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January 24, 1997 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-24

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Scoreboard
MS co eoaLNATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
SMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBA LL Miami 99, TORONTO 87
No. 8 MINNESOTA 66, Iowa 51 ORLANDO 96, Milwaukee 92
No. 2 Wake Forest, No. 4 CLEMSON 62 Chicago 87, CLEVELAND 71
Memphis 64, NO.6 LOUISVILLE 58 New York 92, INDIANA 90
No. 11 ARIZONA 99, Oregon 48 HOUSTON 111, New Jersey 104
No. 16 Xavier 62, G. WA SH. 61
Home team in CAPS

Friday
January 24, 1997

11

Blue to go outside Big

Ten to fight State

By John Lerol
Daily Sports Editor
No Jud Heathcote. No Shawn Respert.
No Fab Five.
No fight for the conference title.
Heck, it's not even counted as a confer-
ence game.
If there weren't such a heated rivalry
between Michigan and Michigan State,
tomorrow's 8 p.m. game in East Lansing
would be nothing more than two middle-
of-the-pack Big Ten teams fighting over
who's not quite in the middle.
Both teams are 4-3 in conference play,
tied for fifth place, smack dab in the mid-
dle of the Big Ten. Both are coming off
gut-wrenching losses that have removed
them from the Big Ten race.
Still, tomorrow's game, televised by
Creative Sports (Channel 7 in Ann Arbor
and Detroit), promises to be an emotional
one. After all, it is still Michigan vs.
Michigan State. The two teams have jock-
eyed for position as the state's best team
for decades.

"It's a special matchup," said Michigan
State coach Tom Izzo who has been
involved in the rivalry since he took his
first job at Michigan State in 1983 - one
year after Steve
Fisher joined the
Michigan coaching ,
staff.
What is special is
that no matter how
large the talent dif-
ferential between Who: No. 13 Mich
the two teams, every State
game is a good one. Where: Breslin Ci
Last year's pair of When: Tomorrow,
Michigan wins was W
the first time in Why: The only thi
years that the results TV: Creative Spor
were lopsided.
And the Breslin Center crowds, though
not usually rowdy, hate Michigan with a
passion unrivaled anywhere else in the
country.
Michigan State freshman Jason
Webber's parents won't even make the 90-

minute drive from Birmingham to watch
the game in person. Breslin crowds were
never particularly kind to their other son,
Chris, when he played for Michigan.
Jason isn't
exactly the mar-
quee player his
V$, brother was. He's
far from being the
Spartans' leading
scorer - that dis-
gan vs. Michigan tinction goes to
senior guard Ray
ter, East Lansing Weathers.
p.m. Michigan fans
. .tmay remember
left is pnde Weathers as being
3 (Channel 7) a rather unspectac-
ular successor to
Respert last year. But Weathers has
improved drastically as Michigan State's
go-to guy this season, averaging almost 13
points per game.
Izzo's biggest threat is his deep bench.
The Spartans don't exactly have a star

player, but Izzo gets half a dozen points
from at least 10 guys a game. Michigan
State will rotate as many as 12 guys with-
out losing much.
And while the Spartans aren't exactly a
talented squad, they are athletic and hard-
working. Izzo tries to run as much as pos-
sible to generate offense. Freshman point
guard Mateen Cleaves has been progress-
ing slowly but surely and now seems com-
fortable leading the offense either in tran-
sition or in half-court.
Defensively is where Michigan State
must win games. Before Illinois scorched
them for 11 3-pointers in a 66-63 Illini
victory Wednesday night, the Spartans had
the stingiest 3-point defense in the confer-
ence.
State also boasts the Big Ten's third-best
scoring defense. The Spartans aren't too
shabby on the boards either - sophomore
Antonio Smith is the Big Ten's sec9nd-
best rebounder.
Michigan State does however have a
See SPARTANS, Page 13

JONATHAN LURIE/Special to the Daily
Travis Conlan and the Wolverines will have to hold on to the
ball against a tough Michigan State defense tomorrow night.

No. 1 MICHIGAN VS. No. 10 MIAMI (OHIO)

e

tto

~~~~_ ~~~~~ ~-- -
The logjam at the
top of the CCHA
Team W L T Pts.
Michigan 12 1 2 26
Miami(Ohio) 13 4 0 26
Lake Superior 12 4 2 26
Michigan State 10 2 2 22
L------------- -------------------------------4

1!ni

Tonight

and tomorrow,

Yost Ice Arena, 7,p.m.

to

,Michigan and Miami will

meet to decide who's tops in the CCHA

Dy Mark Snyder
Daily Sports Writer
This weekend, the season-long leader
of the CCHA visits Ann Arbor.
Instead of the familiar teams from
Sault Ste. Marie and East Lansing, the
#Michigan hockey team must contend
with a new competitor.
'The opponent is not a traditional
CCHA power, but a team that has been
subpar for the past few seasons -
Miami (Ohio).
Miami (13-4-0 CCHA, 19-7-0 over-
all) has joined last season's co-champi-
ons, Michigan and Lake Superior, atop
the conference standings as each team
has compiled 26 points entering this
weekend's action.
And it is games against the conference
leaders which will go a long way toward
determining where this season's champi-
obn will hail from.
With games tonight and tomorrow at
7 p.m., Michigan (12-1-2, 21-1-3) will
'challenge Miami at Yost Ice Arena,
which will, for the first time this season,
be the site of a "big-game weekend."
'Before the season, this series may
have been viewed as a mediocre tune-up
for Michigan before the CCHA stretch
run to follow. Not anymore - the stretch
run begins tonight.
The Redskins were pegged as the
CCHA's seventh-place team in the pre-
season coaches' poll. But that was based
on past mediocre seasons - 28-37-10
since 1994-95.
Did Miami coach Mark Mazzoleni
feel slighted?
"I thought it was a fair pick, because
*we hadn't played any games yet,' he

said. "(But) I knew we had a better team
(than the pick). I felt that if we could
solidify our goaltending, we'd be a much
improved team."
Goaltending has not been a problem.
Junior Trevor Prior, last season's inex-
perienced netminder, has established
himself as one half of the league's top
tandem - a duo which has been the key
to Miami's success. In his 18 contests
this season, he has a 2.55 goals-against
average and leads the CCHA with a .900
save percentage.
Prior is joined in the net by fellow
junior Adam Lord, a refugee from the
disbanded Illinois-Chicago program.
Lord has held opponents to 3.32 goals in
his 10 games.
The goalies' rotation in and out of the
net has kept opponents off-guard and
unbalanced all season long.
And Mazzoleni is not making any
guarantees for tonight either.
"I'm leaning towards splitting them
this weekend," he said. "Because the
quality of shots they're going to face,
they've each got to focus on a game."
After last season's 10-22-4 record,
average expectations have been replaced
by big results thus far for Miami.
"When you finish in seventh place
and haven't done a hell of a lot, no one
owes you anything," Mazzoleni said.
"Even though we took some lumps last
year, we were playing a lot of freshmen
and sophomores, which gave them a lot
of on-ice experience."
Now, those players are sophomores
and juniors and make up the core of the
Miami roster.
The offensive firepower comes from

sophomore forward Randy Robitaille,
who leads the CCHA in scoring for
league games, and junior Tim Leahy,
who has recorded seven game-winning
goals.
"We have some kids who can defi-
nitely play," Mazzoleni said. "(In the
past), we had to work really hard to get
the puck to the net. Whereas now we
have some guys who can step up and
snap off(a shot) from 25 feet. Tim is one
of those kids"
Mazzoleni had compiled a subpar 22-
25-10 conference record in two seasons
behind the Miami bench, and there was
no reason to think this season would be
any different. But with a record of
rebuilding behind him, it was inevitable
that Mazzoleni would build a winner.
From 1988-90, Mazzoleni's
Wisconsin-Stevens Point team won the
Division Ill national title each season.
But Michigan is hardly a Division III
team, and Mazzoleni knows it.
"The (Michigan) team may be one of
the best teams I've ever seen in college
hockey, Mazzoleni said. "When you put
that with the tremendous support and
enthusiasm that is generated in Yost
Arena, I think that team goes to another
level".
With first place on the line, Michigan
may need that crowd to defeat the
unknown team from Oxford.

FILE PHOTO/Daily
Michigan put the moves on Miami (Ohio) last season. Things might be different this time against the surprise of the CCHA.
For full hockey
coverage read _ _ _ _
SPORTSlvonday. ru l y

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