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January 23, 2002 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-01-23

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michigandaily.comIs ports
sportsdesk@umich.edu

WEDNESDAY
JANUARY 23, 2002

9

77 rToughness
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' ni Daily Sports Writer

What is going on with Iowa and Michigan
State?
Each team opened the year with high
expectations and NBA-caliber talent, but
when they got into the thick of conference
play they found out - toughness wins in the
'j Big Ten.
After Iowa's 75-71 BASKETBALL
win last night, the Notebook
Spartans (2-4 Big Ten,
11-8 overall) and No.
24 Iowa (3-4, 14-7) are now ninth and sev-
enth in the conference, respectively.
"We're not as tough - all of a sudden
%.f.. we're not quite as good defensively' Michi-
gan State coach Tom Izzo said. "That's what
K I've been complaining about."
Izzo knows the importance of toughness
more than anyone else in the conference. In
the last four years, the Spartans won or
shared four Big Ten titles, and the team's
..football-like style was a big part of that.
Many of Izzo's best players, including
Mateen Cleaves and Andre Hudson, brought
r gridiron experience and attitude with them
from high school.
"I've always said that players play, but
tough players win," Izzo said.
The Hawkeyes have one of the most intim-
IN yidating players in. all of college basketball in
center Reggie Evans, but he still has not
DAVID ROCHKIND/Daily proved to be "tough" in the eyes of his coach
Freshman Dommanic ingerson made a key 3-point basket late in Michigan's win over Minnesota on Saturday. He is Steve Alford.
quickly evolving into one of Michigan's clutch performers down the stretch. See HAWKEYES, Page 10
Amaker not out to cut corners for Blue

TOM FELDKAMP/Daily
Michigan punishes Its opponents, and their fans on a regular basis when they visit
Yost Ice Arena.
Martin tells fans to
keep it clean at Yost

By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer

By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor
Talk about a major role reversal.
One week, freshman Chuck Bai-
ley was sitting on the bench for all
but four of the 40 minutes that the
Wolverines played in - watching
former walk-ons taking his spot in
the rotation during critical situa-
tions.
The next week, the freshman for-
ward started the game ahead of his
mentor, LaVell Blanchard, and took
Blanchard's spot when the junior
fouled out late in a "must win"
home game against Minnesota.
Bailey came in down the stretch
and made a key block when his
team desperately needed a stop.
Minutes later, he drained two elutch
free throws and, in the waning sec-
onds, found an open Chris Young
for the go-ahead basket as the shot
clock expired.
"If he doesn't make those shots,
we don't win the game," Michigan
coach Tommy Amaker said. "I
mean, he's 50 percent from the line
and he goes 4-for-4 down the
stretch - that's maturity."
The same can be said for Michi-
gan's other freshman, Dommanic
Ingerson. The sharpshooter
knocked down a key 3-pointer to
even the score with just over a

minute left in the Minnesota game.
This came just one week after he
spent his fair share of time on the
bench next to Bailey in two Michi-
gan losses.
Both freshmen had to learn that
in Amaker's eyes, it's not just what
you do in the games or in the spot-
light that gets you playing time.
Instead it's how Amaker "feels kids
are paying attention, how kids are
giving effort in practice and how
they are off the court" which will
determine who will be a major
player in the coach's quest to
rebuild the Michigan program.
Just ask Blanchard, a preseason
Naismith Award candidate, and
Bernard Robinson. These two,
arguably Michigan's best players,
didn't start against Minnesota, sit-
ting on the,bench in the important
first few minutes of the game.
Amaker realized that with his
team's limitations, the Wolverines'
margin for error is "slim to none"
and that "every possession is criti-
cal." But he also knows that he's not
going to sacrifice the ideals of his
program, even if that may cost
Michigan a few games.
"We're not going to try to cut
corners and be shortsighted here,"
Amaker said. "We're going to look
at one or two games or losses for
the sake of this program."

Amaker said that a sign that his
players are buying into his philoso-
phy was the inspired play of Blan-
chard and Robinson on Saturday.
Both were benched for the start of
the game and ended up with great
performances - Blanchard with 20
points on 8-for-10 shooting and
Robinson with his first career dou-
ble-double.
In addition, Blanchard was the
first one to embrace Bailey after the
freshman made two of his key free
throws late in the game.
"It was more of a bear hug, not
just a tap," Amaker said with a
smile.
In creating a "first-class pro-
gram," moments like these are what
Amaker seems to value more than
huge individual performances, wins
or preseason accolades.
"He just tries to treat each player
the same way," said fifth-year sen-
ior guard Mike Gotfredsqn. "It
doesn't matter if you play two min-
utes or 40 minutes, if you don't run
the line drills as hard as you can,
you're going to be sitting on the end
of the bench."
Gotfedson is a prime example of
Amaker's plan in action. He's a for-
mer walk-on who barely saw any
significant minutes in his previous
years at Michigan. But he has start-
ed 13 of Michigan's 15 games,

sometimes in favor of last year's
starter, Avery Queen.
Gotfredson said he knows his
role, and that Amaker has explained
it to him. Others, like Bailey and
Ingerson, haven't been so sure in
the past of why they were sitting,
probably because this is the first
time they have had to 'deal with
such a situation.
Bailey has continually said he
"doesn't really know" what he is~
doing wrong, and that he "hasn't
gotten around to" taking advantage
of Amaker's "open-door" policy and
asking the coach for answers.
But Amaker said that when he
addresses the team, he is talking to
each player individually as well.
And sometimes, Amaker said, the
players know full well the reasons
why they aren't playing - they just
don't reveal them.
"I think they know," Amaker said.
"I'd be disappointed if they didn't
know. Sometimes, as kids, it's easy
not to say, or maybe you don't want
to tell what the real reason was."
Others - including Ingerson -
have come to Amaker themselves
and inquired about the coach's
motives and confidence in them.
"Our kids know that we're going
to do things for the right reasons,"
Amaker said. "Everything counts
and everything matters."

When fans walked into Yost Ice.
Arena Saturday night, they were expect-
sing to see one of the most exciting
hockey games of the year and to jab
Michigan State players with their witti-
est and most biting insults.
The remarks, delivered with the uni-
son of a seventh-grade boys choir, add
to the boisterous intimacy and charm of
Yost. These chants, the trademark of any
experience at Yost, are often full of,
expletives and insults directed toward
the opponent.
But when fans arrived at their seats
Saturday night, there was'a letter from
Michigan Athletic Director Bill Martin
encouraging them to be respectful and
to avoid using vulgar language directed
at opposing parents, players and fans.
These letters were placed on every seat
in the arena except those reserved for
players' guests and parents - located
behind the team bench.
In the letter, Martin told fans that the
athletic department, "needs your support
and we want (you) to do it in a classy
manner -like true Michigan fans.
"When you cheer for the Maize and
Blue, direct your efforts to the support
of the team on the ice, not the fans
and/or parents of the opposition."
Fans did not appear to take any heed
to the wapning as they dispensed their
usual batc1'of cheers and chants toward
opposing players and their parents.
Many of the chants were directed at
Michigan State goalie and Yost nemesis,
Ryan Miller. But they didn't appear to
distract last year's Hobey Baker Memo-
rial Award winner, as he stopped 42
shots in the 1-1 tie.
"I just try to have fun with that stuff,"
said Miller, who leads the CCHA with a
1.56 goals against average. "I don't take
the comments as an insult, I just treat it
as something to laugh about. The fans at
Yost are pretty sharp and definitely had
some good ones about me. They are

USCHO ToP 15
Team Record Points
'1. Denver (40) 22-2-0 600
2. New Hampshire 17-4-2 546
3. St. Cloud 20-4-1 518
4. Minnesota 17-4-4 460
5. Michigan State 17-5-3 419
6. Boston University 14-5-2 400
7. Mass.-Lowell 16-5-1 398
8. Michigan 13-7-5 .289
9. Colorado College 14-8-2 246
10. Northern Michigan 15-7-2 245
11. Maine 13-7-4 200
12. Cornell 11-5-1 184
13. Alaska-Fairbanks 14-8-2 91
14. Ohio State 14-8-2 61
15. Nebraska-Omaha 14-9-3 40
definitely getting better."
While the fans didn't bother Miller,
he said that few of their comments were
clean enough to be repeated.
Some of the most popular chants
directed at Miller include "ugly goalie"
when Miller (or any goalie) takes off
their mask and an applause thanking
'him for putting his mask back on.
Miller is not the only player amused
by the fans at Yost Saturday night.
Freshman Charlie Henderson, an East
Lansing native whose three uncles are
the rink manager, music director and
color commentator at Michigan State's
Munn Ice Arena, had not heard some of
the remarks until coming to Michigan.
"The one I always laugh at is the
'ugly parents' chant," Henderson said.
"But I think, 'If you can't get into col-
lege, go to State' is the fminiest one I've
heard all year. A lot of them are hilari-
ous and keep the mood light"
Despite the largest crowd at Yost
since the renovation in 1997-98, there
were no reported problems in the
stands. Coach Red Berenson thought it
was the best crowd the Wolverines have
had all year.
Michigan will play seven of its
remaining 10 games at home.

Rutherford, DaCosta
clicking for Michigan

By Albert Kim
Daily Sports Writer
In doubles, you can have all the
talent in the world, but if you don't
click with your partner, it's a disas-
ter in the making. Fortunately for
the Michigan women's tennis team,
the freshmen doubles duo of
Leanne Rutherford and Michelle
DaCosta found instant chemistry
the moment they stepped onto a
court together.
"It's hard to explain," Rutherford
said. "We just have a really good
sense of where one another is on the
court, and we have lots of fun."
"From the very first match, we
just clicked together," DaCosta said.
What makes this chemistry more
intriguing is the difference in the
outward personalities of DaCosta
and Rutherford. At first glance,
they seem as different as their
hm~trniirr - Ruitherford is from

On the other hand, DaCosta is
more soft-spoken and serious. But
DaCosta says that she and Ruther-
ford are more similar than it
appears.
"Leanne talks more, but we have
the same kind of personality,"
DaCosta said. "There are people on
the team that are louder than both
of us."
Rutherford agrees.
"I like to laugh," Rutherford said.
"But we're all happy and we always
have a good time."
Personalities aside, the two get
along on and off the court. This was
made blatantly obvious to Western
Michigan and DePaul last weekend
as Rutherford and DaCosta went
undefeated in doubles play - even
though they played in the No. 1
spot.
"Coming in they were both pretty
strong, and they've gotten much
better since :comine~ here," No. 1

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