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March 11, 1996 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-11

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8B - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, March 11, 1996 BASKETBALL
rdue joins UMass, Uo, Kentucky as top seeds

By Paul Barger
Daily Sports Writer
There were two major surprises for the Big
Ten yesterday during the announcement of the
field for the NCAA Tournament.
One school was elated, while another suf-
fered a major disappointment.
Purdue, which lost to Iowa Saturday, was
given the No. I seed in the West bracket.
Minnesota was on the other end of the emo-
tional spectrum, left out of the field of 64.
'The Golden Gophers seemed to clinch a spot
in the tournament after beating Illinois for their
18th victory of the year. It is the first time since
the tourney expanded to 64 teams that a Big Ten
squad with at least 10 conference wins has been
denied a bid.
"I was shocked when Minnesota didn't get a
bid," Michigan coach Steve Fisher said. "They
played well down the stretch. I felt Minnesota

would be in."
In all, the Big Ten earned five berths in the
dance. The Boilermakers are joined by Michi-
gan, Penn State, Indiana and Iowa. Last season
the conference had six teams in the field, five of
which were knocked out in the'first round.
Most expected Kansas to receive a No. I seed
instead of Purdue even though the Jayhawks lost
the Big Eight conference championship game to
Iowa State yesterday.
The other top seeds are Atlantic-10 champion
Massachusetts, Big East champion Connecticut
and SEC power Kentucky.
"Purdue had a great year - not a good year,
a great year," Fisher said. "I would say that they
were very, very deserving (of the No. I seed).
Kansas could say the same thing. Both of them
lost their last games."
An interesting first-round matchup pits East-
ern Michigan against Duke in the Southeast

bracket. The winner of that game will likely face
Connecticut in the second round.
"I'm going to go with Eastern just because
they're right down the road," sophomore Maurice
Taylor said. "I've got a couple of homeboys on
that team."
For the first time in history there are two
teams in the tournament with losing records.
Central Florida will take on Massachusetts and
San Jose State, led by former Wolverine Olivier
Saint-Jean, will be thrown into the fire against
Kentucky. Both sub-.500 teams earned auto-
matic bids by winning their conference tourna-
The four Big Ten teams, besides Purdue, that
made it to the dance all face fairly tough first-
round opponents. Iowa earned a No. 6 seed after
defeating Purdue, but still has a difficult game
against George Washington.
Indiana is also a No. 6 seed and will play the

Big East's Boston College.
Penn State, a team that slumped at the end of
the year, still received a No. 5 seed, but must
play Arkansas.
Michigan made the tournament as a No. 7
seed and will take on the very quick Texas
Longhorns in the first round.
Other bubble teams besides Minnesota that
were left out of the NCAA tournament include
Tulane, Davidson, the College of Charleston,
Arkansas-Little Rock and Jerry Tarkanian's
squad, Fresno State.
Illinois basically had no chance of getting a
bid after losing to the Gophers to end the season.
Retiring coach Lou Henson will end his career
in the NIT.
Game times for the first round will be an-
nounced later in the week. The NCAA Tourna-
ment will begin at noon Thursday. The entire
tournament will be televised by CBS.

M' beats Northwestern
by donunating boards

By Brent McIntosh
Daily Sports Editor
EVANSTON - Northwestern is a
heck of a good high school team. The
Wildcats are big for a high school team,
have great skills for high schoolers and
play in a large high school gymnasium.
Unfortunately for fans of the Purple,
the Wildcats play in the Big Ten - a
college conference.
That much was obvious in the fun
had by Michigan last Wednesday - all
of it at the expense of the hapless Wild-
cats, who fell 77-50.
The Michigan players spent the latter
parts ofthegame- they were up 20 with
19:48 left - jovially blowing out the
frustrated Mildcats. If it wasn't a Louis
Bullock long bomb - the freshman fin-
ished with a game-high 21 points - it
was an Albert White dunk. Bullock's
fellow rookie had 11 points, 11 rebounds,
and two big slams in traffic.
_"We just had a lot of fun," Michigan
forward Maurice Taylor said.
,Unfortunately for Purple people, eat-
ing up the Wildcats was the order of the
f day for the Wolverines. About the clos-
est Northwestern came to stopping the
Wolverines was when, at the 10-minute
mark of the first half, Taylor threw
down an acrobatic two-handed jam -
only to have it take a strange bounce
back through the hoop.
It was Taylor's only miss of the half
in nine attempts.
"Maurice was unstoppable inside in
the first half," Michigan coach Steve
That was less true later, as Taylor
fouled out in only three minutes of
second-half play. He finished with 17
points and three blocks.
Taylor's disqualification required
Maceo Baston to re-enter the game, but
the 6-foot-9 forward also fouled out
less than 30 seconds later. Losing the
two big men didn't seem to affect the
Wolverines, whose rebounding statis-
tio frankly made Northwestern look
The Wolverinesgot51 of77 rebounds
and even out-boarded the taller Wild-
cats, 24-18, on Michigan shot attempts.
ITheirathleticismjust dominated us,"
Northwestern coach Ricky Byrdsong
said. "it looked like it was the offensive
bbards, but it was more than that."

Illini drops Blue
By Brent McIntosh
Daily Sports Editor
CHAMPAIGN - If it weren't for
having to greet his siblings after
Michigan's 73-62 loss at Illinois,
Wolverine coach Steve Fisher prob-
ably would have filed a missing
person's report for Maceo Baston.
The sophomore forward had just
one point in 22 minutes of play.
Illinois fans will probably file a like
report next year. They will be without
long-time coach Lou Henson, whose
team beat the Wolverines for the first
time since 1991.
"As much as I like Lou Henson ..
this is not the way I wanted my last
game against Lou to end," said Fisher,
whom Henson interviewed for an
assistant's position when he took the
Illinois post.
Henson's cause was aided by 21
points and five assists from Illini jun-
ior Kiwane Garris.
"Even when he's not scoring, he's
such a factor," Fisher said. "And to-
day, he was not only a factor, he was
Unlike Garris, Baston was neither
scoring nor a factor. His final stat line
included as many fouls and turnovers
as points and rebounds.
"We told (Bryant Notree) 'lfyoudon't
getarebound all afternoon, keep (Baston)
off the boards,"' Henson said.
Notree checked Baston's rebound-
ing so effectively that the Michigan
sophomore must have felt like he was
facing Gary Kasparov, and Notree
grabbed 10 boards to boot.
Maurice Taylor had 19 points to go
with his 12 rebounds, but the support
was sparse.
Bullock and Dugan Fife both had 12
points, hitting two and four treys re-
spectively, but combined to shoot 9-
,.for-26. Bullock didn't hit his first 3-
pointer until 31 minutes had passed
and the crowd had dogged him for an
early airball.
* "Lou Bullock played a little bit like
a freshman today," Fisher said.
One freshman who didn't play like
a freshman was Albert White, who
had 14 points and nine boards.

Neither Maceo Baston (30) nor Sam Okey (4) can quite get a handle on this rebound, and Michigan's
Louis Bullock (foreground) Isn't about to get involved in the struggle.

The dunking prowess of Michigan freshman Albert White
leaves Wisconsin's Jeremy Hall and Sam Okey bowing. White
will be a crucial factor in the Wolverines NCAA Tournament
Continued from page 11
here's what happened. The Wolverines played scared and
confused and ended up losing to Western Kentuckyin the
first round.
Yes, Michigan lost to Western Kentucky, a team whose
marketing slogan is "Western Kentucky Basketball: Our
Tickets Are Less Expensive Than Kentucky's or
In brief, last year's appearance was brief.
This year could be. a different story. Oh, Michigan won't
make the Final Four. (That's not all bad - the Final Four'
is in New Jersey.) But the Wolverines can beat Texas,"and
could even give Wake Forest a contest.
It's a question of which Michigan team shows up: ill
it be the feisty squad that whipped Wisconsin or the'
sleepwalking crew that lost five of six in the heart of the
Big Ten season? The fans, media and even opposing teams
don't know what to expect.
"I wouldn't mind a team wondering which Michigan
team will show up," guard Louis Bullock said. "That"
would keep them thinking."
Which Wolverines take the floor depends on ... ihih
Wolverines take the floor.
Fisher has to make some choices. The NCAA Totttha-
ment is war, and Fisher has to pick the soldiers he wats In
his foxhole.
Let me explain. You see, last year's team was notdnly,
very average, it was very unhappy. Several players were};
disappointed with their playing time, shots and positions.
Fisher decided this year's team would a different stoy:
So he has played nine Wolverines regularly (down' ta
seven with Robert Traylor and Jerod Ward injured.),14is
strategy has worked; everyone is buddy-buddy, and for th
first time since who-knows-when, no Michigan players ar
being rumored to transfer.-2
That's nice, but this is the Big Dance - you can't bring
a truckload of dance partners. If Fisher wants to keop"
everybody happy this weekend, he can buy them happy
meals, give them hugs, whatever - he just can't give them'
all playing time.
That means Michigan's two best players, Bullock ind
Maurice Taylor, each play as much as their stamina al-lows
them. It also means that unless Taylor is playing terribly,.
he needs to take at least 15 shots - something he hagdone
in only five of 31 games. The worst kind of game fdr"'
Michigan would be a defeat with Taylor shooting 8-fotO1,
like he did in a home loss to Iowa. If that happens, it r
means the Wolverines didn't give it their best shot. /
Maceo Baston should play as much as he can too,
provided he stays out of foul trouble. With Traylor out;
Baston is the team's only center. w
After those three, Fisher has to make two tough chiokes.
Choice No. 1: Travis Conlan or Dugan Fife? Fifei' r
consistent but never spectacular. Conlan is sometint '
spectacular but never consistent. Both players will start
but they won't both play the whole game. If Conlansist,
throwing the ball into the stands, he should sit therei-and ~
Fife becomes the point guard. They can't play together too:
much, because the last spot goes to..
Choice No. 2: Willie Mitchell or Albert White. FRtakly,.,r
this isn't such a hard choice. White is simply a bettet""
player than Mitchell, even when White plays poorly i'hw
Mitchell conntinhues to ze~t nlavinp- time because of his'iih-

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'2 a
Michigan's Willie Mitchell prays that his shot will fall

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