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March 12, 2001 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-12

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday -- March 12, 2001- 5B

Quote of the weekend
"I'm not Superman and Bernard
(Robinson) isn't Batman and Avery
(Queen) isn't Robin. We're affected by the
things we read every day."
- Freshman center Josh Moore on the
media's affect on the team.

Jow r
. Indianxi

63
61

Player of the Tournament
Iowa forward Reggie Evans
With the absence of star guard Luke Recker, the Hawkeyes needed
Evans to be the best player on the floor, which he was. Evans -
who Michigan considered offering - was a presence in the paint
and was hitting his perimeter jumper, making it tough on opposing
defenses.

13etter days al
Young Wolverines 1
By Dan Williams
Daily Sports Editor
CHICAGO - The 2000-'O1 Michigan men's
b etball team suffered its first loss before prac-
ti ever started when former point guard Kevin
Gaines was dismissed from the team. And with
the ;arduous season now technically over, the
team may still have another loss on the horizon.
Speculation that Brian Ellerbe will be fired
within days of season's end has shadowed the
team, especially for the last month. ESPN analyst
Dick Vitale continues to report through yesterday
that; Michigan had already decided to fire
Ellerbe, and that current Seton Hall coach
T ny Amaker is close to becoming the next
coach in Ann Arbor.
Throughout the ordeal, Michigan athletic
director Bill Martin maintained that no decisions
would be made regarding Ellerbe's future during
the season, and that a verdict will be reached
with the end of the basketball year.
Following Michigan's (10-18) season-ending
loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament
Thursday, Ellerbe said that he has three years left
on his original contract with the school, and that
he will continue as the coach of Michigan until
hears otherwise.
"I think Bill Martin has made it very clear
they're going to evaluate men's basketball just
like every other program," Ellerbe said. "I think

cad of'M', maybe ntE

earn from season, look ahead to next year

the University of Michigan has been fair.
"We haven't excelled the way we would have
liked to the last four years. But I also think we've
been under some unexpected types of situations."
The toughest strike against Ellerbe m'ay have
come in September when he had to dismiss
Gaines, who was arrested for driving under the
influence.
Between Gaines' arrest and the pending deci-
sion on Ellerbe; Michigan labored through a gru-
eling basketball season.
It began in Oakland with a 97-90 loss, a rude
awakening for the Wolverines' three freshmen.
Foreshadowing future difficulties, the team fell
to an early deficit against the Golden Grizzlies
and could never recover.
The road got even more rocky in December,
when Michigan suffered two crushing defeats at
the hands of top ACC foes.
First, Maryland pummeled the Wolverines 82-
51 in the BB&T Classic. Then, in a trip to
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke sprinted to a 34-
2 lead and cruised past Michigan by 43 points.
The team looked disoriented throughout the con-
test, and the result was demoralizing. Senior Josh
Asselin called the debacle, "rock bottom."
But Asselin may have spoken too hastily, as a
4-12 Big Ten season provided numerous
moments to compete for Michigan's lowest
point. Among, the worst defeats were three home
losses, by 27 points to Michigan State, 19 to

Wisconsin and 18 to Minnesota, eliminating the
team from postseason contention.
Adding insult to injury, off-the-court turmoil
again found its vsay into the program. Michigan
freshmen Maurice Searight spent the year habit-
ually in Ellerbe's doghouse, largely for missing
practice time. Scdright was punished for abuse of
team rules during the Oakland and Western
Michigan games, and then did not travel with the
team as the Wolverines fell to Indiana in
Bloomington, Feb. 11. Searight did not play in
the team's final eight games.
Fellow freshmen Avery Queen and Bernard
Robinson were also benched for violating team
rules.
"I can't be immature like that," Robinson said.
"I have to grow up fast."
The media bombardment may have further
distracted the young team.
"I don't think w e got a fair chance. The media
was looking for Juwan (Howard's) and Chris
(Webber's) freshia season," freshman Josh
Moore said. "I don't think that's realistic.
"You can't say that the negative things you put
in the media aren t going to distract the players.
That's our community We read that and we hear
that, and it gets to us"
TE SIEVER LINING
Despite so mch anguish in a six-month
period, Michigan has a lot to be optimistic
about for next year

Star forward LaVell Blanchard watched his second season end - this time at the paws of the
Nittany Lions - without an NCAA berth.

The most obvious reason is that four starters
return, including three players who could com-
pete for all-conference honors in LaVell
Blanchard, Chris Young and Robinson. Michigan
loses just Josh Asselin and his 9.6 points per
game to graduation - eight of nine contributors
from this season will be back.
If the Wolverines can avoid any extracurricular
turmoil over the next eight months, the team
won't be rebuilding for the first time in four
years.
The team also has to like the way the Big Ten
around them will shape up. Indiana, Wisconsin,
Iowa, Penn State, and Ohio State will all lose
their best players to graduation.
Michigan State and Illinois both have key
seniors departing and may be hit even harder if

the likes of Zach Randolph, Jason Richardson
and Frank Williams declare for the NBA draft.
And while the coaching topic remains hot,
there doesn't appear to be a mutiny in store for
Michigan. Seemingly all the players want Ellerbe
back next year, but if he is fired, the team expects
to stay unified.
"I think we are going to all stick together after
the season," Queen said.
And though the young team never expected to
have such a dismal initiation to college basket-.
ball, the team hopes to use the struggles as fuel
for an off-season full of weightlifting and train-
ing.
"We should no doubt have a great year next
year, and we don't want to disappoint again,"
Robinson said. "That definitely motivates us."

Let's
Hawkeyes take BTT
crown, automatic bid;

ance!
Duke downs Carolina,
captures No. I seed

, Dan Williams
Daily Sports Editor
CHICAGO - In the days preceding
the Big Ten Tournament, some analysts
predicted that slumping Iowa would
have to win three games to secure an
NCAA Tournament berth. The
Hawkeyes did them one better, winning
four games in four days to take the 2001
g Ten Tournament title and secure an
CAA automatic bid.
"The last time we were in this state we
got chanted 'N-I-T," Iowa coach Steve
Alford said. "Not today."
This tournament marks the first time
in three years that the final did not fea-
ture a Michigan State-Illinois matchup
and the first time ever that the title left
the state of Michigan.
The Hawkeyes rebounded from a
slow start and an eight-point first-half
ficit to defeat Indiana 63-61. Iowa
ior Reggie Evans, the tournament's
MVP, blocked Kirk Haston's three-point
attempt with time expiring.
"I kind of saw it coming, and I just
timed it so perfectly and got a clean
block," Evans said.
Early in the game, Indiana appeared
fresher. The Hoosiers' top two scorers,
Haston and freshman Jared Jeffries,
ombined for 26 points in the period.
But in the second half, Iowa was led
back by its youngest gunner and its old-
est leader. Freshman Brody Boyd -
who saw sparse playing time before the
injury bug hit the Hawkeyes - nailed
three key 3-pointers in the second half
and finished with 22 points.
"I was glad to see (Dane) Fife guard-
iig me," the confident frosh.said. Tom
"Coverdale just wasn't doing his job, so
Fife came in."
Dean Oliver, Iowa's captain, scored 12

points and connected on a number of
important baskets to keep pace.
"All the hard work and effort, and
blood, sweat and tears that I put into this,
I couldn't ask for anything more" Oliver
said. "Now we've got the momentum
and now we can do something in the
NCAA Tournament."
With the score knotted at 59 with 2:09
remaining, it seemed almost like two
teams of destiny were on the floor at the
same time. Iowa had looked lost down
the stretch of the regular season, drop-
ping seven of its final eight games.
With leading scorer Luke Recker and
key reserve Ryan Hogan both lost to
injury, the Hawkeyes appeared NIT-
bound.
"We had a vision of a Big Ten title,'
Alford said. "It's a tremendous tribute to
these guys.'
Meanwhile, Indiana never made the
conference tournament semifinals under
former coach Bobby Knight, who criti-
cized the concept of a Big Ten
Tournament from its outset.
With questions surrounding his job,
interim Indiana coach Mike Davis took
the Hoosiers to the brink of a title,
including an upset of top-seeded Illinois.
"This should have been our champi-
onship" Davis said. "This was a great
opportunity to bring excitement back to
the program. I'm extremely disappoint-
ed'
Both teams will be part of seven Big
Ten teams represented in the NCAA
Tournament. Iowa will compete as a sev-
enth seed in the East region against
Creighton. Indiana will compete as a
fourth seed in the West against Kent
State.

ATLANTA (AP) - Shane Battier
climbed the ladder and sliced a couple
of strands away from the rim, leaving
just enough dangling nylon for Mike
Krzyzewski to finish the job.
Clearly, Duke has mastered the net-
cutting ceremony at the Atlantic
Coast Conference Tournament.
The third-ranked Blue Devils rout-
ed No. 5 North Carolina yesterday in
the final, leaving little doubt about
which school rules one of college bas-
ketball's great rivalries.
Duke (29-4) headed on to the
NCAA Tournament, as the top seed in
the East Regional, after becoming the
first school in more than three
decades to win the ACC three straight
years.
"It feels kind of normal," said
sophomore guard Jason Williams,
who didn't play the final 13 minutes
because of a sprained left ankle. "We
have so much passion. We want it so
bad."
For the second time in a week,
Duke earned a double-digit victory
over North Carolina (25-6). But this
one was much more convincing than
the 95-81 victory at Chapel Hill on
the final Sunday of the regular sea-
son.
The Blue Devils took control with a
19-1 run in the first half and led 50-30
at halftime. North Carolina never got
any closer and looked totally lifeless
at the end, run completely ragged by
Duke's ironmen.
"They got exhausted. We could see
it in their eyes," freshman guard Chris
Duhon said. "We kept pushing and
pushing and they finally reached the
breaking point. We saw them getting
tired and instead of letting them back
in the game, we went for the jugular."

Mike Dunleavy scored 24 points
and Battier, the tournament MVP,
added 20 for the Blue Devils, who
won three games in three days with-
out center Carlos Boozer, sidelined
with a broken bone in his right foot.
"To come here when people doubt=
ed us, doubting whether we had the
legs to do it three days in a row, to win
MVP, it's really storybook," said
Battier, the winningest player in ACC
history.
Krzyzewski, meanwhile, won his
600th career game.
"Our team was amazing,; he said.
"I know they were tired, but they
played with great heart and beat an
outstanding team.
Despite the loss, the Tar Heels were
hoping for a top seed when the pair-
ings were announced later Sunday,
perhaps in the South Regional with a
chance for a return trip to the Georgia
Dome in a couple of weeks.
Unfortunately for them, they were
given the No. 2 seed in the South
instead with Michigan State taking
the top seed.
North Carolina was held to its
fewest points since a 45-44 win over
N.C. State on Feb. 12, 1997 - a span
of 151 games.
The Tar Heels shot 29 percent (19-
for-65) and had only one player,
Joseph Forte with 14 points, in double
figures.
"This is harder than a two-point
loss," Forte said. "We basically got
blown out of the building."
Duke hit only 38 percent of its
shots but seemed to arrive first at
every loose ball. The most telling stat:
the shorter Blue Devils outrebounded
North Carolina 54-47, including get-
ting 20 at the offensive end.

Fuu. NCAA BRACKET: Win free food in
the Daily's Pizza House contest
Page 8B.

AP PHOTO
Coach K did it again, ca,-ng y-t another AC Tournament title - and net.
His Blue Devils received ti. Ea't region's No. ± seed.

How the "experts"fared
Five months ago, the Daily told you how it should be. How we picked em and how it was:

HOW THE AP TOP 25 FARED

Preseason prediction
1. Illinois - No one can compete with Its backcourt;
2. Michigan State - Everyone will miss Cleaves's huge mouth.
3. Iowa - A healthy Recker makes it title competitive.
4. Indiana - Will miss Guyton more than it missed Knight.
5. Wisconsin - Bennett-bali less likely to sneak up this year.
6. Michigan - See this publication for brillant, concluding coverage.
7. Penn State - So content to go to the NIT.

Finad standings
T-1. Illinois - No one could ccmp' with its backcourt.
T-1. Michigan State - :o o e ms:Vd Cleaves' huge mouth.
3. Ohio State - Johnson, Bown, titie hopes.
4. Indiana - Didn't m .s 'ri at all.
5. Wisconsin - Sod b '. team sti: might sneak up this year.
T-6. Iowa - The Hawkay's I. th d unti Luke Recker injury.
T-6. Penn Stat, - Co, jb n j&opardy, the Nits responded.

Team
1. Stanford
2. Duke
3. Michigan State
4. Illinois
5. North Carolina
6. Florida
7 Arizona
8. Iowa State
9. Boston College
10. Kansas
11. Mississippi

Record
28-2
29-4
24-4
24-7
25-6
23-6
23-7
25-5
26-4
24-6
25-7

This week's results
Beat Arizona State, 99-75
Beat North Carolina, 79-53
Lost to Penn State, 65-63
Lost to Indiana, 58-56
Lost to Duke, 79-53
Lost to Mississippi, 74-69
Beat California 78-76
Lost to Baylor, 62-49
Beat Pittsburgh, 79-57
Lost to Oklahoma, 62-57
Lost to Kentucky, 77-55
-,-~ 4-- ~Tnr.-L. 7dAQL

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