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March 04, 1981 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-03-04

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N

Fish Tales
By MARK FISCHER

The Michigan Doily-Wednesday, March 4, 1981-Page 9
SPORTS OF THE DAILY
i
Women tumblers rolltng along

Six

losses later.. .
. .. is NCAA bid possible?

It was as if Bill Frieder and his Michigan cagers had met up with Ricardo
Montalban and were taking a trip on Fantasy Island.
There they were, a team previously picked to finish in the middle of the
pack at best, cruising along with a 16-3 overall record, a number 12 national
ranking, and a 7-3 conference mark which gave them a share of the Big Ten
lead. They were riding high on a four game win streak, and with less than
half of the league season remaining, a first class ticket to the NCAA playoffs
loomed pleasantly on the horizon.
But by now, six games and six losses later, the tie for first has turned into a
tie for sixth, the national ranking is long gone, and the ticket to the NCAA's
thas turned into nothing more than a stub for a longshot raffle heavily rigged
in favor of several other teams.
According to Coach Frieder, only two things really went wrong. The first,
he contends, had nothing to do with the Blue cagers themselves, per se, but
with the particular opponents they had to play during the losing skein, and
where they had to face them. The second came with the loss to the North-
western Wildcats in Ann Arbor.
"A great deal of it has been our schedule," he said. "You know, if you'd
have gone back last fall and looked on paper, you'd have probably predicted
that Illinois and Indiana and-Iowa on the road were going to be losses, OK, so
that's three of the six games."
Yet none of that explains the 74-70 home loss against Northwestern, the
league's poorest team, and one which Michigan whipped easily in Evanston
several weeks earlier. In fact, the only possible explanation behind the
Wolverines' baleful performance against the Wildcats at Crisler that Satur-
day afternoon has to lie in the team's travel foulups prior to the contest.
On their way home after a three-point (66-63) loss in Champaign to Illinois,
the roundballers were fogged out of Detroit's Metro Airport and had to land
in Cleveland, of all places.
As if that wasn't enough, the next morning's flight back to Ann Arbor was
cancelled due to fog. The team was forced to take a four-hour bus ride back,
and finally arrived in Ann Arbor at 6:30 p.m., which left no time for practice.
Both smooth travel and the Friday practice in between games, which is
usually part of the cagers' routine, apparently were sorely missed.
At any rate, the loss severely hurt Michigan's chances at an NCAA playoff
berth, as well as the team's image in the eyes of fans and other observers.
Instead of being 8-8 and in the throes of merely a two-game string of set-
backs, the Wolverines are 7-9 and in danger of losing seven in a row. Frieder
is well aware of these facts.
"What it (the losing streak) really comes down to is not a big turnaround,"
concluded the coach. "It comes down to (the fact that) we lost the North-
western game at home, which we should have won.
"That was very crucial to us," he continued. "Had we won that game I
don't think there'd be near the concern there is. But we didn't win it, so now
all of a sudden it's a six game losing streak. With that win and two games
coming up, we'd be in great shape, but we didn't get it."
No they didn't, and because of it, their chances of reaching the NCAA's are
slim at best. In order for such a long shot to materialize now, a number of
somewhat improbable events must take place.
First and foremost, Michigan has to win their last two games, which just
so happen to be against the two teams that - from the Wolverines' point of
view -- have to lose twice: Minnesota (Thursday) and Purdue (Saturday),
who are both 9-7. The Boilermakers must lose to Ohio State on Thursday and
Wisconsin must beat the Gophers on Saturday in order for Michigan to fin-
ish tied with the pair for fourth place in the conference.
Should this occur, the Wolverines would have the edge in the NCAA playoff
selection process by virtue of their perfect 9-0 non-conference campaign and
subsequent (hypothetical) 18-9 overall record.
However, even if this unlikely combination of Michigan wins and Min-
'nesota and Purdue lpsses should take place, it is still doubtful that the NCAA
would pick a fourth plee team with a 9-9 conference record, even if that con-
ference happens to be the Big Ten.
"It's a rare possibility," said Frieder of his team making the NCAA
playoffs. "I'd say the NIT's are much more realistic."

By BARB BARKER
"We gained a lot of respect, came
through where it counts, and finally
have shown ourselves to be a top rated
team-I couldn't have hoped for a bet-
ter week," said women's gynmastics
coach Sheri Hyatt.
The Wolverines competed in both Big
Ten and state tournaments over spring
break and scored their two highest
scores to date in each.
THE TEAM TOOK third place with a
135.5 in Big Ten Championships held
February 20-21 at Ohio State. Michigan,
who was rated fourth going into com-
petition, was able to beat out third
seeded Illinois and came within six ten-
ths of a point from catching second
place Ohio State. Michigan State took
first with a score of 140.
"We went in to beat Illinois and that's
exactly what we did. Ohio and Michigan
State had been scoring so high this
season that it would have been
unrealistic to think of a first or second
place. The fact that we came so close to
Ohio State is pretty impressive," said
Hyatt.
Michigan had four team members
qualify for the finals. Freshman Kathy
Beckwith took fifth place all-arounder
and second place in the vault. Junior
Cindy Shearon placed seventh in vault.
The Buckeyes' Donna Silber was first
all-arounder.
WITH THEIR all-time highest score
of 136.9 the Wolverines took a second
place behind Michigan State (138.9) in
the state championships at Kalamazoo
last weekend. This was the fifth con-
secutive year the Spartans have
finished at the top.

"It took us a while to warm up," said
Hyatt. "But after three events, we were
within a half point of Michigan State.
Although we didn't take first, I am
more than pleased with our performan-
ce. A 136.9 is more than we ever an-
ticipated scoring. And the scores are
what count overall."
Beckwith was first all-arounder,
taking top positions in both the beam
and vault events. Her 9.35 on the beam
was the highest score for this event that
she had ever received in her life.
Sophomore Angela Deaver was third
all-arounder.
BECKWITH ALSO attained special
recognition, receiving the All-State
vault and all-arounder awards.
"For these awards, the competitors
four top season scores are averaged
with her two top state meet awards,"
said Hyatt. "This award signals that
Kathy is very consistent. And it's con-
sistent people who make it to
nationals."
Women tracksters
disappoint
A disappointed women's track team
returned from the Big Ten meet at
Champaign, Illinois February 21-22,
having finished seventh in a meet coach
Ken Simmons had hoped to place fifth.
"We didn't do as well as we could
have," said Simmons, as several
unlucky events dashed the Wolverines'
hopes for a top five finish.
For example, the Michigan 4 x 220
relay team was in second place when
the anchor leg runner received the
baton, but she tripped and fell, as a
result Michigan lost eight points.

And Lori Thornton, a 20' long jumper
this season, could only manage a sub-
par 18'10%", which was still good for
fourth.
THOUGH PROBLEMS such as
"down" days and stomach cramps beset
other Michigan performers, several
runners had an outstanding day. Sue
Frederick ran to a Big Ten meet
record, recording a 2:08 in winning the
880. Lisa Larsen registered an im-
pressive "double," garnering fourth
in the mile in 4:53 and sixth in the three

mile with a 16:25.
This meet marks the end of the
season for most of the team, but several
will be going to the AIAW nationals at
Pocatello, Idaho on March 7 and 8.
Qualifiers for the meet are Thornton
(long jump), Weaver (5,000 meters),
Frederick (800 meters), a distance
medley relay team whose composition
is as of yet undetermined, and a 4 x 200
team of Thornton, Sharpe, Renee Tur-
ner and Brenda Kazinec.
--JOHN FITZPATRICK

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