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March 14, 2003 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-14

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March 14, 2003



Blue has 'no tomorrow'
with loss to Hoosiers

Feisty Falcons will


'M'all it wants

By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Editor

There was only one upset yesterday
at the Big Ten Tournament.
Unfortunately for Michigan's title
chances, it didn't come in the final
game of the opening round, as No. 6

seed Indiana - desperate to wrap-up
an NCAA Tournament
berth - smoked No. 11
seed Penn State, 77-49. TON
The lone upset of the Michi
day came when 10th- lnlianaiA
seeded Northwestern
stunned No. 7 seed Min-
nesota, almost assuredly
sending the Golden ESPN1PIU
Gophers into the NIT.
That means Michigan
(10-6 Big Ten, 17-12 overall) will have
to knock off Indiana and Illinois -
teams the Wolverines are a combined
0-3 against this year - to reach the
title game Sunday.
Step one starts tonight at 9:10 p.m.
when the Wolverines try to avenge a
63-49 loss from Feb. 12 against Indi-
ana (9-8, 19-11).
"There's no tomorrow," Michigan
senior LaVell Blanchard said. "If we
lose, then guess what happens? My
career's over at Michigan, so we've got
to focus on this game.

'4 t

"You want to end up on a great note
as a senior. That's one of the things that
you always dream about is winning
your last game. Even though it can't be
a national championship, it could be
the Big Ten Tournament for us."
In the 14-point loss to the Hoosiers
last month, the Wolverines were com-
pletely stymied on offense, held to 18
.....--. first-half points and 37.5
percent shooting for the
Ln vs. Indiana used a predomi-
he BT nantly small lineup against
)pOfl Michigan, starting three
guards - Tom Coverdale,
R C ' Bracey Wright and Mar-
shall Strickland - as well
as the undersized A.J.
Moye. The unusual
matchups helped the Hoosiers hold
Blanchard and freshman Lester Abram
to a combined 11 points on 4-of-2
Yesterday in their win over Penn
State, the Hoosiers also showed an
ability to go big, often playing forward
Jeff Newton and center George Leach
at the same times. Newton finished
with 21 points, while Leach chipped in
11 and three monster blocks. Indiana
is a dangerous opponent that may still
feel like it is in need of a win to clinch
a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

As was seen in the first game of last
year's best-of-three series between
then-No. 1 Michigan and then-No. 12
Lake Superior State, no team is safe in
the first round of the CCHA playoffs
- not even at home.
Even Bob Daniels, coach
of this season's top team T1IS X
in Ferris State, has said Mhchi
that he would rather havean ter
a bye and the week off
going into next week'sk
Super Six at Joe Louis in(
Arena than play the Lak- Y s Ice,
ers at home tonight. TV: F-
Like the Bulldogs, the
Wolverines would proba-
bly rather face Bowling
Green at some other time and take their
second seed into the Joe. The Falcons,
who are 0-1-1 against Michigan this
season, will provide more challenges
for the Wolverines than their 5-20-3
record in the conference would suggest.
GREEN'S DEFENSE: Michigan's offense
is loaded and there's a reason why it is
averaging more goals now than it was
last year with Mike Cammalleri:
Everyone and their brother is scoring.
The Wolverines have 16 players with
double digits in points - eight of
them with 20 or more points, and two
with more than 30. Bowling Green has
just 10 players above 10 points, and no
one has more than 30. The Falcons
aren't exactly stronger on defense in
terms of statistics, either. In their first
26 games, they allowed six or more
goals in 11 contests. Michigan has
been held to two goals or less just
twice this season.
With the stats alone, this looks like
an unfair advantage, and that freshman
Jeff Tambellini will have two four-goal
nights to propel the Wolverines to the
Joe. But Bowling Green has been

)x c


playing solid as of late, never more
apparent than last weekend's series
against Ferris State. Twice last Satur-
day, the Falcons kept the Bulldogs off
the scoreboard when Ferris State was
trying to add on to its third-period
lead. At the 11:24 mark, the Falcons
found themselves down two men for
an entire two minutes. And even with
the league's top-scoring
line, Ferris State could
EKEND barely muster any shots on
n v, the triangle defense of the
(reen Falcons. That penalty kill
allowed Bowling Green to
remain in the game and
pull within one goal with
16 seconds remaining.
Srena aThe Falcons also made
ni h) up for their offense's mis-
takes more than a lot of
teams have against the
Bulldogs, as they chased down every
breakaway the Bulldogs had - and
there were a lot - and more often
than not, broke them up. They even
held Ferris State's All-Everything
Superman Chris Kunitz to two assists
on the weekend. Two assists? This was
the same Kunitz that had six points
(three in one period) in the Bulldogs'
10-1 thrashing of Bowling Green earli-
er this season.
Bowling Green is now that team
that can take its deficiencies and turn
them into strengths. Where it got
blown away at the beginning of the
season, it can compete with the same
team three months later. Where it gave
up six goals to Michigan in the Friday
meeting in November, it can come
back and allow just one goal to go
against it. The Falcons turn breakaway
chances into opportunities to crush
their opposition's morale. So while
Michigan may have the weapons,
Bowling Green has enough to neutral-
ize them. EDGE: EVEN.
GREEN'S OFFENSE: Bowling Green has
no legitimate threats individually. It

Michigan and Bowling Green go at it in their last series at Bowling Green.

Vietnam/Iraq Comparisons
Protestors have always had
catchy, but trite slogans, such
as "No blood for oil." They
said the same thing about
the war that liberated Kuwait.
Have you noticed how we get
our Kuwaiti oil for free now?
Gary Lillie & Assoc., Realtors

f 1002 PONTIAC TR. U

will play and succeed line by line,
meaning that it will be up to the
Michigan defense to make or break
this series. Senior Mike Roemensky,
junior Andy Burnes and sophomores
Brandon Rogers and Nick Martens
make a viable force at the blueline, but
the other two starters are suspect at
best - whom ever they are. Freshman
Danny Richmond has gotten every
start this year, but it is apparent that
he's still a defenseman in a forward's
body. His technique has gotten better,
and he's not afraid of getting in front
of guys who are 50 pounds his better,
but he's more effective as a shooter
than a defenseman right now in his
young career. Then there is the rotating
cycle of J.J. Swistak and Reilly Olson
for the sixth spot. Neither is a great
replacement for the academically inel-
igible Eric Werner, but they each have
their bright spots. Olson has a few
inches on Swistak and throws his
weight around better, but Swistak -
knowing he is playing in his final
games - seems to be all about sacri-
ficing his body whenever he can. That
and Swistak's ability with the puck
may land him the starting role in the
In the end, it will come down to the
four who have established themselves
as the most dominant starters, and that
should be enough to stop a Bowling

Green offense that has managed to
score more than three goals just once
in its past 11 games. Edge: Michigan.
Intangibles: Michigan coach Red
Berenson said his team "has everything
to lose" while Bowling Green "has
everything to gain." And with last
year's first-game loss to Lake Superior
State, don't expect Michigan to come
out flat. A 5-1 win tonight wouldn't be
that shocking to see. But, as stated
before, Bowling Green rebounds quite
well. And with a coach like Scott
Paluch, who was a Falcon when it was
actually an honor to be a part of Bowl-
ing Green hockey, the Falcons will
have a winning mentality despite their
losing record. Don't expect Yost Ice
Arena to be anything new to the Fal-
cons, as their home crowd rarely over-
takes their visitors. EDGE: EVEN.
Prediction: Michigan will come out
flying tonight, and it wouldn't be that
surprising to see a new Bowling
Green goalie - either Tyler Masters
or Jordan Sigalet - for Saturday
night. Expect tomorrow's game to be
much like the 1-1 tie earlier this sea-
son, as the Falcons will correct every-
thing they did wrong tonight and
sneak out with a win. Sunday will
come, though, and the Wolverines will
not lose their chances for an NCAA
Tournament bid. PICK: MICHIGAN IN





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