The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 27, 1997 - 11A
Taking big bite out of Big Apple
means speanng Seminoles
Wolverines will have to cool down Florida State to win NIT title
*y Will McCahiIl
Daily Sports Editor
NEW YORK - Florida State coach Pat
Kennedy may have said it best yesterday in
describing tonight's NIT final between his
Seminoles and the Michigan men's basketball
"This is not a state championship, this is not
a conference championship," Kennedy said.
"This title tomorrow night will be a national
And indeed, national recognition is on the
line when the Wolverines (23-1 1) face Florida
State (20-11) at 7:30 tonight at Madison
The two teams have hardly had similar roads
to the Big Apple.
Michigan began the season ranked in the top
10, and rose as high as No. 4 before plummet-
ing to an ignominious seventh-place Big Ten
The Seminoles, meanwhile, have hardly felt
1e burden of great expectations. A middle-of-
the-pack squad in the powerhouse ARC,
Florida State posted big wins in January ever
nationally ranked North Carolina and
Maryland, and followed those victories u* by
knocking off Clemson on its home turf 'nd
ambushing Wake Forest in Tallahassee.
For their efforts, however, the Seminoles
finished the conference season exactly wllere
the Wolverines did - in seventh place. '
Florida State enters tonight's contest hawing
*ome from behind to win its last two gam~es.
The Seminoles trailed by as many as 10 points
in their quarterfinal meeting at West Virginia
before edging the Mountaineers, 76-71.
And in Tuesday's semifinal against
Connecticut, Florida State rallied from a five-
point deficit in the last minute to force over-
tini 'then shut the Huskies down for a 71-65
The Seminoles received a huge lift in the
semifinal win from junior point guard Kerry
Thompson. Thompson scored 20 points -
including the 3-pointer with five seconds left
in regulation that sent the game into overtime
- while dishing out nine assists.
Playing at the Garden has been a homecom-
ing for Thompson, a New York native.
Thompson was so excited to play in the
Garden, in fact, that Kennedy said his floor
general hardly slept Monday night.
"Kerry had a very interesting and cute state-
ment," Kennedy said. "He said he only slept 10
minutes the night before the game."
The Wolverines will also have to be on the
lookout for the Seminoles' leading scorer,
senior guard James Collins. Collins turned in a
29-point effort against Connecticut after a 24-
point showing against West Virginia.
Although Florida State does have some size
to throw at Michigan's burly frontcourt - in 6-
foot-9 junior forward Corey Louis and 6-11
sophomore forward Randell Jackson - the
big question mark is 6-10 senior center Kirk
Luchman sprained his right ankle in the first
half of Tuesday's game, and Kennedy is uncer-
tain of Luchman's availability.
"We really need Kirk" he said. "We'll see in
practice how he feels."
Kennedy floated the idea of an off-court
meeting between the 274-pound Luchman and
300-pound Michigan sophomore center
"I thought we cpuld get Kirk and Robert
Traylor and have sqme sumo wrestling before
the game,' he said. "It might attract a little
Not only must tle frontcourt trio of junior
forwards Maceo Brston and Maurice Taylor
and Traylor dominate and intimidate in the
paint, Fisher said, but bench play must also be
Florida State (20-1) Michigan (2311)
In Tuesday's victory over Arkansas, junior
forward Jerod Ward broke out of his recent
slump, scoring 15 points in 18 minutes as a
"Jerod came off the bench and had 15 very
important points for us, and made a huge con-
tribution" Fisher said.
"We've had good contributions from every-
body, and I think (Tuesday's game) was indica-
tive of that."
Fisher said he had many options in the way
of entertainment last night, including taking in
the Knicks-Pistons matchup at the Garden, but
preferred to spend the night on Broadway
before returning to make a run at Michigan's
first NIT title since 1984.
"We have a dilemma as to whether we're
(going to) the Knicks-Pistons game tonight, or
go to see (the musical) 'Bring in Da Noise,
Bring in Da Funk.'
"I think I'm leaning to the latter."
Michigan center Robert Traylor hopes the Wolverines find the same success tonight against Florida
State as they did Tuesday against Arkansas.
This time, Wolverines had presidential edge
By Alan Goldenbach
Daily Sports Editor
NEW YORK - When Michigan last
met up with Arkansas, in the 1994
Midwest Regional final of the NCAA
tournament, the Razorbacks had a little
executive power on their side.
President Bill Clinton, an Arkansas
native was in attendance at Dallas'
Reunion Arena to cheer on his Hogs.
Sure enough, he didn't leave the arena
disappointed as Arkansas sent Michigan
packing, 76-68, with the Razorbacks on
their way to winning the national cham-
So Michigan decided to use its alumni
ties to find a White House link of their
own - former President Gerald Ford, a
1935 Michigan graduate.
Ford had called Michigan coach Steve
Fisher in Fisher's hotel room Tuesday
morning as the team was about to leave
for breakfast. He asked the Michigan
skipper if he could talk to the players.
How could Fisher turn down an offer
"He has called me two or three times
every year," Fisher said. "He was
absolutely fantastic. He met us at a pub-
lic restaurant and stayed for an hour and
a half and was the last guy to leave.
"We asked him if we could take a
group picture and he went around the
room and took individual shots with each
member of the team. Every kid will have
a picture that Ford will personalize. I
know I will have mine."
Ford was also in attendance at
Garden last night, and
to no one's surprise,
the presidential influ-
ence worked again, as
Wolverines to the
Clinton did for
"They kept saying it was a tire change
and our plane kept changing tires," band
director Jeff Grogan said. "Finally, they
canceled the flight."
There was a minor accident at New
York's LaGuardia Airport earlier in the
day involving a corporate jet and a ser-
vice truck on one of the runways, which
caused some brief delays.
Ten minutes after the cancellation, the
cheerleaders were able to hop onto a
plane bound for tiny White Plains
Airport, which is about 45 minutes from
But they couldn't get to the arena
because their baggage was still on the
plane they were originally scheduled to
take. There wasn't enough time to get
their bags and still make the other flight.
So, it was off to New Jersey's Newark
Airport, about an hour drive from the
Garden, to meet up with their baggage
and the band.
Finally, at about 9:50 p.m., eight min-
utes into the game, the cheerleaders
charged into the arena to a half-rousing,
The band followed about ten minutes
later, receiving a similar greeting. But the
delay didn't upset the crew as it played as
loud as it ever had.
"It was just a real wild day for us'
Michigan cheerleader Mandy Froede
Maybe it was a wild day for Froede
and her mates, but their entrance mode
for a wild night for Florida State coach
"I think the most significant eventtof
last night was when the Michigan band
entered the arena," Kennedy said. "I kept
hearing that Michigan fight song all
night long. My wife woke me up at five
in the morning and said, 'You've gotta'
stop humming that song. You have to beat
THE MOST NOTABLE OF QUOTABLES:
Michigan junior guard Brandun Hughes,
never the least bit bashful with his actions
nor his mouth, added to his list of great
lines last night.
With 3:38 to go in the first half,
Hughes charged after a loose ball head-
ing for a row of reporters. He hopped
over the table at which they were seated
and into the first row of fans.
Nobody was hurt, but Hughes did
knock over a fan's beer.
So what were the first words out of his
mouth? You'd expect something along
the lines of, "Are you all right?"
But in classic form, Hughes jokingly
yelled out, "I dropped the brew, man. I
No word yet as to whether Yale has
asked George Bush to come by for its
games next season.
STRIKE UP THE BAND?: As Michigan
and Arkansas took the floor for warmups
following the first semifinal game, there
was a notable absence on Michigan's end
of the floor: Michigan's band and its
cheerleaders were nowhere to be found.
Apparently, both squads were sched-
uled to fly into New York that afternoon,
but ran into some problems at Detroit
Metro airport. According to several band
members and cheerleaders, their airplane
had a flat tire, which resulted in a four-
Aichigan's Brandun Hughes' attempted save strikes fear into the hearts of Daily sports
editors Alan "Bronx Boniber" Goldenbach and "Whatcha talkin''bout Willis" McCahill.
Injuries plague remaining women hoopsters
CINCINNATI (AP) - They've
rehabbed torn knees, taped up broken
finigers, limped around on bum ankles
id wondered where oh where it would
Old Dominion lost its backup center
to Aoshimoto's Disease. Tennessee lost
its starting point guard to a torn knee lig-
ament during a preseason pickup game.
Things got so bad that Notre Dame
suijed up its student manager for the
NCAA tournament. Stanford resorted to
calling in an All-America volleyball
The road to Cincinnati has been a
*ajor pain for the four teams competing
fQr the women's national championship
this weekend at Riverfront Coliseum.
They've had to be as concerned with the
breaks as with their brackets.
There were plenty of reasons to
count all four finalists out along the
way. One starter would go down, fol-
lowed by her replacement. I
No one has been hit harder than Notre
Dame (31-6), which was down to seven
scholarship players at one point because
of injuries. A student manager suited up
during the NCAA East Regional just to
give the Irish a chance.
"All we've heard all along is we only
have seven or eight people, we don't
have enough horsepower, we don't have
the depth, we don't have the size and we
don't have the quickness," Notre Dame
coach Muffet McGraw said. "This team
likes to hear what they can't do, then
they turn around and do it."
Notre Dame (31-6) can compare scars
with Tennessee (27-10) in their semifinal
on Friday night. The Lady Vols lost point
guard Kellie Jolly before the season
began, one reason for a poor start.
"At the time we were going through
that, we were wondering if we were
going to see the end of the tunnel, so to
speak," coach Pat Summitt said.
Fortunately for Tennessee, Jolly was
able to return and play effectively. The
Lady Vols were 10-6 without her and 17-
4 since her return, putting them in posi-
tion for their fifth national title.
"When we started the season, I did not
think this basketball team could win a
national championship," Summitt said.
"On paper, I said we're not supposed to
win. But I'm not going to count this bas-
ketball team out."
Stanford (34-1) was just looking for
players when a series of injuries -
strained knees, a broken finger -
depleted the roster. Coach Tara
VanDerveer turned to Kristin Folkl, an
All-America volleyball player who led
Stanford to the national championship in
"I don't know that I've ever been on a
team that's so close," Folkl said. "You
wouldn't believe the bonding that goes
on. It's rare that everyone on a team is so
committed to one goal."
Old Dominion (33-1) has been the
healthiest of the bunch. Backup center t ic
Angie Liston has been sidelined since
Jan. 31 by a thyroid condition called
Hoshimoto's Disease. Clarisse GIORGIO ARMANI
Machanguana missed a couple of games SR
As long as All-America point guard A a vi K'ei
Ticha Penicheiro stays healthy, Old LC lvinI Klin
Dominion figures it has a chance. 320 S. State St.
"We've got the best point guard in the
nation and I wouldn't hesitate to go to (lower level of Decker Drugs)
war with her on the court," coach Wendy 662-1945
Larry said. "She'll give us everything we
want and then some."
Are You Interested in Going
to Israel this Summer and
YFIL QW Earning Six Credits from the