V V V V V w w
By GREG MOLZON.
Although the Big Ten won't
officially adopt a plan for a
postseason conference tournament
until the 1988-89 season, there is a
possibility that the Big Ten's best
teams will get together in a playoff-
like setting this year.
Here's the scenario. Indiana vs.
Iowa and Michigan vs. Purdue could
be the semi-final matchups and the
winners would meet Monday night,
April 4. This tournament wouldn't
be held at the Hoosierdome in
Indianapolis, though. It would be
staged in Kansas City's Kemper
Arena- the site of this year's Final
Four- and would decide not only the
conference's top squad, but the
national champion, too.
This may seem a bit farfetched to
some observers, but not to
Minnesota head coach Clem Haskins.
"We could have four teams in the
Final Four if they get in opposite
tournament brackets," Haskins said.
And while Haskins is realistically
being a bit overzealous, h i s
statement does give an indication of
how strong many believe the Big,
Ten will be this year. The Associated,
Press preseason poll has four Big,
Ten teams rated in the top 11 in the
country, and, almost certainly, the
Big Ten will have six teams invited
to the NCAA Tournament again.
According to most publications,
the conference is rated as the nation's
strongest because it has 27 of 50
starters returning from last year and a
slew of highly regarded newcomers,
including freshmen, transfers, and
Proposition 48 casualties.
Michigan head coach Bill Frieder
has three of the top newcomers -
Terry Mills and Rumeal Robinson
(Proposition 48) and Sean Higgins
(freshman). They will join Gary
Grant, Glen Rice, and company to
comprise a team that is predicted to
finish anywhere from first to fifth in,
Frieder, however, warns anyone
who picks his team at the top that an
inexperienced group will have a
tough time beating out the veteran-
laden teams that return multiple All-
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"You're talking about three
teams," Frieder said of the Big Ten
favorites. "Two of the three a year
ago won 30 games or more (Indiana,
Iowa). Two of the three won the Big
Ten championship (Indiana, Purdue)
and one of the three won the national
championship (Indiana). And all three
have tremendous, tremendous
nucleuses back from successful
Indiana, Iowa, and Purdue are
consensus picks as the teams to beat,'
and are the teams the Wolverines will
be shooting to knock off.
INDIANA returns three starters
from its national championship
squad, but will have a tough time
replacing All-American guard Steve
Alford and forward Daryl Thomas. "I
don't think you replace Alford with
another player," coach Bob Knight
said, while also mentioning the
importance of Thomas' role last year.
"What we have to do is replace what
they did with other players doing
different or more things, and the look
of our team will be different because
The look of this team will revolve
around last year's junior college
transfers and Pan American Game
teammates, Keith Smart and Dean
Garrett, and forward Rick Calloway.
All three are legitimate All-Big Ten
candidates, but the rest of the starting
lineup will probably be comprised of
See INDIANA, Page 7
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Continued from Page S
Despite having a fine prep school
pedigree, Higgins will be restricted
to the role of understudy, backing up
both at guard and small forward. Al-
though he is a great athlete who is
well suited to a run-and-gun type of-
fense,.Frieder is quick to quiet any
talk of Higgins stepping right in and
dominating. "Higgins is way behind.
He has to learn to play without the
ball and work harder defensively.
He's a typical freshman with a long
way to go," cautioned Frieder.
Also seeing reserve duty at both
guard and forward will be sophomore
Mike Griffin. Freshmen Kirk Taylor.
and Demetrius Calip will apprentice
in the backcourt as well. Backing up
the big men will be 6-10 J. P.
Oosterbaan and 6-9 Steve Stoyko.
So there you have it. The cast is
set but the script remains. The first
episode will have a Western flavor as.
Michigan opens the season in the
Great Alaskan Shoot-Out on
November 27. There will also be the
South Florida Tournament in De-
cember and a clash with NCAA run-
ner-up Syracuse at the end of Jan-
And if the Wolverines are as good
as some are saying and are lucky to
boot, they could wind up back in
Michigan in late March when the
third and for-th rounds of the NCAA
playoffs are held in the Silverdome
By then we'll know if Frieder was
merely an Ebeneezer Scrooge, trying
to spoil all the fun, or if he was the
voice of sanity all along.
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WEEKEND/NOVEMBER 20, 1987
WEEKEND/NOVEMBER 20, 1987
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