Tonight, 8 p.m.
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The Michigan Daily Wednesday, February 12, 1992 Page 10
Michigan takes aim at Hawks
Iowa seeks revenge to open Big Ten's second half
mark on Big Ten
by Albert Lin
Daily Basketball Writer
by Albert Lin
Daily Basketball Writer
At the beginning of the year, if
you told anyone that Michigan
would be starting five rookies for a
Big Ten basketball game, that per-
son would probably think that the
Wolverines were looking past this
season and concentrating on the fu-
Well, that situation could be-
come a reality tonight against Iowa.
But while coach Steve Fisher is cer-
tainly excited about the future, he is
definitely not giving up on the cur-
Although Fisher said he has not
yet decided on his lineup, the perfor-
mance of the five frosh Sunday -
scoring all of the Wolverines'
points in the victory over Notre
Dame -may force his hand.
"I did not think (at the begin-
ning of the vear) that we would
Everyone knows about the incredible success Steve Fisher has enjoyed
as a result of his phenomenal recruiting class. But this is a trend around the
conference, with many teams having to rely greatly on newcomers as part
of their regular rotations - and also having positive results on the floor.
the list of contributors goes well beyond Michigan's group of five.
Alan Henderson of Indiana. Gophers Voshon Lenard, Chad Kolander
and Jayson Walton. Northwestern's Cedric Neloms. The Spartans' red-
shirt frosh, Shawn Respert. Wisconsin's pair of true frosh Michael
Finley and redshirt Tracy Webster.
Why the sudden influx of star rookies?
'I think quality attracts, and the Big Ten is a quality conference, and it
attracts quality players," Fisher said.
Iowa coach Dr. Tom Davis attributes the number of impact players to
the quality of the high school basketball programs from which conference
"I think in the Big Ten, with Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana you
have four of the dominant states in the country in terms of producing out-
standing talent," Davis said. "Those four states year-in and year-out rank
right up there at producing terrific basketball players.
"As a result, when you get top players out of those states, they're ready
to be impact players right away."
Most frosh have a hard time adjusting to college basketball, period,
without having to deal with the rigors of the Big Ten. But this group has
been exceptionally quick to adjust to conference play, despite the reputa-
tion of the conference.
"I recall very vivdly what people used to say, that if you played sopho-
mores, you were not gonna be very good. And now we're playing fresh-
men," Illinois coach Lou Henson said.
'iCoaches put them in the position to be successful," Buckeye boss
Randy Ayers said. "And they're playing with a lot of confidence. I haven't
seen this many in my nine years here, and I think it's a result of the confi-
BEWARE OF THE BUCKEYES: Ayers is very comfortable with the
position his club is in beginning the second half of conference play. Ohio
State is tied with Indiana at 8-1 for first place in the conference, and is 16-3
overall. But one area of his team's play remains of concern to Ayers.
"The rest of the way, we have to try and put 40 minutes of good basket-
ball together," he said, "rather than just 25 or 36 or 37 minutes. We always
have that lapse for a two or three minute period.
"We have two or three players playing well (at a time), but we can't
get all the players flowing together. That's a challenge."
Ayers also reports that the team is growing more accustomed to the
play of transfer Lawrence Funderburke, a fact that certainly won't make
opposing coaches sleep any better.
start all five of them," Fisher said.
"But I don't think I'm reluctant to
say, 'We have three of them. Oh-oh,
now we have four. What would
happen if we had five out there?'
"I'm just trying to put what I
feel are the five best players out
there, and if (five rookies) gets to be
the way it is, then that's what we
put out there.
"They're all gonna play.
Whether they start, I don't know.
But I don't think it's out of neces-
sity; they have earned playing time,
or starting time."
The Wolverines (5-4 Big Ten, 14-
5 overall) begin the second half of
the Big Ten season against the same
opponent they played to open the
conference schedule - Iowa.
Michigan won that first
matchup at Iowa City in overtime
behind the scoring of frosh Jalen
Rose. Rose, who did not start the
game because he was late for a team
meeting, came off the bench to pour
in 34 points in the 80-77 victory. It
was the third of the past four games
in the series to go into overtime.
"We certainly hope we're better
(than we were that night),"
Hawkeye coach Tom Davis said.
"But all Big Ten coaches will say
something similar to that at the
start of the second half.
"Maybe our execution is a little
better, we've got more experience,
we're a little better at both ends of
the court. But it's a push, because all
the teams around the league are
Davis' club is paced by league
shot-block leader Acie Earl. The
6'10" junior is averaging 4.05 per
game, while also topping the
Hawkeyes with 19.7 points and 8.3
rebounds a contest.
Earl is joined on the inside by
sophomore Chris Street, who is also
among the top five conference lead-
ers in rebounding. The two are a
formidable duo to contend with on
the blocks, but Michigan may have
the inside strength to do it.
"Neither is as strong physically u
as he is going to be," Davis said.
"Both are early in their develop-
mental stage, particularly their
physical development. They're a lit-
tle more vulnerable than some of
the Big Ten players you're going to
Iowa's improvement has also
been closely tied with the play of
point guard Kevin Smith. A sopho-
more, Smith has gotten better as the
season has progressed, and is second
in Big Ten games in both assists and:;
"He's still not as consistent as ;
you would like a point guard to be,"
Davis said. "He had been shooting
extremely well from the floor, and
then he went 0-for-6 Sunday (at In-
diana). But he's had more good
nights than not."
Junior Michael Talley will be
back with Michigan after Fisher
suspended him from the Notre
Dame game for missing practice.
Fisher met with Talley and his
mother, and the issue has been
"A player can't be happy when
he's not playing the type of minutes
that he wants. But it's not my deci-
sion," Talley said. "(Losing playing
time) is difficult to deal with. But I
just have to continue playing as hard
as I have been."
"That's it. It's not going to af-
fect the team. We're going to pull
together," Fisher said. "Everybody
wants to play. We've got kids who
are pulling for one another when
they're sitting and watching, and
like others to pull for them when
Fisher also is likely without the
services tonight of center Eric Ri- S
ley, who had fluid removed from his
left knee Friday and did not play
against Notre Dame.
"We don't have Eric, and that's
five fewer fouls to give," Fisher
said. "(Iowa) is aggressive and they
go to the free throw line a lot, and
that concerns me.
Iowa junior Acie Earl gets fouled while going up for a shot against
Indiana. Earl leads the Hawkeyes in blocked shots, points, and rebounds.
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