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February 28, 1997 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-28

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L.A. Lakers 122, BOSTON 6,

No. 7 DUKE 81.
No 16 Maryland 69
(OHIO) 83,
St. Bonaventure 59
No. 15 ARIZONA 100,
Washington St. 86
No. 11 New Mexico 90,

No. 4 Utah 68,
Centenary 71
Chicago 70. _

Minnesota 107,
Chadotte 106
Pittsburgh 1

Tampa Bay 2
St, Louis 2
Buffalo 1

February 28, 1997


NCAAs or bust?

Icers' tourney spot
already secured

Final games are
must-wins for Blue

d Mark Snyder
ally Sports Writer
Everything has been determined for
the Wolverines.
The Michigan hockey team clinched
the CCHA title against Lake Superior
last Friday.
The victory assured the Wolverines
entry into the NCAA regionals three
weeks from now - most likely as the top
seed in the West region at Grand Rapids.
The Wolverines also secured a No. 1
eed in the CCHA playoffs, and the con-
ference tournament remains eight days
in the future. Michigan's first-round
opponent is Alaska-Fairbanks, but the
Nanooks cannot be scouted because
their regular season is over.
So what does Michigan have to worry
about this weekend as it tours Ohio?
Very little.
And that is the very reason the two
games are so important.
Throughout the season, Michigan has
maintained its goals and achieved them.
The College Hockey Showcase led to
the Great Lakes Invitational which led
into the regular-season championship.
But the next goal - the CCHA play-
off championship - remains on hold.
And lackluster performances this
weekend would halt any momentum the
team has - something assistant captain
Jason Botterill fears.
"It's not as if we can just turn a switch
on and start playing well," he said. "We
need to start building momentum. We've
done that the last couple weeks, and we
need to continue."
Michigan travels to Miami tomorrow
to take on the CCHA's second-place
team. Unlike Michigan, Miami's future
is still undetermined.
In the CCHA playoffs, which begin a
week from today, teams are seeded

according to their regular-season confer-
ence finish. And Miami, which has 35
points in the conference, is only two
points ahead of fourth-place Michigan
State with each team having two games
left (third-place Lake Superior has 34
points but has concluded CCHA play).
The difference between second and
third place remains significant.
The fourth-place team will play either
Western Michigan or Bowling Green -
each with 24 points - while the second
place team hosts Ohio State (19 points).
Saturday's game in Oxford will be
Michigan's first contest against Miami
since the end of January. Entering that
weekend, the Redskins were in a first-
place tie with Michigan in the CCHA.
They left Yost Ice Arena without a point
and suddenly were four points behind
the Wolverines.
Revenge is surely on Miami's mind,
and for its season to be a success, a vic-
tory over Michigan would help achieve
that goal.
Michigan coach Red Berenson said
Miami's intensity is not the only reason
to put forth a quality effort.
"It's important to the league that you
put your best foot forward every night,"
he said. "I want to go into the playoffs
with some momentum"
Before the playoffs begin, Michigan
must also take on, the surging Buckeyes
at the Columbus Fairgrounds on Sunday.
Ohio State sent shock waves through
the CCHA last Sunday, ripping
Michigan State, 8-3. This Sunday's game
is the final contest of the regular season
for both teams.
The game is just what Berenson fears
entering this weekend.
"We don't want to lose a game,
because we didn't think it was that
important" he said.

By Daniel. Rumoru
Daily Sports Editor
The Wolverines are going for a hat
trick, and hockey has nothing to do with
The Michigan basketball team, after
losing to No. 2 Minnesota, 55-54, two
nights ago,is looking to win its last three
games of the season, beginning Sunday
at Illinois and finishing with
Northwestern next Wednesday and Ohio
State next Sunday..
The Wolverines are in a must-win sit-
uation for an NCAA tournament bid,
having lost four straight Big Ten games.
They are also in danger of finishing
below .500 in the conference for the first
time since the 1991 season.
"We need a win; we need a win,"
Michigan coach Steve Fisher said.
"We've been hard-pressed to get one,
we've been there, but we haven't gotten
"We need to dig down as deep as we
can and get every ounce of pride that we
got in who we are and say, if we go
down, there won't be a bullet left in
either gun, and we're going to be fight-
ing right to the end."
It is safe to say that the Wolverines are
on the NCAA tournament bubble.
Prospects for a bid look bleak for the
Wolverines, who have made an NCAA
appearance every year since 1991. The
NCAA selection committee announces
the 64-team field next Sunday.
After falling to the Golden Gophers,

the Wolverines are sure to fall out of thc
top 25 for the first time this season, a
long way from their season-high No. 4
ranking they enjoyed in late December.
So, a sub-.500 conference record and
the possibility of being un-ranked makes
it necessary for the Wolverines (7-8 P.ig
Ten, 17-10 overall) to impress the tour-
nament committee. According to Fisher.
it is up to the Wolverines to take it one
game at a time and finish strong.
"If you don't win all three, you go 9-9
and it depends on who you beat (for the
NCAAs)'" Fisher said. "If webeat
Illinois, it's a ranked team on their floor,
but it probably means we got to win
three games."
Illinois is the only ranked team out of
the Wolverines' three remaining games.
The 21st-ranked Illini (9-6, 19-8) have
won five of their last seven conference
games, losing at Minnesota by a point
earlier this week. The Wolverines beat
the Illini, 88-74,.earlier in the season.
Ohio State and Northwestern are in
ninth and 10th place, respectively, in the
conference standings.
The Buckeyes have also struggled as
of late but did upset the Wolverines, 73-
71, in Michigan's first home conference
game of the season.
"We just got to focus on these next
three games," Michigan co-captain
Travis Conlan said. "They're the most
important games probably of our careers
so far. The reason we came (to Michigan)
is to play in the NCAA tournament.'

It's been all downhill for Michigan since it lost to Michael Lewis and Indiana on Feb. 16.
BuS break for

-a -r

By Josh Kleinbaum
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan softball team will be in
warm weather over spring break, but it
won't have too much time to bask in the
The Wolverines (4-2-1) will compete
in two tournaments and a doubleheader
at Alabama over the break.
"There will be a lot of chances for
people to get time at the plate and in the
field over this next week," Michigan
coach Carol Hutchins said.
Michigan opens its slate tonight at the
NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus,
Ga., with two games. The Wolverines
take on Missouri at 6 p.m., and
Princeton at 8.
Tomorrow, the tournament turns to
double-elimination, and Michigan
should get to play several of the 17

teams in the field. The championship
will be held on Sunday.
The Wolverines will rely heavily on
the hitting of first baseman Traci Conrad,
who is batting .500 on the season and has
one home run and seven RBI.
Michigan's pitching trio of Kelly
Holmes, Jamie Gillies and Sara Griffin
will have to put in a lot of innings over
the next 10 days. Holmes (1-1) has
struck out 13 batters in her 16 innings o
work and has an ERA of 0.88. The
Wolverines will head to Alabama on
Tuesday to play their first doubleheader
of the season against the Crimson Tide.
Michigan closes out its break in
Tampa, Fla., at the Speedline Invitational
next weekend, The Wolverines will play
five games before the elimination round,
in which they'll play anywhere from one
to four more games.

Baseball team anxious
By Tracy Sandler
Daily Sports Writer
After losing three games to Alabama
on the road last weekend, Michigan's
boys of summer are preparing for their
spring trip to Florida.
The team's schedule includes games
at Stetson tomorrow and Sunday; games
against Maine, Virginia Tech and Rollins
in the Rollins Baseball Week
Tournament in Winter Park, Fla.,
Monday through Saturda; and one more
game against Maine on March 9.
Despite three lopsided losses, the
team has not lost any confidence.

to go to Sunshine State
"We just need to do the things we're
capable of doing," Michigan baseball
coach Geoff Zahn said. "We've got to
catch balls, throw guys out and the
pitchers need to throw the ball over the
plate. Part of that is just getting out-
Aside from hitting fly balls outside,
the team has been forced to practice
inside all week. They will get sone time
outside today, when they arrive in
Orlando to field balls on grass and dirt.
"We're excited to see what we can
do," Zahn said. "We want to learn as
much as we can about the team.'

F _ e u '
r e eieeA n nasal ee

JtANNItL tVAAa/ Laiy
John Madden and the Michigan hockey team hope not to take a dive in their last
two regular season games and kill their momentum going into the playoffs.

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