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March 15, 1985 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-03-15
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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

T rne

w V V V. V V

.

(Contioued from Page 3)
club has the talent to play the
Wolverines even.
Dayton (19-9) will be playing on its
home floor. Michigan toppled the
Flyers, 76-67, on that court early in the
year but both teams have improved
since then. Don Donoher's starting five
doesn't have the size to match-up with
the Wolverines' front line of Tarpley,
Rellford, and Butch Wade but, then

showed a national television audience
how good it is-at the Jayhawks' ex-
pense. Led by a stunning performance
by Grant, the Wolverines rolled, 96-77.
On that day, there was no question who
was the better team.
Purdue and Notre Dame are two
teams in the Southeast region who are
more than capable of pulling a surprise.
No one else is.

Will the upstart Wolverines be happy
with three or four tournament wins. No
way, says Antoine Joubert.
"I feel if we get halfway and lose, the
goal is not finished," the sophomore
said. "So going all the way is my goal."
It may not be likely but maybe it's
time to stop doubting.
Rellford was talking "all the way"
two months ago.

the high school All-American commit-
ted to Michigan in 1982. Relationships
between the two programs have been
strained ever since.
The Terrapins feature second-team
All-America Len Bias and high-scoring
guard Adrian Branch. Maryland coach
Lefty Driesell is always entertaining as
he often makes little or no sense in the
manner of Sparky Anderson.

1 -1

j/ /J?- ,^/L
/ y
/ ,I
V

full court

PRESSI

By JEFF BERGIDA
Richard Rellford said it after a
victory over Michigan State in
January. At the time, Michigan's
basketball team was 13-3 (5-2 in the Big
Ten) and was not even considered a
remote national contender.
Asked how good his team could be,
the loquacious Rellford responded,
"Hey, I'm talking Big Ten title. I'm
talking Kentucky. If this team plays
together, we can go to Kentucky."
BACK THEN, the people who heard
him laughed. They're not laughing
anymore.
Bill Frieder's Wolverines followed up
the MSU win, their fourth in a row, with
12 more W's. Michigan left the rest of
the league in its dust, taking the Big
Ten crown by four games. It enters
today's first-round -NCAA tournament
game at Dayton against Fairleigh
Dickinson ranked second in the nation.
If the tournament's selection commit-

far

I

I

cani

g

'I never heard anything
about Harley Dicker-
son. Are they a good
team?'
-Michigan center
Roy Tarpley

again, nobody expected Dayton to upset
Oklahoma, LSU, and Washington in last
year's tourney.
IF THE Wolverines advance to the
round of 16 in Birmingham, Alabama,
they will likely face either LSU or
Maryland, seeded fourth and fifth
respectively.
Both pairings would be interesting.
Louisiana State coach Dale Brown
engaged in some questionable
recruiting tactics with Relford after

On the other half of the Southeast
region, the favorite is Dean Smith's Tar
Heels, 1982 National Champions.
Despite losing Michael Jordan and Sam
Perkins to the NBA, Smith's team has
won 24 times against eight losses.
Carolina's starters include center Brad
Daugherty, guard Kenny Smith and
three guys named Moe.
THE THIRD-SEED, Kansas (25-7),
may still be suffering nightmares about
January 27. That was the day Michigan

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Li w OMSHARE .

Te surprise of success*...
.. ,in-Grainy's itself in minds
By TIM MAKINEN
H E WAS CALLED "Grainy" because of a certain coarseness in his nature.
Definitely a likeable guy, no one ever intended harm to Grainy by
hanging such a demeaning label on him. But a few years ago when he went
without shaving and showering for a week and a half just to see what it was
like, the nickname stuck.
At 5-9 and 220-plus pounds, Grainy did not have the physique to play
basketball. The legs werecsurprisingly skinny while the enormous midsec-
tion protruded over shorts constantly in need of being pulled up.
It was a body designed, or rather conditioned, for sitting on the sidelines,
slurping down an icy brew, and certainly Grainy did enough of each. Yet
every Wednesday evening in the refreshing air of Spring or the balmy haze
of Summer, he would also show up at the gray cement court determined to
play some hoops.
Except perhaps for comic relief; no one really wanted Grainy on his team.
One simply couldn't expect much good to occur no matter how hard the
scrubby wonder tried to play.
Until one day that is. The game was tight, tempers were becoming mildly
frayed, and the long shadows of the setting May sun gripped the court. Then
came Grainy. Charging the length of the court, he nabbed a pass, twisted,
and literally flew to the basket where his off balance shot rattled the steel
backboard, clanged around the rim, and fell through the mesh net.
The game ended. The "Flying Grainy", as it became known, had defied
physics. The man had gone higher and faster than thought possible, and
nothing was left to do. In the soft Spring breeze a bond had been created
between everyone on the court the evening of Grainy's magic.
If Winter comes...
It is the dead of Winter and the Michigan basketball team walks off the
court. The skyscraping athletes are feeling mighty low. Above, the stadium
scoreboard flashes the depressing news of a humiliating loss to Indiana.
A week later the Wolverines lose their second contest in three conference
games. Plans are made for a trip to Florida over the Spring Break, figuring
that by late February Michigan may be fighting for fifth or sixth place in the
dense midsection of the Big Ten standings.
Florida is an artificial haven to all but those who live there, a false Spring
whose warmth and sunshine lack the inspiration and hope of the changing
seasons. But in the gloom and slush of January, nobody wants their Spring
break to depend on an unpromising Wolverine basketball team. No matter
how hard Michigan tries, nothing good can come of its efforts.
The trip to Florida was never made. It became-unnecessary as the
Wolverines generated their own warmth and joy on the springy wooden floors
of the Big Ten arenas.'
Gelling together into a cohesive unit the likes of which has rarely been
seen even in Michigan's vaunted athletic tradition, the players have defied
the logic and predictions of the critics and fans. Like Grainy, the Wolverines
have climbed higher and farther than thought possible.
Already the coveted Big Ten title carries the Michigan name. An extended
winning streak casts its fiery glow into the hearts of players and fans alike.
No national poll escapes the brand of Michigan upon its higher reaches.
A bond has been farmed between the players and those who witnessed the
Wolverines turn theirmagic on the court, the same bond that joined the
stunned onlookers who saw Grainy defy gravity.
All has not been completed yet. The Wolverines now enter the NCAA
playoffs in pursuit of loftier goals, a Final Four berth or perhaps even a
national championship. The laws of physics rarely break down though, and
there may be limits to how far this squad, a team which no one thought could
possibly perch atop the Big Ten, can go.
Regardless of whether Michigan bows out in the first rounds or makes it to
the finals in Lexington, however, the cold and dreariness of Winter has
become a distant thought, replaced by memories of warm evenings in
Crisler Arena.
And by the time this magical basketball season ends, Spring and "Flying
Grainys" cannot be far behind.

"I DON'T know anything about
them," echoed superfrosh Gary Grant,
the man who was the final piece in the
puzzle, "but they must be good. They're
in the NCAAs."
You don't necessarily have to be good
to make the tournament. FDU com-
piled a 21-9 record in winning its league
championship but nobody is confusing
the ECAC Metro with the Big Ten or
even the Midwestern City. Two
previous NCAA representatives from
this league, Robert Morris and Long
Island University, exited quickly the
past three years.-
Frieder, naturally, is "taking them
one at a time."
"WE'RE NOT going to overlook
them," he said at Sunday's press con-
ference. "I know from experience that
when teams get in the NCAA tour-
nament, it's a new lease on life. They're
ready and they shoot for the teams that
are rated in the country."

tee is accurate in its seedings, the Big
Ten Champions will be spending the
last weekend 'of March in lovely
Lexington, Kentucky, right where
Rellford said they couldtbe.
The number-one seed in the Southeast
region, Michigan will have to oust a
number of quality teams to make it to
the University of Kentucky campus.
Stiff competition will be provided by the
likes of North Carolina, Kansas,
Louisiana State and Maryland.
THE Wolverines clinched their
school's first NCAA berth since 1977
when they defeated Wisconsin on
February 28. That victory sealed the
Big Ten title and the automatic berth
that goes with it. Even before that,
there had been quite a bit of speculation
about where the team would be playing
once post-season action got going.
The guessing came to an end on Sun-
day when the 25-3 Wolverines stepped
off their plane at Willow Run Airport,
still basking in the glory of a 73-71 win
at Indiana. Frieder got off the plane and
onto the team's bus just in time to grab
a battery-operated television and watch
Brent Musburger and Gary Bender of
CBS slobber over the NCAA field of 64.
"We were scared we'd lose the recep-
tion if we moved so we didn't (move),"
said the national coach-of-the-year
candidate. "We listened to it and I
called out each pairing as they went.
"OUR KIDS were quiet on the plane...
But when I hollered Michigan-Fairleigh
Dickinson, they really cheered."
And rightfully so. Fairleigh-
Dickinson, located in fashionable
Teaneck, N.J., is the champion of the
ECAC Metro conference. The Knights
will show up for their execution but the
Wolverine players' lack of familiarity
with the team demonstrates the humor
of this "match-up."
"I never heard anything about Harley
Dickerson (sic)," said Roy Tarpley, the
heavy favorite to be Big Ten player-of-
the-year. "Are they a good team?"

Logically, Michigan will beat the hell
out of Fairleigh. It will then have a
much tougher second-round opponent,
the winner of the Villanova-Dayton
game. The Wildcats (19-10) have been
in and out-of the top twenty all year and
took number-one Georgetown into over-
time when the two clubs met in
January. Led by Easy Ed Pinckney and
Dwayne McClain, Rollie Massimino's
See TOURNAMENT, Page 11

The Numbers
Overall: 25-3
Big Ten: 16-2
Streak: 16 games* r
*(Longest in Michigan history)

Bill Frieder got his share of the blame during
But his efforts in leading an unacclaimed team
forth praise from his peers and the media.

First Round
March 14.15

Second Round
March 16-17

West .

Mid west

St. John'sn""gn
Southern
owa 1985 Division i
Arkansas8en'sBasketba
Washington-
Kentcky --Championship
eadauLkyBracket
San Diego St. Denvr Dlas,
IMrc22 24 March 21 a 23
Texas-El Paso
NevadaReno
Alabama--- -
Arizona
Va. Comm
MarshalMarch 30 arch 30
Georgetown
Virginia Tech. AMF C PMIP
S.M.U.Lexington.
Old ominiontucky
April1
Loyola (I1.)
ona Providence. Brmigham,
Geora RhodeIslandAabama

i
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gv~m March 21 & 23
Wichita St.
Illinois
Northeastern
Syracuse
DePaul
Georgia Tech.
Regionals

Mrc 22 & 24
Southeast
Regionais

14 Weekend/Friday, March 15, 1985

Weekend/Frii

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