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January 09, 1981 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-09

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12-Friday, January 9, 1981-The Michigan Daily
Freshmen spur.
prolific scorer and passer. The smooth 6-10 cen-
By SCOTT M. LEWIS ter from Chicago has carried a 20 points-per-
Second in a three-part series game average throughout the season, hitting an
If you're like most Big Ten basketball astounding 71.4 percent of his field goal attem-
followers who didn't believe Purdue could com- pts.

pete in the conference without star center Joe
Barry Carroll this season, start believing now.
Contrary to pre-season notions, the Boiler-
makers are still a fine ballclub, one which may
make an assault on the Big Ten leaders. Other
teams which, if everything goes right and if a
few breaks fall their way, might find themselves
sitting at the top of the conference include
Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota, the
Wolverines' opponent Saturday night.
COACH BILL Frieder of Michigan wasn't sur-
prised by Purdue's strong showing Monday
night, although he certainly didn't figure his
team would allow the Boilermakers to shoot over
75 percent from the field as they posted an 81-74
win. "They have four players (guards. Brian
Walker and Keith Edmonson and forwards
Drake Morris and/Mike Scearce) returning from
a team which made the NCAA Final Four last
year, and they've added Russell Cross," noted
Frieder after Monday's defeat.
Purdue's fast start (8-2 overall) can be at-
tributed largely to the emergence of Cross as a

Even more impressive than the scoring
figures, however, is the, manner in which Cross
conducts himself on the court-unflappable,
level-headed and with great court awareness.
He's also not a moody individual, as was his
predecessor in the pivot, Carroll.
NEW COACH GENE Keady, a master
recruiter who in April became the third Purdue
coach in the last four years, foresaw a reboun-
ding problem which hasn't yet surfaced,
although it may tomorrow night when Ohio State
invades Mackey Arena.
Keady has installed a new system designed to
spring players open under the basket. "We've
worked very hard on it," he said early in the
season. The hard work paid off during Purdue's
Big Ten Opener as many Boilermaker baskets
were of the lay-up variety.
THE NEW COACH has his team ready for the
Big Ten season, a fact which was painfully
evident to Michigan Monday night. Both Purdue
defeats this season came on the road and were
administered by excellent teams, Tennessee
(ranked 13th by AP) and Tulsa, which has lost
only one of its first ten games. People who in
November were writing off Purdue as a
legitimate candidate for a post-tournament ber-
th may want to re-evaluate their predictions.
One team for which success WAS predicted is

Big Ten
Illinois (8-1 entering last night's game at North-
western, 34-3 in non-conference games since
1978). For the past three years the Illini, coached
by affable Lou Henson, have been stockpiling a
wealth of talent, but each season they fall con-
siderably short of pre-season expectations.
After finishing 1980 with a 8-10 Big Ten record,
Henson went out and landed two top guards
Derek Harper and Craig Tucker. The former,
one may recall, is the youngster from Florida
who was wooed by Frieder and Johnny Orr and
nearly came to Michigan. Harper was expected
to step in and direct the Illinois offense from the
point guard spot, where the departed Reno Gray
played erratically last season.
The Illini (ranked 12th by AP) are strongest at
forward, where seniors 6-8 Eddie Johnson and 6-7
Mark Smith form what may be the nation's best
combination of forwards. Johnson, who in all
likelihood will be a first or second-round NBA
pick in June, is averaging close to 20 points and
11 rebounds per game, while Smith is scoring at
a 15.6 clip. Junior James Griffin and senior
Derek Holcomb share the pivot position.
How far the Illini go this season depends
primarily on the performance of the backcourt,
namely Harper, Tucker and junior Perry Range.
Johnson and Smith both had excellent 1979-80
seasons, but the team still finished tied for sixth
in the conference.
"Last year our guards didn't have the ability
to go out and pressure the opposition," said
Smith. "This year we do. Not too many teams will
be able to pressure our guards out of the game."

sleepers
JOHNSON CONCURS. "Our guards, ob-
viously, are really improved, as is Griffin," he
said. "We needed a player to initiate the great
play, make the great pass. Now we've got one in
Harper."
Minnesota coach Jim Dutcher figured he had a,
good chance of bringing Harper to Minneapolis.
The Gopher coach has had success recruiting in
Florida, his roster featuring three players from
that state, including guard Darryl Mitchell, the
team captain who attended the same high school
as Harper in West Palm Beach.
Mitchell knew differently. "Derek and I are
pretty close at home," he said. "I knew that he
would want to play against me, rather than with
me. He's a very competitive person."
UNLIKE ILLINOIS, which desperately needed
help at guard, Minnesota's backcourt is sound
with Mark Hall and Mitchell. So, for that matter,
is its entire team, which is ranked 19th and 14th
by AP and UPI, respectively. Dutcher's group,
(8-1, not including last night's game against
Wisconsin) has already defeated North Carolina
and defending national champion Louisville, its
only loss coming at home last month to Marquet-
te.

4

r
,

I,

A

. freshman sensation

Despite the absence of seniors, the Gopher
lineup is well-seasoned, talented, and extremely ,
big. "They're a tall team, the tallest in all of
basketball," said Frieder. "I think they're one of
the top five or six teams in'the country."
TOMORROW: Wisconsin, Northwestern,
and Michigan State.

r: '
,:

College Basketball
Indiana 55, Michigan State 43
Illinois 88, Northwestern 64
Ohio State 38, Iowa 56
Minnesota 76, Wisconsin 60

ORES
South Alabama 92. UNC-Charlotte 61
NHL.
Boston 7, Detroit 4
NBA
Indiana 116. New York 115, OT

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January 12, 1981

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