Thursdav.i November 19.1992 **u - ~ w
3. MICHIGAN STATE
Howard, Riley provide size
and experience in the paint
Michigan, Indiana class of conference
As a general rule, it is
often best to avoid
hyperbole. The 1987
Cleveland Indians turned out
not to be that good after all.
"Howard the Duck" was a film
best missed. And if you still have
any doubt about the evils of
hyperbole, I have just one word
for you: New Coke.
But the fall of 1992 has
presented one situation in which
advance word just might be
accurate. When it comes to
mn .'s basketball, the Big Ten
should be, well, as Dick Vitale
would say, "awesome, baby."
Realistically, there may very
well be eight, or even nine,
teams which merit invitations to
the 1993 NCAA tournament.
Only newcomer Penn State and
the improving Northwestern
Wildcats can forget about mak-
ing postseason arrangements.
The Big Ten fan's biggest worry
should be that the exceptionally
high level of competition will
wear the clubs down and leave
them fatigued by the time the big
dance comes around.
At the Big Ten Men's Basket-
BIG TEN. PREVIEW
ball Tipoff Luncheon in India-
napolis last month, the media
selected Indiana as the squad
most likely to capture the
conference crown. A well-
intentioned selection, but a
wrong one nonetheless. Al-
though the Hoosiers are ex-
tremely strong and will likely
stay in the top five nationally
most of the year, they cannot
match the depth and talent of
Michigan (11-7 Big Ten last
year, 25-9 overall).
However, any team with
Indiana (14-4, 27-7) in its
conference can never feel too
Bulk Dry Cleaning Service
safe about having a league
championship clinched. As has
become the norm over the past
two decades, Coach Bob Knight
has prepared an excellent,
competitive squad which will
gladly snare the Big Ten crown
should Michigan falter.
The team which made last
year's Final Four lost only two
players - frontcourter Eric
Anderson and guard Jamal
Meeks - and returns with a
stellar cast. Pre-season all-Big
Ten selection Calbert Cheaney
highlights the roster, and he will
receive ample support from
point guard Damon Bailey,
power forward Alan Henderson
and guard Greg Graham.
Nevertheless, Coach Knight, not
wanting to let down his loyalists,
sounded off on his club, express-
ing doubt in its abilities to reach
"A team that ends a season is
not necessarily the team that
starts the next season," he said.
"The team can either be better,
or it can be not as good. If it's not
as good, then there's oftentimes
a great difficulty in getting it
back to where it was. If it is as
good, then a lot depends on how
much better it wants to become."
It seems that Michigan
State (11-7, 22-8) is always at
its best when it doesn't have
great expectations to meet. And
with Michigan and Indiana
attracting the bulk of the
spotlight, this looks to be one of
those years. Even Coach Jud
Heathcote, master of the under-
statement, overtly expressed the
faith he has in his club.
"I think we could be rated as
high as any of the other clubs,"
Heathcote said. "I think we're
gonna have a better basketball
team than we did last year."
As Fisher recounts, anytime
by Ken Davidoff
Heathcote says his team has
improved, look out. Center Mike
Peplowski, shooting guard
Shawn Respert and forward
Dwane Stephens return to form
a strong nucleus.
In West Lafayette, all the
Purdue fans religiously cite the
name of Glenn Robinson as if he
were in line to be the next Pope.
The Vatican had no comment,
but everyone agrees that the six-
foot-nine forward will be an
outstanding player. The sopho-
more, who had to sit out his
freshman season last year as a
Prop 48 casualty, should have
an immediate impact with the
Boilermakers (8-10, 18-15).
Coach Gene Keady realizes that
in a conference as difficult as the
Big Ten, a squad cannot afford
"We had a lot of trouble last
year beating teams we were
supposed to," Keady said. "I
don't like that. If you can beat
the teams you're supposed to,
then you'll probably be in the
NCAA, and we didn't do that."
One club it will have to
handle is Iowa. Led by the man
with the coolest name in college
basketball, Acie Earl, the
Hawkeyes (10-8, 19-11) will field
a mostly young squad. Battle
Creek, Mich., native Kenyon
Murray, last year's Mr. Basket-
ball, highlights this impressive
class of neophytes. in Iowa City.
Coach Tom Davis should be able
to maintain enough discipline so
that his players are still active
in mid-March. But then again,
for Davis, the best way to keep
control over his squad is to let
them play uncontrollably.
"We will continue to run and
press and play over 94 feet as
well as we can," Davis said.
At one point last season,
Minnesota (8-10, 16-16) held a
Juwan Howard is a man of
few words. When asked of the
great predictions for Michigan's
frontcourt, the 6-foot-9, 242-
pound center said, "I agree."
Of course, when you are
Juwan Howard, you can afford
to let your actions do the talking.
Howard started every game but
three last year, and finished
third on the team in scoring
with 11.1 points per game. In
last year's 89-74 loss at Indiana,
Howard led the team in both
scoring (26) and rebounding (10).
But it may well be a game
that he led the team in neither
category that earned Howard
the respect of the Big Ten.
Michigan travelled to
Champaign to face the Fighting
Illini last Jan. 18 and was
greeted by a story in the Chicago
Tribune featuring attacks from
Illini coach Lou Henson suggest-
ing Howard was being wasted at
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Michigan, and would have been
better off at Illinois. Howard
responded to the article with a
13-point, five-rebound, and one-
assist day as the Wolverines
defeated Illinois, 68-61.
The sophomore is best known
for his low-post game, his
defensive presence inside, as
evidenced by his 21 blocks last
season, and his trademark "Big
Nook" jump-hook shot.
Most Michigan basketball
fans will be hard pressed to
recognize senior Eric Riley.
The seven-footer has long had
trouble in the paint due to his
bony frame, but no more. Riley
hit the weights seriously over
the summer and gained 20
poundsof muscle (he's now 227
pounds). Fisher said that Riley's
increased bulk is "a great sign,
for Eric and for us."
While he spent much of last
year playing behind Howard,
Riley saved Michigan in the
Tournament against Oklahoma
State. After both Webber and
Howard got into foul trouble,
Riley came off the bench with a
season-high performance of 15
points and 10 rebounds in
Michigan's 75-72 victory.
Rookie Leon Derricks (6-
foot-9, 195) has been hampered
with a back injury, but said that
he still expects to make contri-
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