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March 28, 1997
The Michigan basketball team defeated Florida State to win the
NIT while the defending national champion hockey team fell to
Boston University in the NCAA semifinals.
Icers a symbol of
success despite loss
One word for
By Andy Knudsen
Daily Sports Writer
MILWAUKEE - The only people
giving Boston University a chance this
week were the Wolverines.
Why? Because they know from past
experience how hard it is to win games
in the NCAA tournament.
Michigan has had seven consecutive
-30,win seasons but has lost in the semi-
finals four times in the past six years,
ith a quarterfinal loss in 1993-94 to
After Michigan won the national
season, the fans
and media seemed
u - Q to forget how dif-
ficult it really is to
win a national
that Michigan was
r not the favorite to
f win last season.
And that nothing
goes exactly like it's supposed to in sin-
"When you get to this point in the sea-
son, you have to be playing your best,"
Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "We
obviously didn't play our best game.'
Boston has been on a hot streak, very
similar to Michigan last year.
The Wolverines have been well-pre-
pared for every game this season, and
last night was no exception.
"I think we were mentally ready to
play," defenseman Harold Schock said
with teary eyes. "It was the most impor-
tahi thing in everybody's life on our team
this week, and for the majority of this
season - to win this tournament.'
The shocked and dejected lockerroom
last night showed the importance of the
game to the Wolverines.
"We just didn't have that edge with the
puck tonight," Berenson said. "Our good
chances were going astray, and we
weren't as sharp as we need to be."
It has been said all year that the season
would be a failure without a national title.
No team has repeated as national
champion since Boston in 1971 and '72.
A streak like that doesn't last 25 years
"These kids aren't machines,"
Berenson said. "They've lived up to
expectations until this one game."
Expectations of a championship from
the first day of practice are foolish.
A sullen Brendan Morrison knew his
team couldn't consider itself a failure.
"We can't walk out of here with our
heads down," Morrison said. "We made
a good run at it this year. Unfortunately,
things didn't work.out in the end."
Morrison and his class of nine seniors
have taken Michigan hockey to its high-
est level in three decades.
They became the first class ever to
win four regular-season CCHA champi-
They brought the national title back to
Ann Arbor for the first time in 32 years
and raised the program's already high
Many will say last night's 3-2 loss in
the semifinals is a continuation of a post-
season jinx. And many will say
Michigan still can't win the big game.
But how can a program that has fin-
ished third or higher in the nation in five
of the past six years be considered any-
thing but a success?
While it may have taken consecutive
titles for this team to historically go
down as a dynasty, Michigan fans should
have nothing but fond memories of this
senior class and Michigan hockey in this
NEW YORK - Champions. It's a
sweet-sounding word, three syl-
lables that athletes and coaches
at every level put their hearts and souls
into, spill blood, sweat and tears to be
able to utter.
And after last night's 82-73 victory
over Florida State in the NIT champi-
onship game, it is a word that aptly fits
the Michigan men's basketball team.
Never mind the
fact that it's not
the NCAA title.
Forget all the
of that matters - W
they have them-
selves a national MCCAHILL
championship. Whatcha talkin'
The Wolverines 'bout Willis?
have been playing
inspired ball since
being denied entry to the Big Dance,
and now the Wolverines are savoring
the fruits of their labors.
And they deserve it.
It's been a tough year for the team,
for coach Steve Fisher down the line.
There were times when the team's emo-
tions were lower than the chilliest
Midwest winter temperatures. And
although that's not been forgotten, win-
ning the NIT has given the Wolverines
a large measure of redemption.
You could see the relief on the play-
ers' faces as they cut down the nets at
Madison Square Garden last night, as
they donned their NIT championship
hats and t-shirts.
After watching Minnesota cut down
the Crisler Arena nets, the Wolverines
got to cut down some of their own, got
to exorcise some of the demons that
would've made the off-season colder
and bleaker than any Ann Arbor winter.
It was a happy bunch of Wolverines
on that floor last night, and it was a
good thing to see.
The difference between last night fnd
late in the Big Ten season - during
Michigan's five-game skid - was
night and day, and you couldn't have
wished it for a better group of guys.,t
was tough to cover this team wherrthey
were losing, tough to see the players
hang their heads, scowling at their*
shoes after another tough loss.
But the Wolverines came to New°
York to win, to take a big bite out of the
Big Apple, and they did.
And nobody was more personally"
responsible for the tournament run than
sophomore center Robert Traylor, who
was named the NIT MVP.
After scoring a career-high 26
against Notre Dame to get Michigan
New York, Traylor kept pouring itor'
kept on going and going like a giant
Last night he equaled his career high
and added 13 boards for good measure.
He played huge down the stretchforp-
ing a key turnover by Florida State
guard Kerry Thompson, then blockaing a
3-point attempt by Thompson that
would've cut Michigan's lead to five
with 33 seconds remaining.
Another huge game from the bid .
The MVP trophy would've looked
funny in anyone else's hands.
Fisher is off to Florida for a vacation,
and after all he's been through this year
- both with the team and at the hands
of the media - he deserves one.
The Wolverines could have stayed
home, they could have turned down the
NIT's invitation, or they could have
half-heartedly accepted the bid, then
made a hasty and disappointing exit.
to Fisher's credit that they didn't. T
Wolverines said they were in the NTh
for a title and nothing less, and now
they have the hardware to prove it.
So enough with the shoulda's, woul-
da's and coulda's. Enough with the
what-ifs. Only four teams in the cQ1g-
try are playing further into March than
the Wolverines. Michigan deserves
Don't sully the team's achieveme iit
with hypotheticals. Give the Wolverins
their due. Because they're something
that most college basketball teams aen't.
- Will Mcahill can be reached ave
e-mail at wmcc@ umichedu.
1002 PONTIAC TR.
NIT Most Valuable Player Robert Traylor was all hugs after the Wolverines defeat-
ed Florida State, 82-73, last night to win the NIT. Traylor tied his career-high with
26 points and pulled down 13 rebounds In the win. He also forced a turnover and
made a key block down the stretch to seal the game for the Wolverines.
The University of Michigan
School of Music
Friday, March 28
Margo Halsted, carillonist
A concert of American music
Burton Memorial Tower; 7:15 p.m.
Tbesday, April 1
"Music, Emotion and Imagination" by Marion Guck
1524 Rackham, 12 noon.
Guest Master Class
"Living Dangerously on the Horn" by David Kaslow
Britton Recital Hall, E. V. Moore Bldg., 5:30 p.m.
Campus Philharmonia Orchestra
Chris Younghoon Kim & Adam Glaser, conductors
McIntosh Theatre, E. V. Moore Bldg., 8 p.m.
Hugh Ferguson Floyd, conductor
Hill Auditorium, 8p.m.
Thursday, April 3
Music Engineering Seminar Series
"Wavelet Signal Processing of Digital Audio with
Applications in Electro-Acoustic Music"
by Corey Cheng, University of Michigan
2039 E. V. Moore Bldg., 4:15 p.m.
Ellen Rowe, conductor
John Clayton, bassist/composer
Ed Sarath, keyboard
Sachal Vasandani, vocalist
" music of Clayton, Sarath, Rowe and others
Rackham, 8 p.m.
Stearns Collection Virginia Martin Howard Lecture
"Exploring West African Music: Atsiagbekor, Ritual Music
from Ghana/Togo" by David Locke, Tufts University
LLecture notes sold at Grade A Notes, second floor of
Ulrich's Bookstore and also at Michigan Book & Supply.
M an Call 741-9669 for more information.
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By Alice Childress
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