Tonight, 8:00 p.m. (Raycom)
Big Ten Championships
Saturday and Sunday, all day
Teams going opposite ways
'M' looks to extend winning streak against Badgers
By TIM RARDIN
DAILY BASKETBALL WRITER
When the Wisconsin and Michi-
gan basketball teams cross paths to-
night at the Wisconsin Field House,
they will do so heading in opposite
The Badgers (6-8 Big Ten, 15-8
overall) are in the midst of a four-
game losing skid, including a pair of
losses at home (Minnesota and North-
western). The No. 3 Wolverines (12-
2, 20-4), on the other hand, are in sole
possession of first place in the Big
Ten, and riding the momentum of a
nine-game winning streak.
"I'm sure (of) where they were
when we played at Michigan. Both of
us were in contention for the Big Ten
title, but they're struggling right now,"
Michigan coach Steve Fisher said.
"They're a very good basketball team.
They proved that when they played us
the first time."
Indeed, that time the Badgers were
one Andy Kilbride 3-pointer away
from tying the game in the waning
seconds, but they eventually fell to the
Junior swingman Michael Finely
led all scorers with 30 points, includ-
ing a school-record seven three-point-
ers. In league play to date, Finley is
third in scoring with 21.6 points.
"(Finley) has proven that he is one
of the best wing players in the coun-
try," Fisher said. "His strength is when
you come out to stop his perimeter
shooting, he can drive right around
you. He finishes very well."
The Badgers knocked down 13
treys in that game - a Big Ten record
until they broke it with 14 in their next
game against Michigan State. They
shot 46 percent from behind the arc,
and Michigan struggled to match up
with Wisconsin's perimeter shooters,
giving them countless open looks.
"The last time we did not do a very
good job of contesting their shots,"
Fisher said. "We didn't get a hand in
their face; we got a hand at their waist.
We've got to do a better job of that."
Still, Badger coach Stu Jackson
said that Michigan's 'D' is just fine.
"They're very, very good defen-
sively. They don't give you easy
shots," Jackson said. "They play de-
fense differently from a lot of teams
in the Big Ten. They double down
quite a bit. They do a lot of switching
and they're very good at it."
While that double-down defense,*
did not contain the Badgers' perim-
eter play, it did shutdown their inside
play, particularly that of 6-foot-11
freshman Rashard Griffith. With foul
trouble limiting his minutes, he had
just seven points and three rebounds,
while committing three turnovers.
His presence will be crucial for
Wisconsin tonight, evidenced by the
fact that three of the Badgers' last
four losses have come with Griffith*
out of the lineup - two games with a
sore knee and two with back spasms.
And with the exception of a 31-
point blowout at home against Min-
nesota, Wisconsin has dropped its last
three by an average of just six points,
including three points to Purdue, and
four points to Northwestern.
While the Badgers have been un-
able to pull out the close games, the@
Wolverines have thrived in such sce-
narios, escaping in five of six games
decided by five points or less.
"They have won an awful lot of
ugly games," Jackson said. "It's their
ability to compete when they're not
playing well. They do a great job of
rebounding, of deflecting, of getting
loose balls to keep them in games."
Olivier Saint-Jean attempts to wrestle the ball away from Illinois' Deon Thomas in Michigan's ninth consecutive Big
Ten victory. The Wolverines travel to Madison for tonight's conference matchup with Wisconsin.
Women tumblers enjoy working vacation
By MELANIE SCHUMAN
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
Go ahead, just try it.
Try walking around campus, go-
ing to the bar or hopping on a
stairmaster at the gym without bump-
ing into a friend who asks that pivotal
question - "How was your spring
Before this mid-semester, midwin-
ter break (and snowstorms for those
who didn't escape to warmer cli-
mates), everyone was cramming for
midterms and buzzing about upcom-
While many students spent their
nine days off basking in the sun, sur-
viving the sweltering heat or passing
the days sleeping late and visiting
friends, some Michigan athletes were
working hard as usual. The women's
gymnastics team was no exception.
Almost every winter sport had
competitions this past week, and the
Wolverines were forced to forego a
cruise for a week of training and
Although the gymnastics team
hustled off to California Thursday, it
was not exactly a vacation.
So what were they doing?
"We know we go out there to
compete in two meets and work out
four days," junior Debbie Berman
In between preparing for two com-
petitions, which resulted in one first-
place finish (Cal State-Fullerton
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Quadranglar -194.10) and one sec-
ond-place finish (UCLA - 191.95),
the team managed to have some self-
defined "fun" as well.
"Of a lot of programs, they have it
pretty damn good," Michigan coach
Bev Plocki said. "I try to schedule
every year so that we can go on a
spring break trip...if possible we go to
warmer climate. I deliberately try to
do that to keep up morale."
While sightseeing, the team went
to a taping of The Tonight Show and
spent another day admiring the color-
ful characters at Venice Beach. De-
spite the cold weather, many of the
women just couldn't resist lying out
in the sun. Besides visiting local shops,
they managed to relax after the first
meet at UCLA, which was the more
difficult of the two competitions. And,
of course, they watched the Winter
"(A long road trip) gives you the
opportunity to get to know everyone
outside the gymnastics' environ-
ment," first-year assistant coach Me-
lissa Kutcher said. "You weigh the
positives and negatives; it's part of
being an athlete. You get to see and go
places you probably wouldn't be able
But no one was more excited with
the chosen vacation spot this year
than Southern California native
Berman, whose parents were finally
able to see her compete.
"I was excited because I am so far
from home and it was a treat to see
(my parents)," the Los Angeles na-
Junior Beth Wymer did enjoy her
chance to go to California, but she
admitted that it would be a nice change
to go away on a spring break that
didn't involve gymnastics. Dating
back to high school, Wymer has never
had that option.
"It would be really nice to get
away a little, especially mid-season,"
Wymer said. "Total relaxation is al-
Some outsiders were obviously
sympathetic to the team's quasi-va-
cation, because both a Michigan
alumnus and Cal State-Fullerton
hosted the team for dinner on differ-
But the Wolverines could not get
used to such hospitality. It ended the
moment they returned to Ann Arbor
and began preparing for a Big Ten
matchup with rival Ohio State this
weekend. It is back to the same cold
weather, stale questions and training.
Still, though, like many other students,
they escaped for a short while, even if
it wasn't the tvical vacation.
qualify for NCAA meet
By BRETT JOHNSON
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
MINNEAPOLIS - The Michigan men's swimming and diving team had
a tremendous meet this weekend at the Big Ten Championships. Eleven
Wolverines automatically qualified for the NCAA National Championships in
individual events or relays. Once a swimmer eams an automatic qualification,
he may swim any of the events in which he has consideration times.
"Hopefully, we've met all of (Michigan coach Jon Urbanchek's) expec4
tations," Brice Kopas said. "I think the team swam great. We only had six
people qualified going into (Saturday) and we picked up (five) more for 11.
Scott Dill and Tom Hay may be picked up, so we'll have 13. Jon only
In the senior class, co-captains Rodney VanTassel and Kopas gained
automatic NCAA standards. VanTassell earned his time in the 800-yard
freestyle relay, and Kopas reached the standards in both the 400-yard indi-
vidual medley (IM) and the 1650 free. VanTassell also earned consideration
times in the 100, 200 and 500 freestyles while Kopas earned the same status
as VanTassell in the 500 free.
As for the juniors, Gustavo Borges qualified in the 100 and 200 freestyles
while making the consideration cut in the 50 free. He also anchored the 400
freestyle relay that qualified for the NCAA meet. Steve West reached his cut
in the 200-yard breaststroke and met the consideration time for the 100 breast.
Tom Blake turned in a solid performance in the 1650 free to qualify for
NCAAs and met the consideration standards in both the 500 and 200 frees.
Marcel Wouda qualified in the 400 IM and considered in both the 500 and
1650 freestyles. Both Wouda and Borges had already met their cuts going into
Two sophomores met the NCAA standards. Royce Sharp made hi
standard in the 200 backstroke and also considered in the 200 and 400 IMs.
Courtney Faller, who will participate in his first NCAA meet, qualified by
way of the 400 free relay, but met consideration times in the 50, 100 and 200
The outstanding freshman class saw three swimmers meet standards. Big
Ten Swimmer of the Year Tom Dolan automatically qualified in the 500 and
1650 freestyles and the 400 IM. Chris Rumley met his cut in the 200 freestyle
and will also swim in the 100 free and the 200 IM. Finally, John Piersma met
two NCAA automatic cuts in the 200 and 500 freestyles.
ON THE BUBBLE: In addition to the swimmers who are guaranteed to swim
at the NCAA Championships, five other Wolverines could make the compe0
tition. Seniors Hay and Kent Tschannen, juniors Dan Abruzzi and Dill and
sophomore Shuichi Matsumoto all have consideration times. Three of the
Wolverine relays - the 200 freestyle, the 200 medley and the 400 medley -
are also waiting to see where they will be seeded at the national meet.
THERE iN SPmrr: Although Illinois dropped its men's swimming program
at the end of last year, the Illini still attended the conference championships.
At least in spirit. Most of the conferences' swimmers and coaches wore Illinois
stickers on their clothing during the three day meet. The Illinois flag and
banner were also displayed in the University Aquatics Center.
"We're all very concerned about the reason behind the University o
Illinois dropping men's swimming," Iowa coach Glenn Patton said. "It's no
a very good sign for the future. UCLA has dropped men's swimming in the
Pac-10, Arkansas in the Southwest (Arkansas dropped before their move into
the Southeastern Conference), Illinois in the Big Ten, and now Clemson in the
Atlantic Coast Conference.
"We've heard there are approximately 25 other Division I teams contem-
plating dropping men's swimming and we're very concerned about that type
of interpretation of trying to achieve gender equity."
READ DAILY SPORTS FOR THE MOST
COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE OF MICHIGAN *
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The women's gymnastics team was able to enjoy some fun and sun in
California before having to return to the snowy streets of Michigan.
f re you Leavi ng'a
.Ann Arbor Soon:,e
* DO YOU NEED TO SUBLET YOUR.
APARTMENT OR HOU$E?'
The rankings in the NCAA men's gymanstics poll as of March 1.
10. New Mexico
20. Air Force