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January 27, 2003 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-27

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cbe lMidigan Dalig

January 27, 2003



Monumental victory
proves gap is closing

Michigan's and Michigan State's
campuses have always been 65
miles apart. But the gap that
exists between the two schools' basket-
ball programs has been ever-changing.
With eight consecutive wins, Michigan
State had thoroughly dominated the
Wolverines in all facets of the game over
the past five seasons.
But yesterday afternoon, the Wolver-
ines not only extended their current win-
ning streak to 13, they put an end to,
years of frustration for fans and players
who have been waiting for this moment,
and this moment
only, for a long
"It's exceptional,"
Michigan Athletic
Director Bill Mar-
tin said. "Tommy
(Amaker) has done
exactly what we
wanted him to do, NAWEED
and a lot sooner SIKORA
than I expected.
And to have the Blowin'
rivalry with (Michi- smoke
gan) State, it's very
But looking back over the games in
the past few seasons, it's hard to believe
a turnaround like this happened so soon.
On March 4,2000, Michigan was
embarrassed by Michigan State, losing
114-63 at the Breslin Center. The
Wolverines had lost four straight to the
Spartans prior to that game, but the 51-
point loss margin was, and still is, the
largest in Michigan basketball history.
A season later, on Jan. 30, 2001,
Michigan State beat Michigan 91-64 in a
game that felt like a Spartans' home
game in Ann Arbor. Green and white
filled every corner of Crisler Arena, and
they were the only colors left by the final
buzzer, as most Michigan fans left early.
Even last season, with Amaker at the
helm, it still wasn't the time for a Michi-
gan revival, as the Wolverines were beat-
en 71-44 in East Lansing.
But all that is now forgotten.
All the bad memories this rivalry has
given Michigan basketball fans were
washed away with yesterday's win, and,
more importantly, with the thought of
what this team can do in the next few sea-
sons. All people could see was Daniel
Horton being hoisted up at center court
following the buzzer, one finger pointed
straight into the air, as fans rushed toward
him to celebrate what seems to be a
changing of the guard.
Going into the Michigan State game
last season, the Wolverines were just 3-4
in the Big Ten. The Spartans were only 2-

4 in the conference at the time, but pos-
sessed a sizable mental edge over the
Wolverines. Michigan went to East Lans-
ing wanting to play well, but not expect-
ing to win.
But this year, Michigan not only went
into the Michigan State game at 5-0 in
the Big Ten, it went in overflowing with
confidence. The Wolverines weren't just
hoping to play well, they went in think-
ing victory.
They were also playing in front of a
completely different crowd. Two years
ago, Michigan State fans had that field
day in Ann Arbor.
But yesterday, the Maize Rage student
section wouldn't allow that to happen, as
their energy and enthusiasm created an
intimidating atmosphere most thought
was impossible to create at Crisler.
"It was the first time I've seen so
many people in Crisler Arena," freshman
Lester Abram said. "When I walked out,
I was nervous."
For seniors LaVell Blanchard, Gavin
Groninger and Rotolu Adebiyi, they
finally got their chance to celebrate a
victory over the Spartans. It didn't matter
that Adebiyi was injured. It didn't matter
that Groninger only hit one 3-pointer, or
that Blanchard scored his only two points
on free throws. All that mattered was
they finished their careers with Michi-
gan, at least for the moment, above
Michigan State.
For Daniel Horton, Abram and the
rest of Michigan's freshmen, this game
was a statement - it was a preview of
what's to come. Whether they care about
the rivalry or not, they certainly respect
it, and they have proved that losing is
unacceptable no matter who you are
Michigan is back. If its first 12 wins
of the season weren't convincing enough,
this win certainly puts it over the hump.
"Has the gap been closed? I think that
it has," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo
said. "(Amaker) has done a hell of job as
we have done a hell of a job in East
Lansing. This should be a rivalry for
many, many years. I have been saying
that when we were winning by 30, and I
said it when we were losing by 30."
Said Amaker: "(Michigan State) is a
championship program, and that is cer-
tainly the direction that we are aspiring
to go."
Yesterday's win was certainly a major
step in that direction. After all, you can't
be the best team in the Big Ten if you're
not the best team in the state.

Naweed Sikora can be reached at

Michigan freshman Daniel Horton is hoisted above the crowd at center court following Michigan's first win over Michigan State since 1997-98.
Buccaneers sail away with Pirate Bowl I

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Just defense, baby!
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't need much
more - for most of the Super Bowl, anyway.
Coach Jon Gruden and his Bucs eo
won their first NFL championship yes-,
terday, routing the Oakland Raiders 48- y .
21 in the first matchup of best offense
vs. best defense.
The Tampa Bay defense won by a
mile, returning three of a record five 'Al
interceptions for touchdowns and shutting down
any hope the Raiders had of a late comeback.
It was the first Super Bowl victory for the for-
mer NFL lauhingstock a team that lost its first 26

ish orange uniforms.
"I want to thank Coach Gruden for what he did,"
said Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer, who a year ago

i t 'A R Y 16

was the butt of jokes for his revolving
coach search that finally brought Gru-
den from the Raiders.
"He came from heaven and he
brought us to heaven. We were waiting
for the right man and the right man
came - Jon Gruden."

Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson had two inter-
ceptions, as did Dwight Smith, who returned both
of his picks for touchdowns, including a 50-yarder
to finish off the scoring with two seconds left in
the game. Derrick Brooks also returned an inter-
ception for a touchdown.
Simeon Rice had two of the Bucs' five sacks as
Tampa Bay romped to a 20-3 halftime lead then
scored two quick third-quarter touchdowns.
That rendered futile a late comeback by the
Raiders that included a touchdown on a blocked
punt and 48-yard TD pass from league MVP Rich
Gannon to Jerry Rice..


Gruden, who at 39 became the youngest
coach ever to win a Super Bowl, is known as an
offensive guru.
This win was with a defense run by Monte Kif-



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