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February 12, 1996 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-12

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, February 12, 1996 - 5B

?Ishker stmggles
BY Paul Barger
DailySports Writer
WEST L AFAYETTE - Steve Fisher is h
-Year in and year out, the Michigan men's bas
reels in the finest recruiting classes in the count
However, with this success comes incredibl
ions. Expectations that Fisher has
riot met.
Yesterday the Wolverines were
basically eliminated from the Big Ten
title chase, losing at Purdue, 69-64.
y The Wolverines have lost four of
their past five games and have been as
inconsistent as a team can be.
There is no flow to the offense.
Half the time it seems like the players
have no idea what they are supposed
@o. Teams prepare to take on Michi-
gan and are afraid of the Wolverines' athleti
But when the games begin, it is the Wolverin
to be the nervous, confused ones.
Talent can only take a team so far. There has t
who can develop that talent and make gre,
players into a team.
Fisher was once again outcoached by Geneb
day. Keady has instilled confidence in his p1
ence that the current crop of Wolverines do
"Coach Keady is a big motivator," senior Bran
said: "He is always yelling and pumping guys
you want to win the ballgame."

as M' contbzues to slump
Fisher, on the other hand, does not appear to incite emotion
in his players.
is own worst In both losses to Purdue, Michigan started out flat. It is the
coach's job to make sure that his team is primed and ready for
ketball coach games of such magnitude.
ry. A coach's There will be those that point to Fisher's accomplishments
with the Fab Five in arguing that he is a great coach. But it is
y high expec- hard to believe that any coach would not have had success
with that group of players.
Don't expect any magical runs with this current group of
Wolverines. You will only be disappointed.
The Boilermakers came to Ann Arbor Jan. 31 and ex-
ecuted Keady's game plan to perfection. Everyone in the
building could see that Keady was the better coach that night.
It happened again Saturday.
With the game on the line, the home team showed poise,
patience and confidence. The Wolverines, who had just
staged a miraculous comeback, displayed the confusion and
mental errors that have plagued the team for the past two

c ability and
es who seem
o be someone
at individual
Keady yester-
ayers, confi-
not seem to
idon Brantley
up. It makes

The result: Michigan is 5-5 in the conference and in
jeopardy of not making the NCAA tournament.
Conversely, Purdue is in position to win its third straight
conference title despite not having any likely All-Big Ten
The Boilermakers are the epitome of team and they have
their coach to thank for their incredible success. Keady has
made his squad into unselfish overachievers.
"I just want to do what it takes to win," said senior Justin
Jennings when asked if he was disappointed about not
starting. "I will try to lead the team with emotion. Starting
really doesn't matter."
Maybe it is unfair to compare Fisher to Keady, one of the
best coaches in America.

But the fact remains that many teams in the Big Ten should
not be able to compete with Michigan. Not only do they play
with the Wolverines, they beat them. The conference is not
exactly a powerhouse anymore, yet Michigan continues to
Knowing the severity of the situation, Fisher must have his
team ready and eager to play throughout the remaining
There is no way that this team should have eight losses
already. The nonconference schedule was relatively easy and
the victories gained will likely be the only reason Michigan
will make the NCAA Tournament.

'. ...: Robert Traylor lies
face-down after his
fifth foul against
::Purdue. Michigan
rwas outscored 9.4
after Traylor fouled
Fisher now faces one of the toughest tasks of his career as
the leader of the Wolverines. Last season was a disappoint-
ment from start to finish. There were, however, some valid
excuses. This time around there are no excuses.
With all of the players that leave college basketball early,:
sophomores are now the stars of many of the nation's top;
teams. Youth cannot be used over and over again as the
reason for Michigan's mediocre play.
This team is backed into a corner and needs to play up tor
its potential for the duration of the season.
Steve Fisher brought a great deal of talent to Ann Arbor.
It is his job to do mold it into a winner.

w7vrnsca oln e tk o re bid for grated IY":;f

By Barry Sollenbrger
DailySports Editor
gan men's basketball team probably
dropped out of one race and into an-
other after losing to Purdue, 69-64, Sat-
Currently, the Wolveries are in sev-
th place in the conference at 5-5 and
il Penn State and Purdue by three
games in the loss column.
:Translation: They are out of the Big
Ten title chase.
For the record, Michigan last won the
conference in 1986.
Yes, the Wolverines are now in an-
other race-one they thought they won
long ago. Michigan finds itself in a
battle for an NCAA Tournament berth.
The Wolverines, with an overall
'* rd of 15-8, are not a lock for the Big
Dance. Last season, the conference
landed six teams in the tournament and
responded by winning just one first-
round game. The NCAA Selection
Committee isn't likely to give the Big
Ten as many tournament bids this sea-
son - especially since the league is
widely regarded as weak this year.
['s possible that the Big Ten will
ceive four or fewer berths this season.
o who's in and who's not?
Purdue (9-2 Big Ten, 19-4 overall)
and Penn State (9-2, 18-2) are the only
locs. Minnesota, Ohio State and North-
western don't have a shot. That leaves
Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan
State, Illinois and Wisconsin.
The rundown:
Michigan: Back when they were 14-
4, the Wolverines appeared to be a lock
for the NCAAs. But this current 1-4
Weak makes things interesting. The
olverines still have the inside track,
because 20 wins is in reach and they
play five of their last eight games at
Mitchell 13 0.4 0-0 3-5 0 2 0
Taylor 29 9-18 3-3 6-10 2 3 21
Traylor 21- 4-7 3-6 2-7 0 5 11
Fife 22 01 00 2311 0
Conlan 35 1-6 0-0 0-2 5 4 3
White 30 4-12 0-0 13 1 2 9
ock 24 1-5 7-8 02 0 3 9
oton 2 00 00 0-0 0 0 0
Totais 200 23-61 16-20 1943 1124 64
P0%: .377. FT%: .182. Three-point goals: 2-11,
.182 (Conlan 1-3, White 1-3, Bullock 0-3, Fife 0-
1, Baston 0-1). Blocks: 3 (Taylor 2, Baston).
Turnovers: 18 (Conlan 6, Baston 3, Mitchell 2,
Traylor 2, White 2, Taylor, Fife). Steals: 10
(Traylor 2, Conan 2, Mitchell, Taylor, Fife.
White, Baston, Bullock). Technical Fouls: Taylor.
Dove 19 1-4 22 12 2 2 4
Hairston 24 1-2 1-2 2-4 3 2 3
rantley 20 3-5 0-0 3-6 2 4 6
tin 23 48 12 0-1 1 3 11
obrs 37 06 58 2-5 8 1 5
Jennings 24 6-12 4-9 3-5 2 2 16
Miller 28 4-9 6-6 3-7 1 1 14
Foster 22 3-6 2-2 0-2 0 3 10
Eldridge 3 0-0 00 00 0 0 0
Totals 200 2252 2131 1435 1918 69
FG%: .423. FT%: .677. Threepont goals: 412,
.333 (Foster 2-5, Austin 2-4, Roberts 0-1,
Jennings 0-1, Miller 0-1). Blocks: 6 (Hairston 3,
Jennings 2, Brantley) Turnovers: 16 (Brantley 4,
Austin 3, Dove 2, Roberts 2, Jennings 2, Miller
2, Hairston). Steals: 6 (Hairston 3 Roberts,
Miller, Foster). Technical Fouls: none.
Michigan..26 38 -64
Purdue. 36 33--69
At: Mackey Arena; A: 14,123

It also doesn't hurt that when the
name "Michigan" is breathed, people
tend to listen. Last year's 17-14 NCAA
Tournament team benefited from this
name recognition.
Still, it would help the Wolverines'
chances if they started to win some
Indiana: Coach Bob Knight's team
is in an awkward position.
With seven games remaining, the
Hoosiers are 7-4 in league play but just
14-9 overall. This means that they can
still win the league, but they aren't
guaranteed a spot in the tournament
either. A5-5 non conference start didn't
The Hoosiers get Penn State at home
Wednesday and visit Ann Arbor Sun-
day. After that, they finish the year with
Purdue, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio State
and Michigan State.
The schedule isn't easy, but Indiana
has arguably the best player (Brian
Evans) and coach in the Big Ten.
That won't hurt come selection time.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes (6-5, 17-6) were
the preseason pick to win the league
and instead find themselves fighting for
their tournament lives. Yesterday's 76-
50 win over Indiana and an 11-1 non
conference record - including a win
over probable No. I seed Connecticut
The Hawkeyes play four oftheir final
seven league games on the road. And
the road has been long and tough for
The Hawkeyes are just 1-4 in Big
Ten games away from Carver Hawkeye

Michigan State: When Michigan
pounded the Spartans, 76-54, Jan. 13,
coach Tom Izzo's squad was 8-7 and
bound for the NIT.
Since then, Michigan State is 5-3
with impressive wins over Iowa and the
Nittany Lions. With seven games re-
maining, the Spartans are 7-4 in the
league and two games out of first place.
But Michigan State will still have to
go on quite a run to make the tourna-
The Spartans' current 13-10 overall
record hurts.
Illinois: The Illini were the Big Ten's
surprise of the non-conference season
in racing to an I1-1 start. Unfortunately
for coach Lou Henson, his squad has
continued to surprise - by losing al-
most every time out.
With star guard Kiwane Garris out
for much of the conference season, Illi-
nois has lost seven of 10 games.
Garris is back, but the Illini (3-7, 14-
8) aren't likely to get a bid.
Wisconsin: The Badgers (6-5, 14-9)
won big home games against Michigan
and Iowa and got a nice road win at
That alone is reason for joy in Madi-
son. Wisconsin was expected tobe look-
ing up at most of the conference after
losing Rashard Griffith and Michael
Finley from last year's squad, which
didn't make the tournament.
If only coach Dick Bennett's squad
would have won a couple more games
early, Wisconsin would be NCAA-
Instead, it's hello NIT.

Bottom left: Purdue's
Todd Foster dribbles past
Dugan Fife. Foster scored
10 points off the bench
for the Boilermakers.

Top: Michigan's Maurice Bottom Right: Travis
Taylor dunks two of his Conlan turned the ball
game-high 21 points. over six times Saturday.

free throw
By Paul Barger
Daily Sports Writer
loss to Purdue Saturday cannot be-
blamed on foul shooting. The Wolver-
ines' old nemesis has recently become,
a team strength.
Since going 21-28 from the charity
stripe against Illinois,
Michigan has been
outstanding from the
foul line. Saturday,
the Wolverines con-
tinued their improve- Notebook
ment, hitting 16 times
in 20 attempts.
Michigan has shot
over 72 percent from
the foul line since the
start of conference play.
GOLD AND BLUE: A new rule insti-
tuted in the Big Ten states that the away
team has the first choice on whether or
not it wants to wear gold uniforms. This
created a problem for Purdue Saturday.
The Boilermakers had planned on
wearing gold, but were forced to change
when the Wolverines came out in their
Purdue coach Gene Keady has a
simple solution to the problem - get
rid of gold uniforms.
"You see what kind ofproblems we're
going to have here," Keady said.
SLuMP: The last time the Wolverines
lost four of five games was during the
1990-91 season, when they lost four
Prior to that, the last time a Michigan
team accomplished this dubious feat
was during the 1983-84 season.
That squad, coached by Bill Frieder
and led by Roy Tarpley, went on to
finish second in the conference and win
the NIT.
in the midstofMichigan's current down-
turn, the team's freshmen have been
flourishing. Saturday, Louis Bullock,
Robert Traylor and Albert White com-
bined for 29 of the Wolverines' 64
Each player has played an important
role on this year's sqaud. Bullock is
averagingjust under 14 points pergame,
the sixth-best freshman average in the
history of Michigan basketball.
Traylor has shaken off early-season
frustrations and has been a force in the
Big Ten. He has scored eight or more
points in all but one conference matchup.
THE DISH: Michigan point guard
Travis Conlan is leading the Big Ten in
assists during conference games. Go-
ing into Saturday's contest, the sopho-
more was averaging 6.6 assists per
Conlan had five assists, but six turn-
overs against the Boilermakers.
FIFE RETURNS: Senior captain Dugan
Fife started his second consecutive game
He had started in 65 straight contests
before being taken out of the lineup
against Arizona Nov. 22.
ines will once again appear on ESPN

Photos by JOE WESTRATE/Daily

Evans falters as Hawkeyes whip Hoosiers, 76-50

i' T'n Standings
Big Ten Overall

"Pl- A--+-A D--

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