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January 06, 2000 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-06

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~$coreboard~

MEN'S NCAA
BASKETBALL
W otre Dame 75,
(2) CONNECTICUT 70
(3) CINCINNATI 81,
UNC Charlotte 54
VANDERBILT 87,
(6) Florida 77
(7) SYRACUSE 93,
Rutgers 74

(8) Duke 109
VIRGINIA 100 (OT)
(11) MICH. STATE 76,
Penn State 63
(15) Tennessee 60,
S. CAROLINA 52
(16) OKLA. STATE 125,
Langston 65
(21) TEMPLE 88,
Rhode Island 45

(25) KENTUCKY 80,
Georgia Tech 71

Ifre £Udifja &da

TackIg 'M' Teams
The No.7 Michigan wrestling team will be the highest-
ranked team competing among 15 squads in this
weekend's Virginia Duals competition in Hampton, Va.

Thursday
January 6, 2000

9

erm ready,
but what
about A. 7?
he talk started about a month
ago. I was sitting at Ricks, sip-
ping on a, um, soda, talking with
some of my friends.
"Josh," one of them said to me, a
curious gleam in his eye. "Have you
given any thought to turning pro?"
An interesting question. I have to
admit the thought had crossed my
mind, but I pushed it out. After all, I
had to worry
out preparations
r the biggest Josh
game of the sea- Kleinbaum
son, the bowlI
game, on New r'y
Year's Day. There
would be plenty of'
time, I surmised,
to think about
such matters after
the game.
The Orange NO
fowlis over. On
'op of my game, I
wrote a brilliant column chronicling the
Michigan victory. I have had several
days to ponder my future.
College football players around the
country are going through the same
dilemma right now. Some have already
made up their minds. Lavar Arrington,
Plaxico Burress and Na'il Diggs have
said goodbye to their respective schools
*r the greener pastures of the NFL.
Drew Brees has opted to stay at
Purdue. Right here in Ann Arbor,
Anthony Thomas is deciding whether
to stay or go.
A.T. and I are debating the same
dilemma, but our situations are very
different.
Anthony has one year of eligibility
remaining, I have one semester
Anthony's season was slightly disap-
ointing, particularly his Orange Bowl,
f t he still put up big numbers the rest
of the season. He did it as Michigan's
only back, and appeared tired for much
of the season. I think it's safe to say that
nobody outside the state of Alabama
thought my season was disappointing
- some have gone as far as describing
it as stellar - but I had three stooges to
take the pressure off of me.
Both Anthony and I have hordes of
iends and fans who constantly tell us
ow talented we are, how good we can
be and how we're ready to take our
games to the next level.
But are we really ready?
Thomas' game in the Orange Bowl
might suggest he could use another
year of seasoning. Thomas had a month
to rest before this game. He was
healthy and ready to prove his critics
wrong. But Alabama's linebackers were
lightning quick, closing down holes
#fore they were even open. The end
result? Those linebackers proved
Thomas wrong, holding him to just 40
yards. And defenders in the NFL are
much faster than the Crimson Tide's.
Anthony, as loud as your friends get,
no matter who good they sy you are,
don't listen to them. Trust me, you need
one more year at Michigan.
Now, Anthony, close your eyes.
Close them tight and picture another
Orange Bowl, this one in 2001. Drew
Henson is passing to Heisman Trophy
winner David Terrell on one play, hand-
ing off to you on the next so you can
grind it up the middle, then to Justin

Fargas, who can get outside and take
some pressure off of you. Eyes still
closed, take a deep breath, through your
nose. That's not just a national title
you're smelling. That's vindication.
I know the trip from Louisiana to
Ann Arbor is tough for your family.
out wouldn't missing a couple games
be worthwhile if the family gets the
chance to make the trip from
Winnfield, La., to Miami?
Stay, Anthony. Please.
But my situation is different. There
are young writers all around me ready
to take my place. I've been a Daily stal-
wart for three-and-half years, covering
more spoils than I can count on my
ingers. I've learned from the best and
ioned my skills, taking everything I
can out of this place. I am ready.
Call me a hypocrite if you like.
A month ago I turned to my friend
and told him I wasn't sure if I was
going to go pro, just like Anthony
Thomas said after the Orange Bowl.

Bi
Gophers
embarrass
'M in
opener
By Mark Francescutti
DAy Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS - Michigan's 9-2
nonconference record reflected a high-
powered shooting and slamming offen-
sive threat. But when it all started to mat-
ter most, the Wolverines left their offense
back in the last millennium, suffering a.
85-68 Big Ten-opening loss to
Minnesota last night.
Michigan suffered its worst lost to the
Gophers in more than 30 years, and put
up its second-lowest point total of the
season.
"We came to play, Minnesota came to
win," Michigan coach Brian Ellerbe
said. The Wolverines "have to learn how
to compete. (Minnesota) beat us in every
phase of the game. I don't even know
where to begin."
The Wolverines looked ruffled and
nervous in their Big Ten debut, throwing
up airballs, colliding into each other and
shooting 3-for-I11 in the first eight min-
utes.
And just when Michigan seemed to
crawl out of its jittery rut with an 8-2 run,
Minnesota responded with a 16-5 spurt
of its own, building to a 42-27 halftime
score.
"We dug ourself a hole that we could-
n't get out of," junior forward Brandon
Smith said. "Maybe at home we can
come back, but not on the road."
Michigan's Y2K bug struck at every
end of the court, from poor rebounding
to dismal ballhandling, leaving Ellerbe
helpless to find a cure.
And unlike in past games where
Michigan's hot 3-point shooters often
saved them from a poor defensive effort,
the Wolverines struggled from 3-point
land, netting only 5 of 18, forcing too
many shots when they started falling
behind.
At the break only three Michigan
players had scored, compared to eight for
the Gophers.
The second half was more of the
See GOPHERS, Page 10

19

Tlw

w

Icome
[igmer belongs
in startingfve
M INNEAPOLIS - Brian Ellerbe hoped that if his
Wolverines were to lose last night at Minnesota, at
least they could make it interesting down the
stretch. That way, despite an 0-1 start to the Big Ten season,
Ellerbe could tell the press afterward that his team "compet-
ed for 40 minutes" and "just hasn't learned to win on the
road yet."
Michigan fans could shrug their
shoulders, chalk the defeat up to the
hostile environment, the inexperience Chris
of the freshmen, or whatever. Life Duprey
would go on as normal and the loss
would be forgotten.
Ellerbe didn't get his wish. Michigan
was outplayed right from the begin-
ning. When LaVell Blanchard threw the
ball away on the first possession and
Leon Jones followed with a nasty-look-
ing airball the second time down thee
floor, it was evident that something DUPES
wasn't right. Scoop
And then it became clear - nothing
was right.
If Minnesota, an NCAA-investigation-ridden team picked
to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten, can push around
the Wolverines, then Ellerbe must take drastic action.
He must call for the beef.
Reestablish the twin towers.
Insert Peter Vignier into the starting lineup.
His one-point offensive performance aside, Blanchard is
not strong enough to match up against the power forwards
the Big Ten will throw at him. By asking him to defend
stronger opponents, Ellerbe is playing him out of position
and making him look worse than he really is.
Granted, the Big Ten is a guard-driven conference, and
skill people with size - anyone who doesn't have
Blanchard's thin, fragile frame - are not as abundant as in
previous seasons. But yesterday night, time after time,
Blanchard's man would back him down, step after step,
until he was close enough to flip up a five-footer or pass to
a cutter for an easy basket.
Michigan cannot survive in conference play with
Blanchard, Jones, Jamal Crawford and Kevin Gaines on the
floor at the same time. There is not enough size in thatline-
up, and that has caused the lack of rebounding and defense
that Ellerbe has complained about since the start of 1999.
A successful 9-2 record in nonconference play has fooled
the Wolverines into thinking that this lineup can hold up in
the Big Ten. Hopefully, it won't take them five more games
to realize that it can't.
So, patterning after the Jordan Rules, here are the Ellerbe
Rules: Vignier and Josh Asselin must start. Together. Some
combination of Vignier, Asselin and Chris Young must be in
AP the game at all times.
Either Blanchard or Jones must play the undesirable role
APPHOTO of sixth man to accommodate the improved defense.
his reach. The Blanchard must guard small forwards when he is in the
"f ,+ nihSee DUPREY, Page 10

Leon Jones watches in desperation as Michigan's first Big Ten game soars out of
Wolverines were never able to mount an offensive streak, falling to Minnesota, 8

Women's hoops
seeks streak' in Indy

By Dena Beth Krischer
Daily Sports Writer
Is it too soon to tell?
Should Michigan women's basketball
fans start getting mad about the lack of
recognition their beloved Wolverines are
receiving?
One would think that after the pro-
gram's undefeated 7-0 start and a non-
conference record of 8-3, the pollsters
would grant the Michigan women's bas-
ketball team more than one vote.
Since then Michigan has entered the
long, possibly torturous Big Ten season
with two more wins over Michigan State
(1-1 Big Ten, 10-3 overall) and
Minnesota (1-1, 7-5), and faces Indiana
(0-2, 5-8) in Bloomington tonight.
Maybe it is too soon to tell. After all,
2-0 may be impressive, but it doesn't
mean anything.
At least not yet.
This could be the year, but according
to Michigan assistant coach Eileen Shea,
the Wolverines aren't jumping the gun.
"It's nice to start 2-0, and it's always
nice to beat Michigan State" Shea said.
"The last couple of years we haven't
started off 2-0 in the Big Ten but there's
a lot of games to go. 2-0 is great, but 6-
0, 7-0 would be nicer."
Why not 3-0 going into Saturday's
game against defending National
Champion Purdue?
It's possible, assuming that Michigan
dominates Indiana tonight. And the sta-
tistics are in Michigan's favor. But at the

"It's great to be winning again," Shea
said. "When we lost those three games,
we also played three really tough teams
right in a row. The games could have
been spaced over a season another way
and they wouldn't have been as big a
deal. We might not have had the seven-
game winning streak. I think it's great
when we start winning again, it gives the
kids confidence, but all the streaks are
short-lived - that's why they're streaks.
A lot can happen and we can build
another winning streak:'
One short-lived streak in particular is
in jeopardy tonight, and it's neither
Michigan's nor Indiana's.
Senior guard Stacey Thomas is only
four away from stealing Wisconsin's
Keisha Anderson's (1994-97) Big Ten
record of 327 career thefts.
Four steals tonight is hardly out of
reach for Thomas who has taken the ball
away from the opposition eight times
twice this season.
At her current pace, the record could
very well be broken, and unreachable for
years to come.
"It's a great honor for Stacey," Shea
said. "It epitomizes how hard she works.
She gets a lot of steals because she
works hard on defense. A lot of people
like to score the points because that's
what everybody notices, but people
don't always notice the defense. For the
four years that Stacey's been here, she's
always played hard, always worked hard
defensively and it's nice for her to have

16

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