vs. Michigan State
November 14, 7:30 p.m.
Yost Ice Arena
vs. Ohio State
Saturday, 1:00 p.m.
at Iowa City
The Michigan Daily
Thursday, November 5, 1987
THE SPORTING VIEWS
1987-88 NBA season...
...few surprises in store
By MICHAEL SALINSKY
Basketball season begins tomorrow. Fancy
dribbling. Behind-the-back passing. Reverse
slams. Three-point bombs. Ho hum.
It's a shame that some of the finest athletes in
the world are wasted on what has become a
boring league. The way that the NBA plays its
games and conducts its season has made it the
most unexciting of the four major team sports.
Exciting, meaningful games are the exception
rather than the rule, and the polarity between the
good teams and the bad teams is by far the
greatest in professional sports.
While fans in Boston and Detroit may delight
in seeing their teams win over 70 percent of their
games, fans in New Jersey and Sacramento this
year will have little reason, other than
masochism, to watch their hometown favorites.
THE PLAYOFF SYSTEM has recently
deprived the regular season of any meaning
besides determining which teams will vie for the
first pick in the draft. The cream of the crop -16
of the 23 teams - enter the postseason to decide
which of the three or four regulars will play for
Usually the final series is the only reason to
pay attention to the game at all, but even this
may change this year. Do you want your trophy
now, Mr. Buss? What's your ring size again,
How did the NBA get this way? What can we
do to change it?
As far as finding the reasons for the malaise.
there are some aspects of the game itself that can
lead to tedium. In basketball, each team scores an
,average of 50-60 times per game. None of the
other major sports have teams that average even
10 "scores" per game. Roy S. Johnson, of Inside
Sports, claims that this creates "dozens of
occasions to share a high five with the person
next to you..." Truth is, by the time you give
that high five, you've already missed the next
The actual result of such astronomical scoring
is that each basket becomes terribly unimportant.
But it's clearly not the game itself. The fact
that the college game is more exciting than the
pro game is evidence of that.
THERE ARE several reasons for this, the
primary one being the NBA abolishment of zone
defense. In the pros, you make up for a mismatch
by creating a lesser mismatch, or a different
mismatch. With man-to-man defense, your
choices are excruciatingly limited.
Strategy abounds at the college level where
coaches can pick the defense that best exploits
the opponent's weaknesses. In the pros, not only
is strategy sacrificed but also the chance of
upsets. Sure the Clippers will pull a major upset
or two, but basically talent wins and there is
little equity of talent.
In hockey a team can win because it's playing
or skating especially well on a given night. In
football it seems that a team can change its game
plan depending on the opposition to pull an
upset. In baseball an outstanding individual
performance can spark an underdog. In basketball,
as opposed to all the others, you almost always
know who's going to win. The Lakers can get
three hours of sleep and still beat the Pacers even
if they're shooting for the playoffs, and Herb
Williams scores 40 points.
WHAT CAUSES this wide disparity of
talent which is exacerbated by the high-scoring
nature of the game and the inability of teams to
use innovative defenses? Most likely it is just
the fact that basketball uses fewer players than
any other sport. The recent propensity of poor
teams to trade away high draft choices is another
Talent disparity has been partially addressed by
the NBA's salary cap but the small size of teams
will probably keep talent disparate. The solutions
then are those that make pure talent less
important. The case for zone defense has already
To reduce rampant scoring, we can take a hint
from the international game and widen the lane.
Raising the basket has not been seriously
considered because it seems so strange, but all
change seems strange at first.
Finally the playoff format has to be reduced,
although it won't be because of the money.
Eight out of 23 teams - one third of the league
- is more than enough in the playoffs.
Now if anyone still cares about this season,
here's how they'll finish:
Champions - The Lakers will take it. The
two-in-a-row jinx and Kareem's imminent
retirement will keep Los Angeles up all year.
Runner up - Milwaukee will be there if
only to disprove the same-teams-every-year
argument. The aging stars, Sikma, Lucas, and
Moncrief can either collapse or realize this might
be their last chance.
Possible runner ups - Detroit will be
tough and logic says their young legs should run
by Milwaukee and Boston, but the "Detroit
sports teams second runner up" jinx is a powerful
one. Larry Bird is one of the most admirable
players in the game; Danny Ainge is by far the
least. They'll both help keep the aging and
hobbled Celtics among the league's elite.
Inconseqential playoff teams - Most
of the league. Dallas and Houston would win the
Lottery teams - The Knicks and Nets
both make the classless of the league.
Washington joins them for some consolation.
California contributes three teams. Kings coach
Bill Russell could play better center than Jawann
Oldham. The Clippers are getting better. Phoenix
and Golden State aren't.
Hearns is a hit! -As*o'i'ted
Yesterday the city of Detroit honored middleweight champion Thomas
Ilearns, who last week became the first boxer to win titles in four dif-
ferent weight classes. Hearns and Mayor Coleman Young are posing by a
sculpture of the late Joe Louis.
Gril dde Picks
Would you rather drive?
The Supreme Court nomination of
Judge Douglas Ginsburg has been
presented, but there are revelations
that he has used his position in the
past to further his Griddes success.
The disturbing news revolves
around his decision involving who is
eligible to play the popular game, a
decision it is said he has a stake in.
"He ruled himself as the only
eligible recipient of the $10
Dominos pizza coupon," a source
said. It is speculated that his rewards
have already reached nearly $140,000.
Many conservatives dismiss the
importance of these charges. One
staunch supporter of his nomination,
New York Congressman Jack Kemp,
said, "I'm sick of these bleeding-
heart liberals. Judge Ginsburg has a
natural talent for Griddes and he
would have won without the ruling.
When I was a star quaterback at
Occidental College he picked every
game we played correctly, but of
course with me at the helm it was
easy because we always won. I tell
you, those were the days. Yep, I
guess I was quite a player." Yeah,
Since this discovery, the list of
eligible recipients has been expanded
to include the whole human race
(except Daily staffers), so drop off
your picks at the Daily on or before
Friday at midnight.
1. MICHIGAN at Minnesota
(pick total points)
2. Purdue at Michigan State
3. Illinois at Indiana
4. Iowa at Northwestern
5. Ohio St. at Wisconsin
6. Oklahoma St. at Oklahoma
7. Florida St. at Auburn
8. Alabama at LSU
9. UCLA at Oregon St.
10. Syracuse at Navy
11. Bos. Coll. at Notre Dame
12. Georgia at Florida
13. Louisville at Tennessee
14. N. Carolina at Clemson
15. Penn St. at Maryland
16. Stanford at USC
17. Va. Tech at West Va.
18. Harvard at Holy Cross
19. Missouri at Colorado
20. SLIPPERY ROCK at
We have the Fastest,
in Ann Arbor!
Bi-lingual? Interested in learning
about career opportunities in Japan?
Shushoku Joho, the employment
journal of Japan, provides infor-
mation on opportunities with presti-
gious Japanese and foreign capital
companies operating in Japan.
To receive the latest news in
career opportunities In Japan,
free of charge, please dial
(800) 423-3387 in California;
(800) 325-9759 outside California.
A service of Recruit U.S.A., Inc.
"We Communicate Opportunity"
Note: This publication is written in
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U.S FulSriei ,I, /Chice.
* Appropriates money to student organizations
" Appoints students to student-faculty committees
* Monitors the school from a student's viewpoint
L TE IT
and see a Jostens representative.
November 2-Friday, November 6,
.4 n %4 rA r% rA