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January 15, 1997 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-15

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ILLINOIS 96, No. 7 Minnesota 90 New York at Houston
No. 16 VILLANOVA 68, Notre Dame 57 Washington at Chicago
No. 5 Kentucky at No. 21 GEORGIA, inc. Denver at PHOENIX, inc.
Detroit at PORTLAND, inc.
BOSTON 116, Golden St. 108 Indiana at SACRAMENTO, inc.


January 15, 1997


Midseason grades not
championship material

By Alan Goldenbach
Daily Sports Writer
Victories over Duke and Arizona.
The No. 4 spot in the polls. Louis
Bullock being cast as the new
Hofendous defeats to Memphis and
Pittsburgh at the Rainbow Classic.
Losing to Ohio State at home. The mag-
ical disappearing
act of Maurice Gtrades
Despite an 11-4
mark and a current No. 18 ranking, the
Michigan basketball team has seen as
many negative headlines as it has posi-
tive ones during the first half of the sea-
son. That leads many to believe that the
Wolverines have underachieved in their
first 15 games.
"We haven't (played our best basket-
ball) yet," forward Maurice Taylor said.
"Because of the talent we have, if we
had played our best, I think everyone
would've known about it"
If the best is yet to come, it will have
to come during the Big Ten season,
which the Wolverines have begun
inauspiciously at 2-2. But with 14 con-
ference games remaining - the game
on Jan. 25 at Michigan State is a non-
conference tilt - the Wolverines aren't
even close to being mathematically
eliminated from title contention.
."I'm still confident in our team,"'
Taylor said. "I think we have a chance
to win the league. I'm not going to give
anyone the league title. There's no team
in the league that's head and shoulders
above everyone else.
"We have a long way to go as far as
bettering ourselves on the offensive and
defensive ends."

But some have a bit longer to go in
achieving that goal than others. With
that said, here are the midterm grades
for the Wolverines:
The grading begins with Taylor,
considered to be the leader and go-to
guy at the onset of the season. Thus
far, he hasn't done either of those two
jobs as expected. His scoring - 12.6
points per game - is almost as low as
it was his freshman season and he's the
team's third-leading rebounder at a
mediocre 6.6 per outing. At 6-foot-9,
250 pounds, and with his athleticism,
that kind of production is completely
Even on a game-by-game basis,
Taylor hasn't had that one huge break-
out game. He has yet to score 20 points
in a game and his rebounding has hit
double-digits only three times - not
the stats of a preseason Naismith Award
As far as being a team leader, Taylor
has led his team into foul trouble too
often. Against Duke, Michigan's biggest
game of the season, Taylor was on the
floor for a whopping 16 minutes, due
entirely to his penchant for reaching in
and committing stupid fouls either on
the offensive glass or in the backcourt.
Right now, Taylor is miles from where
he was projected to be in the preseason.
What's most frightening is that Taylor
considered turning pro after last season.
The NBA would be laughing at the
prospect of having a player with Taylor's
current output applying for work.
Taylor: C
The player primarily picking up the

scoring slack for Taylor has been Louis
Bullock. The sophomore guard is aver-
aging a solid 16.5 points and is con-
necting on almost 46 percent of his 3-
pointers. He is unquestionably the
team's most valuable player so far.
"I've been fortunate enough to get
some open shots," Bullock said.
"(Opponents) know we're going to
throw the ball inside, so I just float
around the perimeter, and (the post
players) do a good job finding me."
But the luck of being open only can
go so far. This year, Bullock has added
to his repertoire - he knows how to
create his own shot and penetrate the
lane. Ideally, this play would be the per-
fect complement to Michigan's inside
game. But so far; there's been nothing
to complement. Maybe Michigan coach
Steve Fisher should look into a little
role-reversal the second half of the sea-
Maceo Baston was also expected to
contribute to Michigan's overpowering
inside game. The Wolverines' best
defensive forward and career leader for
field-goal percentage entering the sea-
son hasn't stepped up his game to the
level he was expected to.
Granted, he did miss the preseason
slate and the first game of the season
with an Achilles problem, but he has had
plenty of time since then to recover.
But Baston is Michigan's only big
man who has shown that he knows how
to box out and keep his opponents away
from the offensive glass. Averaging 6.8
See GRADES, Page 12

JONATHAN LURIE/Special to the Daily
Travis Conlan and the Michigan men's basketball team have hit the halfway point of the season, compiling an 11-4 mark over-
all and a 2-2 record in the early part of the Big Ten season. The Wolverines' productivity has slipped since their trip to the
Rainbow Classic in Hawaii over winter break. Prior to the trip to Hawaii, the Wolverines sported a perfect 9-0 record before
losing two of three in the Classic, then losing to Big Ten doormat Ohio State in Crisler Arena.

Ready, set, walt just a second ...
Controversial faceoffs cause problems for Wolverines, CCHA

By Dan Stillman
Daily Sports Writer
The faceoft. It's the cornerstone -of
hockey. So why is it causing so much
The fans at Michigan's Yost Ice
Arena have certainly made their feel-
ings known. Delays during faceoffs,
officials demanding someone else take
the draw, combined with television
timeouts, have the fans up in arms.
The goal for the official is to conduct
a fair faceoff. According to the rules,
players "shall be stationary and stand
squarely facing their opponents' end of
the rink. The sticks of both players fac-
ing-off shall have the blade on the ice in
contact with the nearest white area of
the face-off spot and clear of the red
center area of the spot."
The "squarely facing their oppo-
nents' end of the rink" is the part that
seems to be causing the most trouble.
"Nobody can come in and turn,"
CCHA coordinator of officials Dave
Fisher said. "If they don't square up,

they're out."
But why are there more problems this
season than in the past - or are there?
According to Fisher, the answer is
"There's always players who want to
cheat," Fisher said.
Michigan center John Madden, who
has been tossed out of his fair share of
faceoffs, disagrees.
"It's definitely more than past years,"
Madden said. "I think it has to do with
the officials being a little more strict on
faceoffs, 'cause there have been some
Madden does agree with Fisher on
the cheating part.
"I think it's overaggressiveness, he
said. "I just try and anticipate the drop
of the puck, or try and get a little bit of
an edge in terms of cheating on the
faceoff. Everybody does it, I'm just not
as discreet as everybody else I guess.
"I know it's frustrating for me and for
our coaching staff and other players on
our team. Your center is supposed to be

good at taking draws. If he keeps get-
ting thrown out, then your winger's got
to come in and take draws, and they
don't normally do that."
Michigan coach Red Berenson has
his own opinion on the subject.
"In our experience, there've been
certain linesmen, inexperienced lines-
men that have had trouble more than
experienced linesmen,' Berenson said.
"It takes an experienced linesman, lit-
erally, to drop the puck immediately,
rather than fake it. There's a timing
The NH L has found a way to min-
mize its faceoff problems. The league
recently painted four L-shaped lines
around the red faceoff spots, so that
during a faceoff, a player's skates must
be on either side of the Ls. This helps
prevent a player from turning.
But hockey fans around the CCHA
need not fret. Fisher said that he recom-
mended that the Ls be used this season,
but the league plans to have them in
place for next season.

Michigan senior John Madden is just one of several players who thinks that officials have been overly cautious during faceoffs
this season. CCHA Coordinator of Officials Dave Fisher, however, doesn't share Madden's opinion.

r M" N



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