10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 31, 1999
'M' tennis inspired by Eisner's last season e
By Raphael Gooddtein
Daily Sports Writer
No matter what the sport or who is playing,
Michigan expects to succeed.
Fans don't care if a crucial senior class has gradu-
ated. Or if there are other extenu-
ating circumstances that would
cause the team to fail. TENNIS
At Michigan you win, and this Commentary
puts a lot pressure on the players-_________
and coaching staff.
This year the Michigan tennis team came into the
season having lost some important seniors. The team
needed its freshmen to step up and play well to have
any chance at winning coach Brian Eisner's 20th Big
And this year, the Wolverines have gone far and
beyond what people expected of them. In fact, the
freshmen have played so well that the team has ele-
vated its already lofty preseason goals.
The team is 2-0 in the Big Ten and 9-1 overall.
More importantly, they seem able to challenge
Illinois, one of the top five teams in the country, for
a Big Ten title.
The freshmen - Henry Beam, Ben Cox and
Danny McCain - lost just two dual matches
between the three of them before the Big Ten season
The team was excelling, but had yet to face adver-
sity. That all changed on March 1.
Shortly after beating San Diego State, Eisner
announced that he would retire after his 31st year at
The season would now be remembered no matter
what happened during the rest of the matches. Would
the added pressure of the retiring legend cause the
young Wolverines to fail?
The upperclassmen would not allow it to happen.
Co-captains senior Will Farah and junior Matt
Wright have stepped up their roles both on and off
the court. And the rest of the team followed their
In fact, the team has rallied around Eisner and
become much closer in the face of his retirement.
The Wolverines are not worrying about who their
next coach will be, or the added pressure of playing
in Eisner's last few meets. Instead, they focused sole-
ly on the meet.
The Wolverines, considered a middle-of-the-pack
Big Ten team a month ago, are now looking like a
team that may contend for Eisner's final Big Ten
Having already dealt with its coach retiring, this
weekend the team once again stared adversity in the
face and came away stronger.
This weekend the team opened the Big Ten season
with back-to-back road meets at Iowa and
Wisconsin. The team had the previous week off and
had to stay sharp to get two wins it desperately need-
Michligan arrived for its outdoor match with Iow1
and was met with 23-mile per hour gusts. The team
had yet to practice outdoors and only once before
had they actually played outdoors.
The Wolverines battled and found a way to score a
hard-fought 5-2 victory over the Hawkeyes. But
there was no time to celebrate their first Big Ten win
of the season. The team had a flight to catch.
Michigan was supposed to fly into Madison to
play against Wisconsin the next day at 11 a.m. But
the flight was delayed and the team did not land in
Wisconsin until after midnight. 9
The team spent the whole time together. And, after
all they had been through, there was no chance that
Northwest Airlines was going to tear this team apart.
Like many other times this year, Michigan
reversed a tough set of circumstances and came away
Co-captain Matt Wright has been a leader for the Michigan men's tennis team this
year, but a promising crop of freshmen have also emerged to boost the Wolverines
in Brian Eisner's final season as coach.
Thrilling final attracts record-low audience
UConn's stunning win
NEW YORK - Even a thrilling
national championship game could not
prevent TV ratings from falling to an
all-time low for CBS.
Connecticut's upset of Duke on
Monday night posted a 17.2 national
rating and a 27 share, the lowest since
CBS began televising the event in
The 1999 tournament as a whole
had a 6.8/15 share, down 7 percent
from last year's 7.3/17. The previous
mark of futility was a 7.2 in 1997, the
year Arizona defeated Kentucky in the
This year's championship game was
down 3 percent from last season's
Kentucky-Utah final,which had a 17.8
watched by fewest people since 1972; women'
rating and 28 share. It was the lowest-
rated NCAA championship game since
the 1972 UCLA-Florida State final,
which was played in the afternoon.
"The games weren't as close as they
had been last year" said CBS spokes-
woma Leslie Ann Wade. "You're
always a little disappointed even when
'it's a high number because you'd like to
see it higher. This is one of our favorite
events and this doesn't do anything to
alter our affection for it."
Only 14 of the 63 games were decid-
ed by five points or fewer, just one
went into overtime and 17 were
blowouts of 20 points or more.
Last year's tournament had 20 games
within five points, five in overtime and
11 determined by 20 points or more.
"When you have close games
through the whole tournament, people
start to catch on, make an investment
and end up with us on Monday night,"
added Wade. "I think that hurt us a lit-
Ratings for most of the West Coast
cities fell because there were no repre-
sentatives from the region, unlike last
year when both Stanford and Utah
made the Final Four. The championship
game dropped 28 percent in Los
Angeles and 13 percent in San
For the women's championship game
between Purdue and Duke, ESPN set a
record with the biggest rating in the
network's four-year history of broad-
casting the event.
It broke the 4.0 mark set in 1997
between Tennessee and Old Dominion.
The game posted a 4.3 cable rating
in ESPN's universe of 75.8 million
homes, an increase of 16 percent from
s viewers still climb
last year's Tennessee-Louisiana Tech
title game that had a 3.7.
Overall tournament ratings were also
up this year for the women. Games on
ESPN rose 24 percent and ESPN2 had
a 8 percent increase, compared with
"Women's basketball is expanding
in depth and gaining viewers on a sea-
sonal basis,' said Len DeLuca, ESPN
vice president of programming devel-
"Are we surprised even without
Tennessee and UConn that we continue
to grow? No, because we are college
basketball's best platform for promo-
tion and growth, whether it be women's
The rating is the percentage of TV
households in the nation tuned to a pro-
gram, and each network point repre-
sents 994,000 homes.
The share is the percentage tuned to
a program among those televisions on
at the time.
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SENIOR WISH published April 15th
deadline March 31
Richard Hamilton and the Connecticut Huskies were on top of their game in
Monday's victory over Duke, but few members of CBS's national audience tuned in
to see UConn's performance.
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