at Michigan State
Tonight, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Thursday, 7 p.m.
Rivalry not only concern for Blue-
Men cagers travel to Michigan State looking to stay in Big Ten race
Wolverine freshman Angie Popek serves against Michigan State in the 1993
Michigan Invitational. Popek was named MVP of the tournament.
Women netters take
by Ryan Herrington
Daily Basketball Writer
Even in the dead of winter, Michi-
gan is feeling the heat.
AfterSunday's 88-80 defeat at Iowa,
the Wolverines (5-2 Big Ten, 16-3 over-
all) have fallen two games behind Indi-
ana in the battle for the Big Ten title.
Michigan's margin for error is shrink-
ing, something that has not gone unno-
ticed by the Wolverines.
"I think we still have a chance (at the
title)," Michigan forward Ray Jackson
said. "But the Big Ten is so strong. We
have to rely on other teams now. That's
something we didn't want to do. We
wanted to control our own destiny. We
can beat Indiana and they'll still be one
The situation makes tonight's game
against Michigan State (3-4, 11-5) all
the more interesting - if that's pos-
sible. Aside from the conference rami-
fications, Michigan once again plays its
longtime rivals in a series that dates
back to 1909. While the Wolverines,
ranked seventh in the most recentAsso-
ciated Press poll, have the advantage in
the all-time series (79-54), they are not
taking their intra-state opponent lightly.
"(Michigan State) is definitely our
biggest rival," Rob Pelinka said.
"They'rea team we alwayshighlighton
our schedule. To remain at the top, it's a
must-win game for us."
Michigan coach Steve Fisher, on the
other hand, is not as concerned about
the particular opponent the Wolverines
"It would not matter to me who we
were playing. This would be of extreme
importance," Fisher said. "We don't
want to have a two-game losing streak.
We've not had one. We shouldn't have
one. In order to not have that, we have
to be prepared."
Yet such time to analyze the
opponent's game plan is a luxury nei-
ther Fisher nor his counterpart, Michi-
gan State coach Jud Heathcote, possess.
Both squads played in road contests this
weekend, limiting the practice time be-
fore this evening's game.
"I was laughing at Pep (MSU center
Mike Peplowski) as he said, 'Now it's
Michigan week,"' Heathcote said. "He
probably should have said 'It's Michi-
gan day' because that's all the time we
have to prepare. Preparation time is just
Nevertheless, the Spartan coach is
not naive when it comes to the signifi-
cance of the game.
"We can't put more emphasis on it
than any other game, but I like to think
that the Michigan game is special,"
The Wolverines go to East Lansing
in a mild state of confusion. Michigan
was ahead 75-73 with 4:15 remaining in
the second half of Sunday's contest but
failed to put the game away. The team
suffered from mental lapses, something
Fisher is not pleased with.
"If we sincerely want to have a
chance at the Big Ten title, we have to go
into Michigan State and play better than
we did at Iowa," Fisher said. "We have
not practiced well as of late and I think
we played the way we practiced Sunday
- inconsistent. At times we played
well, but at other times we didn't, and I
think that's directly related to practice
Ironically, the loss to the Hawkeyes
might be just the message the Wolver-
"It's funny how you've got to lose in
order to start playing hard," Jackson
said. "You have to have a meeting in
order to get things going again. But
everything happens for the best and if
we're going to win a championship,
you need to go through these times. We
will be more focused because of the
Michigan State is not at a loss for
pressure either. Sitting in sixth place in
the Big Ten, the Spartans' play of late
has been erratic, and they are in danger
of being left out of the NCAA tourna-
ment. After blowing big leads against
Wisconsin and Iowa at home last week,
MSU defeated Purdue in West Lafayette
sophomore guard Shawn Respert are
the main offensive weapons on the Spar-
tan roster. Respert leads the team in
scoring with a 20.3 average, with
Peplowski contributing 15.1 points per
"Their inside-outside combination
of Peplowski and Respert is at worst an
equal to what we saw in Iowa City,"
Fisher said. "So we'll have our hands
by Andrew Levy
Daily Sports Writer
for the Michigan women's tennis team
this weekend. The Wolverines came out
on top of all four draws - two in
doubles and two in singles - at the
1993 Michigan Invitational.
Keyed by the outstanding play of
freshman phenom Angie Popek, the
tournament's most valuable player, and
her doubles partner, Jamie Fielding, the
Wolverines played with a level of inten-
sity in this preseason tune-up tourna-
ment that the team hopes to match
throughout the season.
Popek beat teammate Kalei Beamon
in the top flight singles final, 6-4, 6-1,
while Fielding defeated Michigan
State's Molly West in the second flight
singles final, 7-5,6-1. Popek and Field-
ing teamed up to defeat MSU's tandem
of Kelly McDonough and West in the
first tier doubles final, 6-4, 6-3.
"We had a terrific tournament,"
Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt said. "We
actually dominated all flights. We have
a very talented team.
"Even though they seem young on
paper, the team has a lot of experience.
There is the potential to do really well in
the Big Ten."
Ritt pointed to the performances of
the talented rookie Popek and Beamon,
who teamed up with Jodi Brewer to
defeat teammates Liz Cyganiak and
Simone Lacher, 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, in the
second flight doubles final.
"Well, Angie Popek had an outstand-
ing tournament," Ritt said. "She had a
big win in the quarterfinals against Ali-
cia Leone, (Michigan) State's number
one competitor, and then she came back
and beat our number one player
(Beamon) in three sets. Even though
(Beamon) didn't win, she had an out-
standing victory in the A flight. It was a
greatmatch -great forherconfidence."
Popek said she was excited for the
team, but facing Beamon in the singles
final took some of the edge off the
victory. The tournament was an indi-
vidual meet, so many teammates faced
one another in late-round matches.
"I didn't like playing against Kalei
at all," Popek said. "It kind of took the
fun out of playing. But Coach Ritt al-
ways says if you can play your own
teammate, you can play anybody."
Fielding said she was glad that the
team could have an opportunity to play
tournament matches before the regular
"Last year, before we started our
dual matches, we didn't get any prac-
tice," Fielding said. "This experience
should help us."
Beamon said that though she was
happy for the team's success, she was
disappointed with her own play.
"(Popek) played well, and I didn't,"
Beamon said. "I'm disappointed be-
cause I could have played better. At this
point, it's just footwork for me. I have to
practice having great footwork all the
Michigan opens its season against
Miami, Feb. 14.
Center Eric Riley throws one down in Michigan's loss to Iowa Sunday. The
Wolverines will try to bounce back tonight against Michigan State.
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Brakus leads men 's tennis in preseason tourney
by David Schwartz
There is no substitute for experi-
ence. That's exactly what the Michigan
men's tennis team was looking to gain
this weekend at the Spartan Invitational
in East Lansing. Not only did Michigan
gain the experience, but it also received
some pleasant surprises in the process.
Because the meet was an individual
rather than team competition, the 64
players competing were able to get an
idea of their level of play as compared to
each other's. The Wolverines came into
the tournament with avery young squad,
after losing seven letter winners from
Leading Michigan yesterday was
junior Dan Brakus, who advanced to
the semifinal round. Brakus had a tough
match before the semis, beating sev-
enth-seeded Ryan Clark of Illinois, 7-6
(7-2), 3-6, 6-3.
Freshman John Costanzo reached
the third round after stunning second-
seeded Klas Bergstrom of Iowa in
straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. Costanzo was
pleased with his play.
"It gave me a lot of confidence to
beat the number two player in the Big
Ten," Costanzo said. "Even though I'm
a freshman, it shows I can beat anyone
in the Big Ten. Coming in, I wasn't
playing well and I didn't know what to
Another freshman, Peter Pusztai,
also made it to the round of 16, before
falling to third-seeded Rick Naumoffof
Minnesota,6-0,6-1. Sophomore Grady
Burnett almost pulled off a major upset
when he took top-seeded Mehdi
Benyerka of Minnesota to three sets, 7-
6 (7-2), 4-6, 6-1.
Michigan normally puts sophomore
Adam Wager at its No.3 slot, but Wager
was unable to play as a result of a fever.
Substituting for him was sophomore
Greg Artz, who lost to MSU's Jayson
Bedford in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.
The sixth member of the Wolverines
to compete last weekend was freshman
Geoff Prentice. Unfortunately, Prentice
was forced to withdraw due to an injury
he suffered in warmups. However, he
seems optimistic for the upcoming sea-
"Most of the guys are even," Prentice
said. "Now we think we have a good
chance at winning the Big Ten."
After this weekend's results, Michi-
gan is hopeful the steady play will con-
tinue right into team competition. Of
course, it doesn't hurt when you posses
a player the caliber of Brakus.
"Everyone knows Dan Brakus is the
man to beat," Prentice said.
Costanzo added, "I think Brakus is
the best player in the Big Ten."
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Men's Slalom result
Ferris State third
Top finisher Place
Bing Brown first
Giant Slalom results
Top finisher Place
Bing Brown second
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Time Too finisher
WATER SKI CLUB
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