The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 6, 2000 - 3B
2000 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament
(1) Ohio State
(8) Michigan Game 5
(9) Penn St'
(2) Michigan St. - wvwr 7 Game 10
(7) Iowa Game 6 ®
6:40 p.m. i
(10) Minne to Gamire
(6) Wisconsin Game 7
. (11) N'we rnAll games played at United Center, Chicago.
All tipoff times are Central Standard Time.
Games 8, 9 and 10 are televised on CBS.
Other games are televised on ESPN networks.
ierce State presence makes 4f e
even tougher for Brian Ellerbe
Blue worst loss
Continued from Page IS
"Look at the score and you can
think what I'm feeling," Blanchard
said. In the tunnel, with the net in his
hand, Cleaves found him for a word
"Hey, don't worry about that,"
Cleaves said to a stoic Blanchard.
"You keep your head up. Good luck
the rest of the way."
Whether he meant it or whether he
felt the heat of camera lights on the
back of his neck is uncertain.
Either way, Cleaves has left his
mark on Michigan State.
"Nobody's done more for a school
- at least MSU - in a long time,"
Nothing is more certain than that.
Save perhaps one. That this game,
like the Globetrotters and Generals,
was decided before it even began.
Big Ten Overall
Team W L W C
(8) Michigan vs. (9) Penn State
(7) Iowa vs. (10) Minnesota
(6) Wisconsin vs. (11) Northwestern
(4) Illinois vs. (5) Indiana
CAPULCO, Mexico -- My
journeyback from Mexico was-
't the best trip ever. After
deboarding the five-hour flight from
Acapulco, I, of all people, was chosen
for a random search by the United States
As the Customs Officer was sifting
through my array of dirty clothes, tequi-
la and unused contraceptives, I got to
thinking. I realized that I had just spent a
week without thinking about Michigan
That fact didn't bother me at all really.
I figured that the basketball team got
their ass kicked by State - which was
pretty accurate - and that the hockey
team won the CCHA regular-season
title, which again was on the money.
So there wasn't much in the way of
sports to get in the way of my fun in
southwestern Mexico. I spent a week
away from it all - enjoying the swelter-
ing tropical sun, the swim-up bar at the
hotel pool and the glitzy clubs that dot-
ted the coast of Acapulco Bay.
I didn't really miss sports at all.
I saw the occasional NBA game at
Hooters on ESPN Latin America -
with Spanish-speaking announcers of
course - but for the most part I was left
in the dark about major sporting events.
But as my friendly Customs Officer
- we'll call her Pearl - was sifting
through my collection of maize T-shirts
looking for meat and fruits, my mind
started to wander. I really had nothing
better to do in that situation, except
answer 'No' when Pearl asked me if I
was a smack dealer.
So as I was looking back at the week
I spent in Acapulco, I realized that I had-
n't totally avoided sports. Although I
didn't get a chance to watch
SportsCenter, I witnessed a lot of sport-
ing activity during my week in paradise.
First of all. I completed my first-ever
bungee jump. That historic feat, was
something I had wanted to do for a long
time. Due to a special offer, I jumped for
only 300 pesos -30 American dollars.
I was sort of worried about fulfilling
my bungee desires in Mexico. Being in
a Third World country where the hotel
elevators only serve certain floors and
where you can buy 18-year old girls by
the kilogram off the street, my confi-
dence in plunging 150 feet while being
supported by a mere cord was shaky.
But I made the ascent up the tower
and the plunge below My stomach went
through as many convulsions as it does
when I watch the Michigan defense
defend the Hail Mary. But it was worth
it - especially after I celebrated the feat
with a Tequila Slammer and a two-story
dive into a dolphin tank.
Speaking of the Michigan football
team, I also learned something new
about them this weekend. There were a
few of them staying in my hotel, La
Palapa, and they proved to me why they
are on scholarship at this University.
Defensive end Jake Frysinger and
wide receiver Rudy Smith were the first
to convince me of their well-rounded
athleticism, as they made a mean chick-
en-fighting duo. With Frysinger holding
Smith on his shoulders, the pair easily
made mincemeat of most challengers.
Punter Cory Sargent also proved that
he can cut some rug. Sargent wasn't the
best dancer in the world - in fact, I did-
n't see much of a difference between his
dancing style and mine. But Sargent had
a lot more chicas dancing with him than
I did, and none of them seemed to be of
the hired 18-year old Mexican variety,
so he was doing something right.
But as talented as Frysinger, Smith
and Sargent were, none of them could
hold a candle to offensive lineman Kurt
Anderson. The sophomore, who I said
should be traded to Penn State last
semester, was the star of Acapulco.
It wasn't due to his athletic ability,
though his dive off the La Palapa diving
board with Frysinger on his back was
pretty sweet. Instead, Anderson stole the
show with his rapping ability.
For two consecutive afternoons at La
Palapa, the behemoth offensive linemen
snapped spring breakers out of their
hangovers with his spirited freestyle rap.
His hit single, "Cocoa in Acapulco", an
ode to breakfast cereal, "playful"
women and other stuff I can't put in this
column, roused the poolside crowd of
drunken vacationers on a regular basis.
Anderson was so good he became a
bigger fan favorite than the kid who
bonged nine beers. I enjoyed his act so
much that I will officially apologize for
even suggesting that he be traded. Even
if he doesn't ever start for Michigan, his
rapping ability will serve him well in
Finally, Pearl was convinced that I
wasn't a Colombian crack dealer and
told me to go on my way. But I hesitated
for a second, engrossed in my thoughts
of Acapulco. I even came up with a new
sport: Bug Racing.
The dominant vehicle in Acapulco is
a 1970s-style Volkswagen Bug. All the
taxicab drivers in the city drive them,
and their driving style can best be
described as bizarre. These little Bugs
break speed laws, drive on sidewalks
and change lanes by the threes, making
for an entertaining trip. I honestly
thought that I was going to die at least
once during every cab ride I took.
Add those cab drivers to the cops
patrolling around in truck beds with sub-
machine guns, and you have the next
great sport. The rules are left up to you.
Ultimately, I left Metro Airport and
went back to Ann Arbor to continue col-
lege life. But for a week, I experienced
sports at their most raw and ridiculous.
- TJ Berka hopes that The Dailv will
pick up the tab for his trip to Acapulco,
but he isn't holding his breath. He can
be reached via email at
AST LANSING -- Before the season started, I
asked Brian Ellerbe if he believed it was tougher
to build his program at a time when neighboring
Michigan State was having so much success.
I thought that if Ellerbe felt he was being treated
unfairly by those who expected a top-10 team immedi-
ately - impatient alumni, the media - then maybe I
could give him the forum to present his own side.
I was surprised by Ellerbe's
answer that October afternoon
He said it would be tough to build
is program no matter the circum-
stances, and that Michigan State's,
prowess had nothing to do with it.
Unfortunately, I didn't get an
opportunity to talk with Ellerbe
following Saturday's Michigan CHRIS
I would have liked to ask him DUPREY
that question again. I might have Dupe's
received a different answer this Scoop
Proud Old Blue faithful won't admit it, but for once
in their lives, they yearn for something Michigan State
For a while, the football rivalry was all that mattered
to these two schools. Basketball was secondary, just
something to muse over during the winter until the Big
Game the next fall.
Hoops didn't seem so important until the Spartans
started cutting down nets al! over the country. Now
impatient Michigan fans and alumni, like a four-year
old who sees the kid across the street getting a swim-
ming pool, want to know, "Why can't we have that too?"
And where does all this pressure funnel? Ellerbe, the
unproven, still-learning-the-ropes coach who doesn't
have the roots at Michigan to shake off the naysayers.
Instead he has to constantly look over his shoulder, hop-
ing to live another day in a violently unstable athletic
This is no way to build a program. When Tom Izzo
began to piece together his championship contender in
1995, he had the blessings of former coach Jud
Heathcote, for whom he was an assistant coach, and
Izzo also had a rival that wasn't going any deeper
than the first and second rounds of the NCAA
Tournament every year. Confident and unafraid for his
future, he coached, he recruited and he began to win.
But even if Izzo was safe in the eyes of the Michigan
State athletic department, he would've felt much more
pressure if the boys down south were contending for
conference and national titles.
Purely by luck, Izzo felt no such pressure. And, indi-
rectly, that had an effect on where his program is today.
Brian Ellerbe had no such fortune. He walked right
into a buzzsaw, inheriting problems that weren't his,
having to build his spaceship when the Russians had
already launched Sputnik. For that he is the subject of
endless comparison with "the Russians" in East
Lansing, a comparison that Ellerbe cannot win, at least
Add Michigan State's success to the long list of
things that aren't Ellerbe's fault.
- Ciris Dup-ev can be rcached
FG FT REB
MIN M-A M-A OT A F PTS
Groninger 34 310 0-0 0-3,' 2 0 7
Smith 21 2-3 2-2 1-3 1 2 6
Asselin 21 5-7 3-4 0-3 0 1 13
Gaines 37 2-10 4-4 0-2 8 1 9
Blanchard 33 317 2-2 2-6 1 1 9
Jones 20 3-7 1-2 11 1 4 9
Young 11 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 3 0
Anderson 14 3-5 0-0 4-5 0 2 6
Vignier 9 2-4 0-0 1-3 0 1 4
Totals 200 23-64 12-14 14-32 13 15 63
FG%: 359. FT: o.857. 3-pint FG: 5-20, 250 Uones 2-
4, Goninger 1-6, Blanchard 1-5, Gaines 1-5). Blocks: 3
(Asselin 3) Steals: 2 (Gaines 2). Turnovers: 15 (Gaines
4, Groninger 4, Smith 2, Anderson, Blanchard, Jones,
Vignier Young) Technical Fouls:none.
MICHIGAN STATE (114)
FG FT REB
MIN M-A M-A -T A F PTS
Peterson 28 3-15 5-7 3-9 1 1 12
Granger 28 7-8 0-0 1-4 1 0 18
Hutson 23 6-9 3-4 6-10 2 1 15
Cleaves 29 3-7 1-1 0-2 20 4 8
Bell 25 13-19 1-1 0-2 4 1 31
Smith 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 4 0 0
Ishbia 4 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Chappeil 15 3-5 0-0 1-4 1 1 8
Cherry 10 1-3 0-0 1-1 1 2 3
Richardson 17 5-7 0-0 1-4 2 1 13
Balinger 15 3-4 0-0 0-4 0 3 6
Totals 200 44-77 10-13 15-43 36 14 114
FGO%:r.571. FT%:.769. 3-point FG: 16-32 500 (Bell 4-
6, Granger 4-4, Richardson 3-5. Chappell 2-3, Peterson
1-7, Cleaves i-4, Cherry 1-3). Blocks. 5 (Ballinger 2,
Cleaves, Peterson, Richardson). Steals: 10 (Bell 4,
Hutson 3, Granger, Peterson, Richardson). Turnovers: 6
(Cleaves 3, Chappell, Hutson, Peterson). Technical Fouls:
Michigan. ........24 39 -63
Michigan State. . -.SI 63 - 114
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