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January 08, 2001 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-08

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - January 8, 2001- 3B

. Men's basketball drops ticket prices

DAVID
DEN HERDER

By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer

Last week the Michigan Ticket Office announced
it will lower the price of 700 tickets behind the bas-
ket in the upper bowl of Crisler Arena for the
upcoming Big Ten schedule. %
The tickets were valued at $14 apiece at the start
of the season, an increase of 16 percent from last
year. They will be lowered to $7 a ticket for the rest
of the season. The only game that is sold out is
against Michigan State on Jan. 30.
"One of the things we really wanted to do was cre-
ate a nice fan base," Michigan marketing director
Tom Brooks said. "A lot of the families out there
would enjoy a Michigan basketball game, but as a
family of four, we want to make it affordable for
them.
"There are also students who want to come out
and sample our basketball and want to be a part of it,
and we think that once we get people in there, they
will get pretty excited about it. And for seven bucks,
it is almost as cheap as going to a movie," Brooks
said.
Getting more people to go to basketball games is
important for revenue. Being one of the few rev-
enue-generating programs at Michigan, the Athletic
Department is dependent on the money raised by the
basketball team. With poor ticket sales so far, the
program needs help filling the arena.

"The more people in there, the louder it gets and
hopefully the more they win," Brooks said. "It kind
of feeds itself - if you get wins, then you will get
people excited and coming in and coming back."
The athletic department can use all the "smoke
and mirrors" it has to get people to come to games
but Brooks said the bottom line is the number in the
wins column.
"It ultimately comes down to the product," he
said. "If they are excited about the team then they
will come down - that is what drives it."
Brooks feels that students took a "wait and see
attitude" toward this season, which helped cause the
low ticket sales. Only 598 students purchased season
tickets, the lowest amount in the recorded history of
Michigan basketball sales.
"We didn't start off the best because we were play-
ing such a tough schedule," he said.
Jamal Crawford leaving for the NBA and the dis-
missal of sophomore Kevin Gaines may have soured
fans toward the team, contributing to a 40-percent
decrease in the purchase of season tickets this year.
"The disappointing finish compared with the
exciting start to last season has really affected the
attitude of fans," engineering sophomore Brian
Marchena said.
Walk-up purchases accounted for a large number
of tickets sales last year, and the athletic department
is hoping that this year's walk-up sales will be as
successful.

PAYLESS FOR HOOPS
THIS YEAR
(through seven games)
Attendance to date:
65, 774
Average:
9,396
LAST YEAR
Total attendance: va3.
71,122-
Average:<
10,160
But the low morale of fans tovard the team has
potentially affected the gameday siles.
The idea to lower ticket prices his season started
on Nov. 28 with the game againstWake Forest. The
athletic department lowered pricesfor students to $3
and sold about 300 additional ticlcts.
The ticket department decided b cut prices again
for games during winter break because students
were out of Ann Arbor and ticket ;ales usually tend
to lag in that period. The price of '50 similar tickets
was cut in half to $7, all of whici sold out for the
game against Towson.
The success from this first expeiment was repeat-
ed for the game against Eastern Aichigan, and the
number of tickets made availabl at discount was
doubled to 700, which again sold )ut.

Recognize the truth

Gymnastics takes
fourth at Super Six

From staff reports

The No. 3 Michigan women's gymnas-
tics team began its season this past week-
end at the Super Six Challenge in
Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Wolverines placed fourth among a
star-studded field of six teams.
This meet pitted Michigan against
some of the top programs in the country:
No. 2 Georgia, No. 5 Alabama, No. 7
Stanford, No. 9 Penn State and No. 10
Florida.
The Bulldogs and host, Alabama,
shared the title. Stanford placed third.
The home crowd of 9,418 in the
Coleman Coliseum contributed to a
strong showing by the Crisman Tide.
Eight members of the Wolverines were
battling intestinal viruses during the week
leading up to the event, and coach Bev
Plocki was concerned about the team's
performance.
The team started out a little slower than
Plocki would have liked- trailing

Georgia, Alabama and Florida after the
first two rotations.
Seniors Bridget Knaeble and Amy
Kuczera each turned in an impressive per-
formance on the uneven bars - helping
the Wolverines to their best rotation score
of the night (48.875).
But two falls on the balance beam left
Michigan with a score of 48.375 - its
lowest team event score of the meet.
Karina Senior ended her evening on a
positive note by scoring a four-way tie for
first place on the beam (9.875).
Michigan hosts No. 12 Oregon State
next Friday at 7 p.m. in Cliff Keen Arena.
Top 'M' FINISHERS
Karina Senior, Sr. - (9.850)
Tied with three others for the indi-
vidual title in the balance beam.
Bridget Knaeble, Sr. - (9.875)
Finished in a tie for third place in
the uneven bar.

After hours sitting silently,
resting my forehead between
my thumb and finger tips,
exhaling deeply and staring blankly
into desperation, I've realized there
is only one way to phrase it simply.
The Michigan basketball team is
an embarrassment to this university.
To recognize it, I just needed a
little help from my friends.
After four years of life "away at
college," the things you refused to
believe were inevitable have a way
of swindling their way into your
life. Just as everyone foretold -
scarfing graduation cake in 1997 -
I have lost touch with many of my
high school friends.
But there are still a few of us that
make it a point to get together, and
the one who helped me see the truth
- as coincidence would have it -
is a senior at Michigan State. He
never misses a chance to take a
god-natured jab at the Wolverines,
and I never fail to return serve. Of
course, things have been decidedly
basketball-related lately.
The Spartans are defending
national champs, they've been in
the top five all season, and he's lov-
ing it. But it was one evening at the
bar when he was applauding
Michigan State highlights that I
opened my mouth.
"Hey, sweet," I chided, "You guys
beat Cornell!"
My friend didn't miss a beat.
"Hey, sweet," he said with a
laugh. "You guys beat Oakland."
Sarcasm. The Conq'ring Heroes
of course lost their season opener to
the no-name Detroit-area college.
It was no miracle upset -
Michigan was trailing from the
opening series. And normally, that
can just roll off your back. It did, at
first, for me.
But hearing it from a friend sev-
eral weeks later finally opened my
eyes - offering a glimpse of what
this program has become.
A laughing stock.
Because my friend wasn't laugh-
ing at an unfortunate game. He was
laughing at the Victors' Valiant. He
was laughing at a team that has fall-
en so far from grace it can't even
realize it.
Do you know what it feels like to
stand in Cameron Indoor Stadium
while the students next to you are
laughing hysterically, spewing
phrases like "pathetic," "despica-
ble," and "what a joke," to describe
the team bearing the maize and
blue?
Duke started the game on a 34-2
run.
34-2.
Sadly, I get the sense that people
in Ann Arbor are so close to the

problem that they have lost touch
with the reality of the situation.
In the 3 1/2 short years I've been
a student, Michigan has suffered
three of its four worst losses in his-
tory.
In history.
It has been three seasons since
Michigan has even been ranked in
the AP Top 25. It's been 1,029 days
since Michigan has been in the
NCAA Tournament - and there are
simply no signs that things are turn-
ing around.
The Wolverines have lost 12 of 14
on the road, have an RPI ranking of
131 st in the country, and have
prompted comments from their own
lockerroom about unpreparedness.
When they were down 59-18 to
Duke at halftime on prime time
national television - for that
moment - I was almost embar-
rassed to be associated with the
University of Michigan.
The first thing that prospective
students are shown during "Campus
Day" as they step outside the
Michigan Union are two statues -
one of a scholar, one of an athlete.
It represents, they are told, the
dichotomy of the Michigan student.
Excellence in all aspects of life.
Of course, every program within
this university has had an off year,
and has needed time to build.
But this program has all but col-
lapsed. Dick Vitale said it is proba-
bly the No. 3 program in the state,
behind the champs and the
University of Detroit-Mercy.
Where are the leaders? Where are
the best?
I am embarrassed by the
Michigan basketball team. You
should be, too.
If you're not embarrassed - if
you somehow think this team is not
a University ambassador to the rest
of the country - then you are very
much akin to the kid that walks
around school all day never realiz-
ing the "Kick Me" sign is taped to,
his back.
The Michigan basketball team
does exist, and every time the
national television cameras focuson
the block "M" across a player's jer-
sey, each one of us is reflected in it.
The Wolverines were idle this
weekend, and it's almost easier just
to pretend for a moment that this
whole thing isn't happening.
For this team, no news is certain-
ly good news.
But don't be fooled. It is still
happening.
And everybody is laughing.
- David Den Herder is very proud
to be a student at the Universityof
Michigan. He can be reached at
dden@umich.edu.

Again, Henson gives it
the old college try

AP PHOTO
Kirk Haston celebrates after his dramatic 3-pointer won the game for the Hoosiers
'Melee! Indiana
S State
shocks Non 1 State
Minnesota, Iowa hang on to win

HENSON
Continued from Page 1B
*hasn't played a full season at quarterback,
missing the first three games of 2000 with
a broken right foot.
Minus three starts, he still threw for
over 2,000 yards, just the seventh quarter-
back in the program's history to do so. He
also led the Big Ten with a 159.35 pass
efficiency rating and had just four inter-
ceptions on the season.
Henson also hasn'taccomplished some
of the goals he talked about earlier in his
Michigan career - including a strong
*appearance in the Rose Bowl, which
might be a little tougher next season since
it's the BCS national championship game.
Henson may also find his senior year
more difficult. Michigan loses four
starters on the offensive line, which might
curb the amount of time he has to throw
the ball. Also gone is running back
Anthony Thomas, now the highest gainer
in Michigan history.
OFFEN
Continued from Page IB
Michigan for his final season. Like
Wheatley, Henson had the millions
staring him in the face. In fact,
Henson had two multimillion-dollar
contracts in his future - in baseball
and in football.
Just like Wheatley after his junior
season, Henson already has two Big
Ten titles under his belt.
. Like Wheatley, Henson has the
potential for injury to consider.
Henson missed the first three games of
this past season because of a foot
injury. And it is quite possible that the
multi-sport star could get hurt again.
And like Wheatley, Henson will be
among some stiff competition for the
Heisman Trophy. Wheatley dropped to
12th in the race his senior season
While the trophy went to Colorado run-
ning back Rashaan Salaam. Henson
wasn't considered a candidate at the
beginning of this season because of his
injury and will have to compete next
season with fellow quarterback
Michael Vick and others for the honor.
Rnt unlilr W heatley WHnon

The offense was "as good of an offense
as I've been around," Carr said after the
Citrus Bowl. "We had tremendous bal-
ance. We had tremendous ability to line up
and run the football when we had to. And
an ability to protect the passer.'
Henson also may be unable to target his
favorite receiver. David Terrell is expected
to announce his plans to enter the NFL
Draft this week.
On the bright side, Carr said he expects
the defense to improve significantly, as he
loses only three players on that side of the
ball.
Henson said after the Citrus Bowl he
doesn't expect the offense to "taper off
much,' either.
Henson's acknowledgement also
comes at an ironic time. Reggie Williams,
a wide receiver prospect who has nar-
rowed his college choice to Michigan and
Washington, visited Ann Arbor this past
weekend. Henson's return may give
Michigan a little more weight in the
prospect's decision.
the pros, why would Henson, like
Wheatley, stay in school?
Because of a reason that overshad-
ows the plethora of others. They came
to Michigan to play Michigan football.
Wheatley loved college and Henson
has shared those sentiments all along.
"I really enjoy going to the
University of Michigan," Henson said
after Michigan's Citrus Bowl victory
on New Year's Day. "It will be a big
decision but I am in no hurry to leave
... I enjoy the classes, I enjoy being
there?'
Even with a $2 million baseball
contract in his hands as he graduated
high school, Henson insisted that his
dream was to play football in Ann
Arbor. Another dream of Henson's was
to play for the New York Yankees, but
George Steinbrenner traded him to the
Cincinnati Reds organization this sum-
mer perhaps in part because of his loy-
alty to the Wolverines.
Henson's senior year is his first
chance to play a complete season as
the starter at Michigan. The defense
will be improved and more experi-
enced next season. Even if Terrell
leaves Hensnn will have a slid eronn

BLOOMINGTON (AP) - Move
over Michigan State.
Kirk Haston hit a 3-pointer at the
buzzer as Indiana beat No. I
Michigan State 59-58 yesterday,
snapping the Spartans' 23-game win-
ning streak.
Haston was tackled by his team-
mates in front of the Michigan State
bench and students poured onto the
floor in celebration, a rarity in
Bloomington.
But for a few moments, there was
some consternation. The officials
reviewed the shot on television replay
- to make it sure was from behind
the line and that there was no time
left.
That decision kept the frenzied cel-
ebration going full force.
Haston finished with 27 points -
including the game-winner, just the
sixth 3-pointer of his career.
Michigan State (12-1, 1-1) had the
longest winning streak in the nation,
not losing since last visiting
Assembly Hall on Feb. 26, 2000.
The Spartans led most of the way
during the final 20 minutes.
But Indiana's 9-0 run midway
through the second half, sparked by
another Haston 3-pointer, allowed the
Hoosiers (10-6, 1-1) to erase a 46-40
deficit.
Michigan State regained the lead at
55-53 with 4:15 to go and led until
Haston's game-winner.
Michigan State missed three of
four free throws in the final 29.4 sec-
onds. That gave Indiana a chance to
win it with a three, and Haston
knocked it down as time ran out.

The Spartans were led by Jason
Richardson, who finished with 15
points.
IOwA 86, PENN STATE 85: Luke
Recker scored 20 points, including
two free throws that sealed Iowa's 86-
85 victory over Penn State on
Saturday.
Recker hittwo free throws with 1.3
seconds left to put the Hawkeyes (12-
2, 1-0 Big Ten) up 86-82. Joe
Crispin's half-court shot at the buzzer
went in, but it wasn't enough for Penn
State (9-3, 0-2). Dean Oliver scored
18 points for the Hawkeyes.
PURDUE 69, NORTHWESTERN 61:
Rodney Smith scored 21 points and
John Allison had 18 Saturday, as
Purdue jumped to a big early lead and
then held off a second-half surge by
Northwestern to beat the Wildcats 69-
61.
The Boilermakers improved to 10-
3 (2-0 Big Ten), giving Gene Keady a
victory in his 700th game as a
Division I coach.
ILLINOIS 83, OHIO STATE 68: Frank
Williams took over again.
With a fragile lead disintegrating
against Ohio State, the sophomore
guard scored 16 of his 21 points in the
second half as the ninth-ranked Illini
beat Ohio State 83-68 on Saturday
night.
MINNESOTA 54, WISCONSIN 49:
Minnesota beat Wisconsin at its own
game.
The Golden Gophers used hustle,
smart shooting and dominant defense
to beat No. 12 Wisconsin 54-49
Saturday night, the Badgers' first loss
under interim coach Brad Soderberg.

Featuring Gerald Boyd and
Soma Golden Behr, editors of
the New York Times series
"How race is lived in America,"
and
David Halberstam
Clarence Page
Paul Delaney
Gene Roberts
John Seigenthaler

*1

Sponsored by the Michigan J -a s w s
on Diversity. '*
A RIKA/1RVED"
MICHIGAN STUDENT UNION
Artcarved Representative Suzette Mitchell will be taking orders
January 3rd-11th from 11-4pm - r

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