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March 24, 1999 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-24

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 24, 1999 - 11

Izzo believes Michigan State
has potential to surprise Duke

EAST LANSING (AP) -
Michigan State knows all too well
how powerful Duke can be.
* When the Spartans played the Blue
Devils in December, Duke scored the
first 13 points and had a 17-point
lead three times in the opening nine
minutes.
Still, the Spartans managed to
make a game of it, closing within
three points before 'finally losing 73-
67 in the Great Eight in Chicago.
Despite the troubles early in that
game, Michigan State coach Tom
zo said he believes the loss will
lp the Spartans when they face
ke on Saturday at Tropicana Field
in St. Petersburg, Fla.
t,"It gives you some confidence that
you played decent against a team,"
Izzo said Monday. "I think at least
our players know their personnel.
Our players know what to expect.
They know what they do offensively
and defensively, so there won't be a
jt of surprises anywhere."
While Izzo admires Duke's pro-
gram, its coach and its team, he isn't
writing off Michigan State's chances.
Izzo said that his gritty Spartans,
gome-from-behind victors Sunday
over Kentucky, shouldn't be ruled
out. Michigan State can be tough
gnough to handle the Blue Devils.
"There's no bigger upset than

Michigan State beating Duke," Izzo
said. "All I have to do is make sure
our kids understand that. And know-
ing these players and knowing their
toughness, I'm sure we're not going
in there scared.
"Nervous, maybe. Scared, no."
The winner between No. 1-rated
Duke (36-1) and No. 2 Michigan
State (33-4) advances to the champi-
onship Monday night, to face either
Ohio State or Connecticut. Izzo said
Michigan State matches up with
Duke somewhat, at least in size. And
even though Duke has been the dom-
inant team in college hoops this sea-
son, he has hopes for a big upset.
"It's no doubt we're going to be an
underdog, but we've been the under-
dog before," he said. "I'm really
looking forward to it; I really am. I'm
not looking forward to it in a cocky
way, thinking that hey, we're just
going to go out and beat Duke, but in
a confident way where I think we can
do some things."
If the Spartans want some inspira-
tion, they and their fans don't have to
look further than Sunday's game, in
which Michigan State rebounded
from an early 13-point deficit to slam
dunk a 73-66 win over Kentucky.
"Remember: A slow start and a
good ending is a lot better than a fast
start and a bad ending," Izzo said.

Michigan State may pick up an
edge from happy Spartans fans. After
Sunday's victory, the team returned
to Lansing around midnight to find
about 300 fans crowding the airport,
and Izzo could sense the enthusiasm.
"Yesterday was such an emotional
event ... seeing all those people out
there at 12:30 at night," he said. "I
think the campus is electric right
now; people are caught up in the spir-
it of it.
"Not only the students, but this
entire community has kind of taken a
grasp of this team."
Among those caught up in the
green-and-white spirit are former
Spartans players and coaches, many
of whom have shown up to root on
this year's team.
Watching from the stands in St.
Louis on Sunday, among others, were
Magic Johnson and former coach Jud
Heathcote, who guided Johnson and
the Spartans to the NCAA title in
1979.
"It was great he took the time to
come back," Izzo said of Heathcote.
And, he said, Johnson "thinks we can
win it all." "I have a lot of faith in
what he thinks, so I'll just go with
that," Izzo said.
Michigan State is scheduled to
leave Thursday morning for St.
Petersburg.

NCAA is
finale for
M Mseniors
xSENIORS
Continued from Page 10
a difference with this hockey program,
and the younger players appreciate
their efforts.
"The seniors are obviously a huge
part of our team," Michigan center
Mark Kosick said. "They want to gp
out with a bang, with a national chant
pionship."
Michigan fans should treasure this
year's senior class, because their
careers could end without notice.
One bounce, one mistake, or evbiir
just one great play by the opposition
might make this weekend Michigan's
last.
It would be a disappointment to the
Wolverines if things ended that way,
but for most programs, finishing with
a loss is commonplace.
Only one team wins its final NCAA
postseason game every year. Everyone
else ends up a loser.
"It's something you don't reflect on
until the end of the season," Rominski
said. "What's really going to separate
this class is our two national champi
rO onships."
And the quality of leaders that fol-
low their legacy.

Ar r
Mateen Cleaves and Michigan State will have reason to celebrate if it can stop
Duke in the Final Four on Saturday.

4M' baseball heads to Kalamazoo
to rodeo with Western Michigan

By Geoff Gagnon
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan baseball coach Geoff Zahn
jd his crew are hoping for a favorable
cast today as they make their first
midwest appearance of the season.
4And for Zahn and company, an ideal
forecast means not only favorable
weather, but also a consistant showing
on the field as Michigan battles
Western Michigan this afternoon at 3
p.m.
Currently 7-10 on the season, today's
game marks the first for the Wolverines
not being played in California, Texas or
rida. The Wolverines' home opener
istill a week away.
And despite the cooler temperatures
expected in Kalamazoo, Zahn does not
expect the weather to factor into today's
contest.
"I think that we're ready to play in
Michigan," Zahn said in his WTKA
radio interview yesterday. "We've been
outside here in Ann Arbor and we know
what to expect. I'm confident that we're

ready to go, and I'm happy that it's a
game that doesn't require a lot of travel
or flying."
On the heels of an offensively domi-
nated 17-15 win over Nevada-Las Vegas
on Monday, Michigan will be looking
for its second win in as many tries after
breaking out of a slump that saw the
Wolverines drop six of their previous
seven games.
Yet Zahn said he's happy with his
team's early-season performance
against some of the top teams in the
country.
"I feel really good about where we are
right now as a team," Zahn said. "We've
played very well against some fine
teams in what has to be considered one
of the toughest non-conference sched-
ules around."
And while their performance may not
have translated into victories for the
Wolverines, Zahn said that strong out-
ings against No. 9 Pepperdine and No.
10 Texas A&M, among others, will help
Michigan improve recognition and gain

confidence.
"It's tough to play so many talented
teams so early." Zahn said. "Especially
considering that some of them have
played 30 or so games, and we haven't
even played at home yet.
"Our kids would've preferred to have a
winning record, but we've played well."
Particularly impressed with his team's
pitching in the early going, Zahn said he
knows that as the season wears on, pres-
sure on his hurlers will continue to
mount.
"We have to play so many games so
quickly up here that pitching is really
going to come into play," Zahn said.
But it wasn't pitching or defense that
defined Michigan's last contest. And
after posting an impressive 17 runs on
14 hits in Monday's game, Michigan is
hoping today to provide the same type
of offensive explosion.
"The guys are starting to stay with it,"
Zahn said. "Monday, we saw them start
to swing the bats very well. We need that
to continue."

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TABLE TENNIS
SGLS & DBLS
ENTRIES DUE:
Thurs 3/25, 4:30 PM, IMSB
ENTRY FEE:
$5 for Singles
$9 for Doubles
TOURNAMENT DATE:
Sat 3/27
Sports Coliseum

SOFTBALL

ENTRIES TAKEN:
Thursday 5/6 ONLY
5:00 PM, IMSB
ENTRY FEE:
$50 per team
MANAGER'S MEETING:
MANDATORY
Thurs 5/6, 5:00 PM, IMSB

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SAND
VOLLEYBALL
ENTRIES TAKEN:
Thursday 5/6 ONLY
6:30 PM, IMSB
ENTRY FEE:
$40 per team
MANAGER'S MEETING:
MANDATORY
Thurs 5/6, 6:30 PM, IMSB
PLAY BEGINS:
Tues 5/11, Elbel Courts

3-on-3
BASKETBALL
ENTRIES TAKEN:
Thursday 5/6 ONLY
7:30 PM, IMSB
ENTRY FEE:
$20 per team
MANAGER'S MEETING:an
MANDATORY x
Thurs 5/6,7:30 PM, IMSB
PLAY BEGINS:
Tues 5/11, Elbel Courts

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