Min-
nesota's height by reducing
each opponent's speed advan-
The home team can also take
advantage of the weaknesses of
a particular opponent by LEG-
ALLY tampering with the game
equipment. The basketball can
be inflated to any weight be-
tween 7% and 8 ounces; the
lighter ball has more give' and
help teams with soft shooting
touches, while the heavier ball
will bound higher off the rim
giving the edge to a leaping
team. The hosts can scout each
team, and inflate the ball ac-
Preparation and familiarity
with the equipment are also of
major importance. Different
backboards influence a team's
shooting performance - know-
ing the type of bounce the ball
will take is obviously an ad-
vantage. Different type sur-
faces such as Tennessee's com-
position court can affect the
ballhandling of players not used
to them.
The crowd is an important
factor too, though not because
of its effect on the opponents.
Fans do have a definite im-
pact on the referees, who of-
ten are subconsciously push-
ed toward the popular side.
One seldom hears coaches
complaining about the offic-
iating after a home game -
if the refs call them against
you at home, you probably
deserved what you got.

The crowd can also help by
exerting a positive influence on
the home team's players. Ath-
letes, like other performers, re-
spond to an audience. The more
appreciative the audience, the
greater the motivation to con-
tinue in the same vein.
Finally, the limitations on
traveling squad size can hurt
the visiting team. Long games
(overtimes) work in favor of
the home team which has a
greater supply of fresh bod-
ies it can utilize in time of
need. The limitation can
also hinder pre-game prepara-
tion ---,if someone on the tra-
veling squad gets hurt (under
this year's ten man rule), the
visitors don't have enough
healthy players to scrimmage
In light of the preceding ar-
guments, Michigan's one point
loss to Tennessee Saturday
night represents a truly im-
pressive performance by the
Wolverines. Facing the na-
tion's eight ranked. team,.
watching that team sink two of
every three shots from the
floor, and on the road to boot,
Michigan almost pulled off a
win. More than anything the
Wolverines showed against
Vanderbilt at home, their show-
ing at Tennessee marks them
as definite contenders for post-
season honors.

AP Photo
THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS lost more than a football game last Sunday. While the San Diego
Chargers were claiming their first victory of the season, 28-20, it was discovered that veteran
quarterback Len Dawson broke a bone in his right thumb. The 40-year-old Dawson was play-
ing in his 18th year, but the injury may force him to retire.

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