1U - The Michigan Daii - Wednesday, March 7, 2001
Pre-madness is swan
song for the forsaken
Expect familiar teams atop this
week's conference tournaments
BS JEB SINGER m DAILY SPORTS WRITER
Years ago, a young kid marched off
the wrestling mat at Pioneer High
School in Ann Arbor having been
defeated, pinned. His grandfather
came over to him and offered words
of encouragement. Many wrestlers
would take Grandpa's words of
unconditional love for granted, but
Jim Keen Jr. listened intently. After
all, they were coining from the most
successful wrestling coach in
"Grandpa always believed that
wrestling was highly educational and
developmental," Keen Jr. said. "Even
after losses he'd say that you could
chalk this one up to experience."
Cliff Keen left an enormous mark
on the sport of wrestling. Keen, the
man for whom Michigan's wrestling
arena is named, coached the
Wolverines from 1925 to 1970.
Afterward, he worked as founder and
president of Cliff Keen Athletic
Products, the largest wrestling equip-
ment and apparel company in the
United States. He went to work until
the day that he died.
Whether guiding one of his 12 Big
Ten Championship teams, studying
for his law degree fiom Michigan,
serving as a Naval commander during
World War II or running Cliff Keen
Athletic Products, Keen's favorite
attribute was self-discipline. He
always raised his athletes to be in bet-
ter conditioned than the competition.
For this reason, if Keen was alive
today, he'd be a big far of the 2001
"He'd call them 'a fine group of
boys,"' Keen Jr. said, recalling one of
his grandfather's favorite phrases.
"He'd be impressed with their accom-
plishments off the mat too. He always
recruited athletes with more than just
Like many Michigan alumni, Keen
Jr. believes that this group of
wrestlers could be among the best in
"Their potential is up there with
any of them," Keen Jr. said. "Joe
McFarland brings a lot of excitement
with him -- people have high expec-
No wrestler epitomizes the Keen-
like discipline more than captain and
Big Ten champion Otto Olson.
"He'd like the same thing (about
Olson) as I do," Keen Jr. said. "The
guy got run over by a car for pete's
sake. You could whack him with a
two-by-four and it wouldn't faze
him. In his first match back from
By Dan Williams
Daily Sports Editor
COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT
Michigan wrestling coach Cliff Keen, the man for whom the wrestling arena was
named, coached the Wolverines to 12 Big Ten titles between 1925 and 1970.
injury, I thought he was going to kill
McFarland, a former Michigan
wrestler, never got to wrestle for
Keen but he did have the privilege of
"I remember the first time I met
him as a high school kid from
Cleveland," McFarland said. "I knew
I was wearing Cliff Keen headgear
(Keen invented the wrestling head-
gear), I was in awe. It's incredible
how many former wrestlers of his
have nothing but praise for Coach
The relationships that the living
Keens have with Michigan wrestling
are a great example of the program's
"We are Michigan people," Keen
Jr. said. "Michigan has continued to
be part of our blood."
McFarland and Keen's son Jim
and grandsons Tom and Jim Jr. have
a close, personal relationship with
McFarland. Jim Jr. is now the presi-
dent of Cliff Keen Athletic Products.
"The whole family is really a class
act," McFarland said. "I am grateful
to be friends with them. It is some-
thing I hold dear to my heart. They've
all gone through the University and
graduated from here."
While Keen never achieved the
insurmountable amount of success
that Iowa coach Dan Gable did, he
developed Michigan into a historical
power - some consider him a Gable
before Gable. His 12 titles came at a
time when the Big Ten Championship
was the highest honor for a team to
win - the national tournament was
after the season and thus, not as
"Gable was able to do at Iowa what
no coach has done in any sport,"
McFarland said. "But they are both
legends in their own way, and they've
inspired a lot of athletes."
McFarland is proud to be part of a
tradition that includes Cliff Keen. Jim
Jr. is thankful for his biological lin-
"I never saw it as big shoes to fill,"
Keen Jr. said. "It is great that people
thought so highly of him. You realize
that you were privileged to know
Exit the regular season. Enter con-
ference tournaments - the time of
Suddenly, every team in the nation
attached to a league with a tourna-
ment and an automatic bid is within
four games of making the Big Dance
(tough luck, Washington State).
Typically though, if you're a scrub
for four months, March's magic isn't
enough to transform you into the
reincarnation Pete Maravich,
Therefore, expect to see mostly
familiar names in the biggest games
this weekend, which means plenty of
gratuitous camera time for Coach
The Big East
Final: Saturday, 8 p.m.
With surprising teams in the top
seeds, bountiful freshmen phenoms
and no sign of Virginia Tech or
Rutgers (the worst two teams weren't
invited to play), this tournament is
shaping up to be a real hoot.
The Big East is dominated by
teens, and teens tend to be unstable
beings. Therefore, don't get too
juiced for a deep run by Eddie
Griffin and Seton Hall, Omar Cook
and St. John's or Caron Butler and
Instead, look for a team with vet-
erans, a lethal inside threat, and
some complementary three-point
shooting to cut down the nets. Troy
Murphy and Notre Dame should be
just a little too balanced for the com-
Prediction: Notre Dame
Final: Sunday, 1 p.m.
Unbeknownst to most fans, a
class-action suit filed by five ACC
teams forced the conference tourna-
ment out of the state of North
That means the whole gang is
headin' west to Atlanta for one token
year, after which the cite will
undoubtedly return to Greensboro or
Charlotte - the league can't afford
to let ol' Dean Smith hyperventilate
for over four days.
Surely, it will be vexing for the Tar
Heels to compete in an atmosphere
where the crowd isn't dominated by
cooters in toilet-freshener-blue
sweaters. Therefore expect them to
exit early, in the quarterfinals
against either Virginia or Georgia
The torrid Maryland squad is an
interesting choice for conference
Continued from Page 9
No. 4 NEBRASKA-OMAHA (15-10-3
CCHA, 22-13-3 OVERALL) vs No. 7
OHIO STATE (13-13-2, 16-16-2)
Nebraska-Omaha, a team that began
play just three seasons ago, sizzled down
the stretch to go 13-2-1 in its final 16
games to climb to No. 13 in the nation.
But no one could have guessed what
adversity the Mavericks would have to
face this year.
"We've had five or six of our top
players out at times this season," Kemp
said. "But I'm pretty pleased with the
way our depth has come through."
The Mavericks have dealt with the
absence of their three top defensemen
and two leading forwards for huge
chunks of this season by rallying around
solid goaltending by freshman Dan Ellis.
Ellis, who received CCHA All-
Rookie team honors, adds a strong wall
along with the Mavericks' up-tempo, in-
your-face, physical style of play.
But Kemp feels that'the Buckeyes'
scoring capabilities will pose a problem
for his team.
"We look at Ohio State as dangerous
offensively," Kemp said. "With (Dave)
Steckel and (R.J.) Umberger, (Jean-
Francois) Dufour - they can create some
The Buckeyes' firepower heated up on
road this season, as Ohio State posted an
impressive 9-5-2 record away from Value
City Arena. But the mixture of Ohio
State's lack of experience (10 freshmen
along an academically-ineligible captain)
and the Mavericks' home-ice advantage
will be the determining factors, as
Nebraska-Omaha squeaks out in a hard-
fought three-game confrontation.
Prediction: Nebraska-Omaha in three.
No. 5 NORTHERN MICHIGAN (12-10-
6, 16-11-7) vs. No. 6 WESTERN
MICHIGAN (12-10-6, 19-11-6)
After spending its last three weekends
on the road, Northern Michigan over-
. , - r C 20U
champion - sweet Sally would that
be a cathartic triumph for longtime
Unfortunately, the Terrapins relish
their Charlie Brown role. No matter.
It's almost like Duke and North
Carolina and the media and everyone
else has been holding that football
out, saying 'kick it Maryland, kick
But Maryland always winds up on
Shane Battier and Jason Williams
have shown a knack to play clutch
basketball all season. That can't be
overlooked when the elimination
The Big Ten
Final: Sunday, 3:30 p.m.
As a conference, the Big Ten has
maintained the top conference RPI
pretty much all season. That won't
mean diddly-poo (bless you, Jim
Mora) come Friday, because
Michigan State and Illinois are lev-
els above the rest of the field
There are plenty of quaint stories
beyond the top two - Mike Davis
and Indiana triumphing over adversi-
ty, Wisconsin triumphing over its
own mind-numbing style of play (A
side note: if there's one good argu-
ment to keep top players in school,
it's so that Wisconsin can no longer
stockpile the Mark Vershaws of the
world and befuddfe youthful oppo-
nents by boring them into submis-
sion) and of course Penn State tri-
umphing over the NCAA
Tournament, which was in danger of
catching the Nittany Lions right to
"Safety and security in the NIT,"
Penn State coach Jerry Dunn must be
The coaches of the "other nine"
are fond of pointing out that No. I
and No. 2 have never met in the Big.
Ten Tournament finals in its storied
But reality unveils that none of
these teams are fit to beat the
league's two superpowers.
When it gets down to the Spartans
and the Fighting Illini, expect
Michigan State to defend its title.
Illinois won the first matchup, and
these teams are too closely matched
for any winning streaks.
Furthermore, the trend in sports
has been for the most irritating team
to win - possibly God's way of flip-
ping off mankind - and Michigan
State certainly falls under that cate-
Prediction: Michigan State
Peninsula for the first-round.
"I'm just excited not to have to travel
anywhere," Northern Michigan coach
Rick Comley said.
While the Wildcats will gladly trade in
their suitcases for snowshoes, Western
Michigan coach Jim Culhane knows the
heavy challenge that awaits his team.
"It's going to be at least an eight-hour
ride up there, plus I'm sure there'll be
another foot of snow waiting for us,'
But more important than the travel
woes will be the Olympic-sized ice sur-
face in Northern's Berry Events Center,
something that Culhane said could
"change the dimension of the game and
take away a lot of the physical play"
But physical play is not the Broncos
game, and Comley is well-aware of his
opponents' offensive capabilities.
"We don't want to get in a run-and-
gun type series, that's for sure,' said
Comley, who emphasized the impor-
tance of his team staying out of the
penalty box and harnessing the Broncos
two top guns - CCHA leading scorers
Mike Bishai and David Gove.
In the end, Western Michigan will have
too much firepower for the Wildcats, and
will make its long UP trip worthwhile by
advancing to the next round.
Prediction: Western Michigan in three
ACADEMIC HONORS: Last night the
CCHA named its All-Academic team,
and Michigan junior defenseman Jeff
Jillson found his name on the list. He is
joined by Dan Carlson (Notre Dame),
Jim Dube (Ferris State), David Gove
(Western Michigan), Jim Lawrence
(Alaska-Fairbanks), Dave Noel-Bernier
(Nebraska-Omaha), Daniel Samuelsson
(Nebraska-Omaha) and Curtis Valentine
Andy Hilbert was also one of several
Wolverines to receive honorable men-
tion for this award.
Academics "is something I pride
myself in," Hilbert said. ""There's life
4- liY - a .nl-unt --,' di.t n
Chajpman leads '0
gO to its firstwi
Andrew Chapman was king of the
Michigan golf world this past Sunday.
The Grand Blanc native fired a three-
under 69 in the second round of the rain
shortened Wolverine South Invitational,
good enough for a share of the Hunter
Course record and a Michigan victory.
But Chapman wasn't the only star for
Junior Andy Matthews also took third
place with a score of 143 after two days.
In addition, all four of Michigan's
scoring rounds were at or below 6 over
par. And its team score of 581 was its
best two round mark of the young sea-
The next item on the Michigan golf
schedule is the El Diablo Intercollegiate
March 17-18 in Citrus Springs, Fla.
three divers to zones
Michigan will be sending three rep-
resentatives to the NCAA Zone Diving
Championships in Bloomington.
Tealin Kelemen, a three time Big Ten
Diver of the Week this season, and@
Jason Coben - both true freshmen -
are the greatest threats for Michigan.
"We are really optimistic about the
future of Michigan diving," Kimble
said. "Everyone that finished ahead of
Jason at Big Tens was a senior."
The top six men and women from
each zone will advance to the NCAA
The women's final will take place
next Thursday in Long Island, New
York. And the male finalists will com-
pete the following week at Texas
- Steve Jackson
Lousiville AD will
talk with Pitino soon
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)- '
Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich
said yesterday that Rick Pitino was his
top choice to be the Cardinals' next
coach and they will discuss the job this
Denny Crum, who coached
Louisville to two NCAA champi-
onships, announced his retirement last
Friday, ending a 30-year Hall of Fame
career. Speculation about Pitino - for-
mer coach of Kentucky and the Boston
Celtics- began almost immediately.
"I will be meeting with Rick this
weekend down in Florida;'Jurich said at
a news conference.
Former Wolverine .
PONTIAC (AP) - Jim Harbaugh
agreed Monday to a two-year deal with
Detroit, giving the Lions a solid backup*
to injury-plagued quarterback Charlie
Harbaugh led the Wolverines to the
1987 Rose Bowl with an 11-2 record.
Last season, Harbaugh spent most of
his time as a back-up for the San Diego
ELVIS SIGHTING: Former Wolverine
and free-agent quarterback Elvis Grbac
agreed to terms of a five-year, $30 mil-
lion contract with the Baltimore Ravens
on Tuesday. Grbac played last season for4
the Kansas City Chiefs.
Are you a mess?
Knock us out with a brief description
and up to four color photos
of your messy apartment.
You could walk awav filthy rich!!
Sun Belt Conference:
Western Kentucky 64, South Alabama 54
Midwestern Collegiate Conference:
BuE 53, Detroit 38
PRINCETON 68, Pennsylvania 52
Southern Utah 62, Valparaiso 59
Qualified for NCAA Tournament
North Carolina -Greensboro
college apartment contest
No. 2 Cowcncur 78, No.1 Notre Damne 76
No. 23 TEXAS 77, Nebraska 60
No. 6 Louisiana Tech 67, DEwR 55
Minnesota 95, Charlotte 89
NEW YORK 97, Indiana 83