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March 25, 1992 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-25

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Men's Basketball
vs. Oklahoma State
Friday, 10:45 p.m. (EST)
Lexington, Ky.

SPORTS

Men's Swimming and Diving
at NCAA Championships
Tomorrow through Saturday
Indianapolis
Page 9

The Michigan Daily

Wednesday, March 25, 1992

-- - ------------- - - ------------ - --- - ---------------- - - - ---------------------

Back to the Barn
Former Kentucky coach expects raucous return to Rupp Arena

o need for speed:
orevoke the race rule
by Adam Miller
Daily Sports Writer
Sometimes "progress" is not progress.
The Michigan men's tennis team experienced first-hand the NCAA's
}new non-conference rule last Saturday, and it probably wishes that things
had remained as they were. A regulation that can only be called the "race
ule" says that should one of the teams win four of the singles matches, it
automatically wins the team match. Don't even think about doubles. The
first team to four wins.
"This Indianapolis 500 approach to tennis scoring was instituted to
shbrten match times. Tennis matches often last upward of four hours when
thy" three doubles contests are played.
Michigan lost, 4-0, to Tennessee last weekend on this very rule. Here's
thekicker: the Wolverines' No. 1 and 2 singles players, David Kass and
"Dan Brakus, didn't lose. How's that? Their three-set matches, lengthy af-
fairs indeed, were stopped in the middle. The final contention of the new
regulation is that after four victories, the other matches don't count for the
eam, so they just don't count.
-There are few words to describe this situation, but here's some of them:
silly, preposterous, ludicrous and wrong. The race rule may not seem that
different from the accepted practice of not playing doubles if singles play
ends with a 5-1 or 6-0 score - since even a doubles sweep would result in
a loss - but it is. Here's why:
1 Four is an artificial number at which to declare victory. With nine
matches to play, four does not win. Say a team is down, 4-2, after singles.
If that team sweeps doubles, it wins the match.
The other matches are asked to stop in the middle. This is ridiculous.
ras and Brakus are both ranked individually - Kass nationally, Brakus
regionally. You don't tell them not to finish the job. Collegiate tennis is
nd a day at the country club - play a few games and hit the pool. Serious

by John Niyo
Daily Basketball Writer
Much has been made of the
nostalgic trips back to Lexington,
Ky., that Michigan coach Steve
Fisher and Oklahoma State coach
Eddie Sutton are making this
weekend.
But that's what happenstwhen
scores of media scramble to fill
their pages all week long, awaiting
the Friday night matchup between
the two teams.
Fisher has been asked countless
times what it feels like to re-trace
his early steps as Michigan's
interim coach during the team's
national championship run in 1989.
And Sutton, with his son Sean,
has been asked more times than he
cares to remember what it will be
like to return to the school which he
left three years ago.
"My only concern in going back
to Kentucky," Eddie Sutton said in
Atlanta after clinching a spot in the
Sweet 16, "is that the media will
forget the purpose of the
tournament - and the fact that you
have four teams trying to make it to
the Final Four - and just focus on
Sean and I going back to play in
Rupp Arena."
Sutton coached Kentucky from
1985-1989, but departed from
Lexington amid controversy, leavi-
ng the rabid Wildcat faithful with a
two-year probation and a tarnished
basketball program.
The most incriminating allega-
tions of wrongdoing under Sutton
revolved around the recruitment of
Chris Mills, now playing at
Arizona.

Charges alleged that an enve-
lope containing a videotape and
$1,000 in cash was sent to prep
standout Mills in Los Angeles by
former assistant coach Dwayne
Casey.
'I'm going to take the
team to the same
horse farm Michigan
went to in 1989. I
want our guys to
touch the same horses
that Glen Rice did.'
- Eddie Sutton
Oklahoma State coach
But the package, with both
Mills' and Casey's names on it,
accidently opened and its contents
were found by a postal employee.
Kentucky officials claimed that
they were framed.
Obviously, the possibility of an
Arizona-Oklahoma State matchup
had the media drooling. Still, the
question of how the fans - in a
state as in love with basketball as
Kentucky is - will react to
Sutton's return remains.
"I'm not sure about the kind of
reaction we're going to get from the
fans," Eddie Sutton said. "But I'm
excited to go back to Lexington. I
have so many pleasant memories.
Ninety-nine percent of the people
in Kentucky always treated me as
well as I could be treated."
Fisher feels Sutton is probably
right.
"A majority of the fans will be
See SUTTON, Page 10

SPORTS INFORMATION
Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton will return to his former coaching home Friday
night to guide his team against the Wolverines.

Pitchers show
BASEBALL NOTEBOOK improvement
_____________imroemn

Kass
competition should be completed. The players deserve the opportunity to
Gish.
This rule lends itself to the unethical practice of suicides, playing a
low-seeded player at No. 1 and shifting the rest of the lineup down to
achieve mismatches. Most do not do this, but there is nothing that would
giop a desperate team from playing its No. 6 seed at the top spot, and
'aving their No. 1 play at No. 2, No. 2 at No. 3, etc., all the way down the
liie. Even with a loss by the No. 6 player at first singles, the uneven
pairing of talent would probably produce many quick, lopsided victories
- precisely what the race rule rewards.
There's an incorrect assumption that the matches need to be com-
Aleted quickly. Tennis is not basketball, where two hours does it. Major
professional tennis matches, especially those in Grand Slam events, can
Iast five hours or more and no one complains. These matches are by nature
lunger than those at the collegiate level, going three-of-five sets instead of
two-of-three. But no one tells Jimmy Connors or Stefan Edberg to move it
T1ong.
After examining the facts, two questions persist. First of all, why make
matches shorter? To make them more attractive to fans? Maybe some think
tompetitions take too long, but devoted tennis fans are superfans - ready,
yilling and able to watch six matches at once.
1 In Michigan's last home match against Purdue, I was watching the No.
2 affair between Brakus and Scott Micus, a logical thing to do since the
seats are at the side of the court closest to the No. 1 players. Brakus and
Micus were in the middle of a long point, when suddenly a huge cheer
erupted from the crowd.
"What was that for?" I asked bewilderedly.
"Great shot on court five!" someone exclaimed.
e See what I mean? Your regular kielbasa-gulping fan could not make it
here. Besides, is shortening the matches really going to increase the atten-
dance from under a hundred to thousands? Probably not.
. Secondly, even if shorter play was desired, there's a much easier way to
Accomplish this: return to no-ad deuce. When a game reaches 40-40,
instead of sending the players into a seemingly endless series of points as
one attempts to win by two points (advantage in, deuce, advantage out,
deuce, advantage in ... ), settle the game on the next point. College tennis
used to be played this way, and some high school tennis still is. The time
saved is often substantial.
Hopefully, the race rule will remain the temporary, experimental format
it is now. It's a program that should not be repeated. It is arbitrary. It is
"isrespectful to the players. It must be repealed.

by Ryan Herrington
Daily Baseball Writer
The Michigan pitching staff received some
encouraging signs on the road last weekend
when the team split four games with Wright
State and Dayton. The Wolverine hurlers, who
had allowed eight or more runs in five of their
first 11 games, showed that they might be set-
tling down just in time for the Big Ten season,
which opens Saturday at Purdue.
Michigan held its opposition in check in
three of the four games, including a 1-0 com-
bined shutout for Eric Heintschel and Todd
Marion Saturday against Wright State.
Heintschel pitched eight strong innings, scat-
tering three hits while striking out seven
Raider batters and walking but one. The vic-
tory was his first to go with his three previous
losses this season.
Even in one of the Wolverines' losses, a 3-
2 decision against Wright State, Michigan's
Dennis Konuszewski had a good outing. The
righthander pitched his second complete game
loss of the season, giving up the winning run in
the bottom of the sixth inning of the seven in-
ning game when Bill Osmanski snapped a 2-2
tie with a base hit.
Michigan coach Bill Freehan is pleased
with the adjustments his staff has made and
feels the team can continue to better its game.
"Our pitching staff has made improve-
ment," Freehan said. "We started off poorly in
terms of our base-on-balls to innings-pitched
ratio. Now we're back to at least reasonable
ratios in regard to comparisons between us and
our opponents."

Yet, Michigan's early-season problems
have not totally vanished, as evidenced by the
Wolverines' other loss last weekend, a 15-4
drubbing at the hands of the Raiders. Fifteen
runs is the most Michigan has allowed in a
game thus far this season, showing that the
Wolverines still have room for improvement.
HOW DO YOU SPELL RELIEF: With a 1-
2-3 ninth inning, Michigan's ace reliever and
senior co-captain Marion saved the 15th game
of his career, tying the school record set by
Greg Everson in 1987. Marion's 15 saves
have come in 18 attempts. Saturday's save
marked Marion's first of the year in his first
attempt.
Marion is also approaching another
Wolverine milestone. Saturday's game marked
the 55th appearance of his career, leaving him
one short of a tie for fourth place on Michi-
gan's all-time appearance list. He still has a
ways to go before he can catch Mike Ignasiak,
who is first on the appearance list with 76.
ROOKIE SHINES: First-year infielder Ron
Hollis seems to be overcoming his rookie jit-
ters. After hitting .083 in his first five games,
Hollis, who was Mr. Baseball in the state of
Michigan in 1991, has gone 6-for-15 (.400) to
up his average to .259. He has a five-game hit-
ting streak going into this weekend's games
against Purdue.
ARE YOU SURE IT'S SPRING?: The
Wolverines' contest against Eastern Michigan,
scheduled for today at 3 p.m. in Ypsilanti, has
been postponed due to last weekend's snow.
The game has not yet been rescheduled.

Michigan relief ace Todd Marion and his fellow hurlers
enjoyed a more successful weekend.

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