~JfE rJpgfl ThXIIUl . The Top Cat
.Northwestern football coach Gary Barnett was named Coach of the Year
by the American Football Coaches Association yesterday in New
] ~ A Orleans. Barnett led the Wildcats to a 10-2 record, their first winning
record since 1971, and a trip to the Rose Bowf in Pasadena. Page 9
Blue icers halfway to stellar season
[ady Sports Writer -
With the season half over, the Michi-
gan hockey team, picked unanimously to
win the CCHA, finds itself in third place.
However, in the national rankings, the
Wolverines are also third, higher than any
other team in their conference.
Here's a rundown of some key ele-
merts'to the Wolverines' season thus far.
1. The Wolverines have received
ty of support to offset the loss of
Despite, having perhaps the deepest
and'most balanced lineup in the nation,
Michigan wasn't sure if it could replace
2ndteam All-American Mike Knuble and
his 38 goals from a year ago.
As it turned out, the Wolverines had
s'everal players capable of turning in sea-
sons similar to that of their former
ven though he's missed significant
pying time due to suspension and com-
mitments to the World Junior Champion-
shipsi1J'son Botterill has been scoring at
a clip of almost a goal per game.
JdhrMadden and Brendan Morrison
are tied with Botterill with 13 goals to
pace the team. Madden seems a lock to
better his personal-best of 21 goals of a
yeaf ago and Morrison has caught up to
his ;teammates' pace even though he
missed six games with a knee injury.
,V fren Luhningand Bill Muckalthave
11 and 10 goals respectively, giving
Michigan five players with double-figure
totals, more than any other CCHA team.
2. Brendan Morrison is living up to
Hobey Baker expectations.
Try to digest these statistics. A goal per
game. An assist and a half per game.
Add them up and Morrison is currently
sitting one point behind conference scor-
ing leader Jeremy Brown of Western
Michigan even though Morrison has
played nine fewer games.
Even though the modest Morrison con-
sistently dodges the media's talk about
the Hobey Baker award, given to the
nation's top player, there's no denying
that the recent play of the junior from
British Columbia - 11 points in two
games last weekend and CCHA Player of
the Week recognition for the third time
this season-has rocketed him to the top
of the pack of contenders..
And if last year is a sign of what's to
come, Morrison averaged two points per
game in the 21 contests after New Year's.
3. Special teams play were supposed
to be the key to Michigan's success.
They haven't disappointed.
Michigan's power play unit scored just
a shade under 30 percent of the time last
season. The Wolverines needed close to a
repeat performance in orderto have a shot
at the national championship.
So far, Michigan is scoring 29.2 per-
cent of the time with a man advantage in
CCHA contests-tops in the conference
and at a 26.2-percent clip in all games,
trailing Miami (Ohio) by only five per-
centage points. Luhning and Morrison
lead a balanced attack on the power play
with six scores apiece.
But an even more impressive unit has
been the Wolverines' penalty killing team.
Madden has six shorthanded goals -
more than or equal to the totals ofall other
CCHA teams except Western Michigan.
Bobby Hayes and John Arnold have
formed Michigan's most effective pairof
forwards killing penalties with their re-
The Wolverines would like to avoid
such shorthanded circumstances alto-
gether. They areputtingthemselves down
a man almost seven times per game -
fourth-most in the CCHA.
But a telling statistic for all Michigan
opponents: In the Wolverines' thrashings
of Ferris State (10-3) and Miami (Ohio)
(13-0) last weekend, the Michigan spe-
cial teams units accounted for 12 goals.
4. The freshmen, at one time or an-
other, are coming through.
Greg Crozier started off the season in a
fashion that would be expected of the
most experienced players by netting six
goals in his first seven games. Since then
he has tailed offsomewhat, but he contin-
ues to skate with the top lines.
Sean Ritchlin and Dale Rominski
started the season slowly, but recently,
the two have seemed more confident on
the ice, evident in their scoring figures.
Ritchlin has seen time on both special
teams units and his time will only in-
crease in the upcoming games. Rominski
seems to feel more comfortable lately,
scoring in each of his last two games.
"(Rominski) is starting to play the way
we knew he could," Berenson said. " We
Michigan's Jason Botterlil is tied for the team lead in goals with Brendan Morrison and John Madden with 13.
see his confidence going up."
Hayes, besides being a star killing pen-
alties and a solid fourth-line center, shows
that he can win the key faceoffs.
Berenson has helped Bubba
Berenzweig by pairing him with captain
Steven Halko on defense. Berenzweig
has shown an ability to drive to the net as
well as stay at home and deliver hard hits.
"I'm pleased with the progress of the
young players," Berenson said. "They
have all had their ups and downs, but they
have all made progress."
But as always, Berenson wants to keep
everything concerning his team in per-
"I'm not alarmed by anything," he
said, "but this team certainly hasn't played
over its heads.
"It's obvious that we're going to be in
a good race for the league title. I think,
though, that everyone on our team is
capable of playing at least 10 percent
Biakabutuka's di icult dediion to go ro
deserves the respect of Mhiganfootball fans
ou could here it all over
campus yesterday and today:
' "Biakabutuka is leaving?"
"Wlire do you think he'll go?"
"I think he should have stayed."
Tshimanga Biakabutuka, who cut
and slashed his way to more yards
last season than any back in the 116
Wrs df Michigan football, is
ving on to the NFL. Most
Michigan watchers have an opinion,
one way or the other.
It was clear at Biakabutuka's
Tuesday morning news conference
that the Athletic Department wasn't
crazy about the decision.
their way to
at the Michi-
Course to hear
RYAN tailback make
h T S his announce-
White on ment.
Target It was a far
cry from the
*cumstance that has surrounded
other sars, such as Fab Fivers Chris
Webber and Juwan Howard, as they
made their early exit to the pros.
Even Biakabutuka didn't look
"It's tough," he said.
It is because of how tough it is,
though, that Biakabutuka has a
better reason to exit Ann Arbor than
;r other high-profile Wolverine
o has left school early in the past
couple of years.
Biakabutuka has two sisters,
Mado and Tshibola, that he hasn't
seen in 15 years. The two are still in
Zaire;, the country Biakabutuka left
years ago. He says they don't know
if they will have food on the table
from one day to the next.
Biakabutuka's mother, Misenga,
spent the holidays in Africa and is
All there. She took clothing and
that he's one of the country's
great backs. His 1,818 yards
is a single season Michigan
record and his 313 yards
against Ohio State was a
He hits the holes quicker
than one former Wolverine
back, 1995 first round pick
Tyrone Wheatley. When
Biakabutuka is hit, he has the
power to pick up extra yards.
Biakabutuka's one down-
fall, according to many, is
that he lacks the breakaway
speed needed for long
touchdown runs. But that's
not really a big deal. After
all, it's not often that Barry
Sanders breaks off an 80-yard
Also, Biakabutuka will get
his degree. He plans on
continuing to work for it, just
as Howard did when he left
for the NBA.
"I don't think I spent three
years of my life at college to
come out without a degree,"
Biakabutuka said. "It means a
lot to my mom, but it means
more to me."
It means so much to his
mother that she had told her
son to stay in school and not
worry about the family.
Misenga is still in Zaire
and doesn't know the
decision Tshimanga has
"She'll be disappointed,"
NBA Commissioner David Stem spoke at H
Stern rC eiv
By Paul Barger
Daily Sports Writer
David Stem, the commissioner of
the NBA, received the 37th annual
Business Leadership Award in front
of a packed house at Hale Auditorium
Stern, who was described as "the
best inside player in sports manage-
ment," spoke for approximately 20
minutes and then entertained a wide
variety of questions.
The speech was highlighted by clips
of NBA players during games, on
television talk shows and in commer-
The commissioner stressed the im-
portance of sports'in everyday life
and on a global scale.
ale Auditorium yesterday.
"Sports has become the de facto
standard for engaging our nation -in
conversation," Stern said.
Since Stern was named commis-
sioner of the NBA in 1984 the league
has experienced a meteoric rise. Last
season, NBA arenas were filled to 92
percent capacity for the entire season.
With extensive local and national
television contracts, as well as the
incredible amount of advertisements
basketball stars participate in, NBA.
players are now among the most rec-
ognizable celebrities in the world.
"Our players are known to our fans by
said. "They've all become part of us."
See STERN, Page 10
Tshimanga Blakabutuka eluded tacklers throughout the season, compiling a team-record
1,818 yards. Next year, the Michigan taliback hopes to post similar numbers in the NFL.
medical supplies, items scarce in
Zaire, to his sisters.
Add to that Biakabutuka's three
younger siblings in Quebec, and the
fact that his father works nine hours
from home, and you have a highly
talented tailback that wants to do
what he can to help his family.
And what he can do is go pro.
Biakabutuka admits that he
doesn't know where he will go in
the draft, but at the same time, he's
not very concerned.
"I'm confident enough in myself
to know that even if I go in the
seventh round, I'll work hard
enough to pick myself up," he said.
While it's doubtful Biakabutuka
will slip all the way to the middle of
the draft, he most likely won't go in
the first round.
That doesn't mean he's making a.
bad decision, though.
Biakabutuka proved this season
So are many Michigan fans, and
they've said so the past couple of
But due to the circumstances and
the man, the only thing that should
be said about Biakabutuka's
premature departure is this:
Good luck, and thanks for some
- Ryan White can be reached over
e-mail at email@example.com
I Interfraternity Council
IFC Open House
at Michigan League Ballroom
IFC Mass Meeting
at Michigan League Ballroom
The Office of ?cademic Multicultural 9nitiatives
is now taking applications for
positions for the King/Chavez/Parks
College Day Spring Visitation Program
Student leaders accompany visiting middle school
students throughout the day serving as guides
and role models while providing information about
the college experience. Student leaders usually
work in teams of three. They should be fairly
nitnin-ion s itiunc ave to kn I interet in