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January 15, 2003 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-01-15

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0

Wednesday
January 15, 2003
michigandaily.com/sports
sportsdesk@umich.edu

POR TSe id ig a n a ilg

10

Cagers seek No. 10 in Columbus

By Charles Paradis
Daily Sports Writer
The last time Michigan and Ohio
State met on the hardcourt, the upstart
10th-seeded Wolverines were giving
the second-seeded Buckeyes a run for
their money in the second round of
the Big Ten Tournament.
Michigan had been coming on of
late, and LaVell Blanchard shined in
the conference tournament last year,
scoring 24 points against Ohio
State. But the Wolverines could not
push past the 21st-ranked Buckeyes,
falling 75-68.
Fast-forward to tonight and Ohio
State is again facing a team that is
coming on strong and is one of the
hottest in the nation - having won
nine games in a row.
The nine-game win streak has insu-
lated the Wolverines against any fear
they may have had about going into
Columbus and has them believing in
Streaking through
Since losing to Duke Dec. 7th
Michigan has won nine games in a
row. Its three top scorers have
combined for 50 points, 17
rebounds and 10 assists per game
during the streak. Here are some of
the other longest streaks inthe
nation:
Team Streak Record
Duke 11 11-0
Oklahoma State 11 13-1
Syracuse 11 11-1
Florida 9 13-2
Louisville 9 10-1
Michigan 9 9.6
Wyoming 9 12-2

VALUE CITY ARENA
Who: Michigan (2-0 Big Ten, 9-6 overall) vs.
Ohio State (1-1, 8-5)
When: 8 p.m. , ESPN-Plus
Latest: The streaking Wolverines look for
their first 10-game winning streak since
1993 when they visit the Buckeyes.
each other.
"I do not think we are going to be
afraid," Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker said. "The older kids espe-
cially recognize how difficult it is to
compete and win on the road in this
conference."
Ohio State also has loads of
momentum coming off its 81-69
defeat of Indiana on Saturday.
After starting 2-0 in the conference
season, the Wolverines will face their
first conference road test. But the
Wolverines are no strangers to hostile
environments.
"(We had) an opportunity to win
against a storied program such as
UCLA," Amaker said. "I would hope
it would at least give us a point of ref-
erence that we have gone away from
Crisler (Arena) and had some success
against a great program. That is what
we will be facing this week with the
Buckeyes in Columbus."
The Buckeyes have played with as
many as three guards on the court at a
time, but they could challenge the
Wolverines with a larger lineup to
exploit Michigan's much-noted lack
of depth and experience inside.
Whether the Buckeyes play big
or small, much of their success
will come from the play of senior
point guard Brent Darby. In con-
ference play, Darby is averaging

G1

TOM FELDKAMP/Daily
Unlike Frodo Baggins, senior John Shouneyla (left) and his companion Mike Cammalleri
(dght) will not have to dispose of their CCHA Championship ings in the depths of Mordor.
'M' lers seekn
ring to rule the m all

TONY DING/Daily
Daniel Horton has played a key role in Michigan's resurgence. During the nine-
game winning streak, Horton has averaged 16.9 points and 5.6 assists.

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Writer
Sometimes great inspiration can be
found in the smallest thing.
For the Michigan hockey team, inspi-
ration is one of the things it needs to
reclaim as it heads into the heart of its
CCHA schedule. Luckily enough, the
Wolverines received a tiny, but heavy,
gift in the form of last year's champi-
onship rings. The importance? Well, last
year's team endured a 3-3-3 stretch at the
end of December and early January, but
yet, still won the CCHA (regular season
and playoffs) and made it to the Frozen
Four. That period of time mirrors the cur-
rent 4-4 run the Wolverines are in now.
One can't help but look at the five-
pound behemoth of a ring and not be
reminded of the, struggle that last year's
team endured to get it - including a
near disastrous first round in the CCHA
Tournament when the Wolverines
dropped the opener of a best-of-three
series to last-place Lake Superior State.
"We did a lot of work last year, and it's
a reward for something that can't be
taken away, senior John Shouneyia said.
"For this year, it's something we can look
back on and know how hard we had to
work to get there. I think we know that's
not the ultimate goal."
That ultimate goal is to make it to the
Frozen Four in Buffalo, N.Y. and to sur-
pass last year's 3-2 loss to Minnesota in
the semifinals. The Wolverines spotted
the Golden Gophers a three-goal lead

before they got on the board.
But with April far enough away, and a
week off before resuming action next
Thursday against Lake Superior State,
Michigan can sit back and enjoy the
beauty that they now own.
"In the middle they have some dia-
monds ... or cubic zirconium ... I don't
know what they are," sophomore Jason
Ryznar said. "There's some emeralds on
the side, they're real nice. It says your
name, 'CCHA Champs' and 'Frozen
Four' on the side, too."
With all of that on one ring and given
the not-so-sumo like fingers of the play-
ers, it would be a wonder if anyone on
campus saw those emeralds in public.
"I'll probably just keep mine on
my desk for something to look at,"
Ryznar said.
Although it can't be showcased in
front of everyone, the players are appre-
ciative of getting something.
"For high school we got a state cham-
pionship ring, but it's not nearly as nice
or as big as that one," Ryznar added
The seniors on the team know what
it's like to receive praise in ring form,
having done so in 2000 by winning
the CCHA regular season. So excuse
them if they enjoy this year's gift, but
are still not satisfied until they get
their 'precious' that has been in the
hands of other teams since the
Wolverines last obtained it in 1998.
"That's definitely the nicest one,"
Shouneyia said of this year's ring. "But
we've seen the one that we want."

22 points a game and is Ohio
State's leading scorer.
While Darby will try to lead the
Buckeyes tonight, Michigan's star
point guard and diaper dandy extra-
ordinaire, Daniel Horton, is nursing
a sore wrist. Horton is listed as
probable for the game, but without
him, the Wolverines find them-
selves with few options at the point.
As far as continuing the team's
new-found success, Amaker wants
the players to play together and not
try to do too much. He credits

much of the team's success to Blan-
chard, who for the fourth-straight
season is leading the team in points
with just over 17 points per game.
"We need our players to play to
their capabilities," Amaker said.
"We have said it all along that if we
could find a certain rhythm with
our better players they could score
better. I think Blanchard has been
that catalyst. He has allowed every-
one else to fit nicely in the roles
that we have identified that are best
for our ball club."

ni Cook-in' thanks to big man's play

By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer

Illinois entered this year's basketball season as one
of the early favorites to compete for the Big Ten regu-
lar season crown.
That distinction was thanks mostly in part to the
return of senior and 2002 second-team All-Big Ten
center Brian Cook.
Cook, this year's preseason BIG TEN
Big Ten Player of the Year as Notebook
selected by the media, has not ot
failed to live up to the hype. In
leading the Fighting Illini to a conference-best 12-1
record and a 2-0 start in the Big Ten, Cook has aver-
aged a whopping 21.7 points per game, as well as 8.4
rebounds and 2.2 assists.
"The biggest thing is that he just has more confi-
dence - he's playing to succeed as opposed to not to
fail," Illinois coach Bill Self said. "He's probably
shown more confidence in the biggest games."
The eighth-ranked Illini opened the Big Ten cam-
paign by taking a pair of six-point decisions, 76-70 at
Minnesota and 69-63 over Wisconsin. Cook led the

way for the Illini in both games, posting 25 points
and 11 rebounds in Minneapolis and then notching
31 points and nine boards against the Badgers.
Illinois' next test in the Big Ten occurs tonight
when the Illini head to Iowa. The Hawkeyes have
received minimal contributions from their big men,
so the matchup with Cook is one that could pose seri-
ous problems to Iowa's perfect conference mark.
"I think it's what happens a lot in this league when
you get players who end up staying throughout the
completion of their careers;' Iowa coach Steve Alford
said. "He's benefited from staying, and he's matured
from playing in this league. I think he's probably the
hardest player in the league to guard."
WHAT THE HAWK?: Speaking of the Hawkeyes, their
10-3 start (2-0 Big Ten) has been one of the biggest
early surprises of the conference season.
Iowa underachieved to the tune of a 19-16 record
and a first-round exit from the NIT last year. After
losing three of its top four scorers - Luke Recker
and Reggie Evans to graduation and Pierre Pierce to
a redshirt year - the Hawkeyes were not expected
to approach last year's mark.
But after a 68-64 win over Michigan State on Sat-

urday, the surprising Hawkeyes are trying to put
themselves in position for another postseason trip.
"I think our guys have done a pretty nice job in the
early season of working together and playing
unselfishly,"Alford said.
Alford took a great deal of heat last year when the
Hawkeyes faltered, but, according to the Iowa coach,
much of the fan base has stayed loyal gd is once
again enjoying the team's success.
"(Iowa) has always been a great environment,"
Alford said. "Winning always helps mend some
problems - we've gotten out of the gate here and
have been able to win some games, so you've got
people doing some 360's, but that's part of the sport
and part of the business."
NOT TALKIN' THE TALK: Purdue coach Gene Keady
had his team off to an impressive start heading into
last night's game against Michigan State. But you
won't hear anyone in West Lafayette bragging too
much about it.
"I hate trash-talking," Keady said. "The Big
Ten probably does less of it than anyone in the
country. I see so much of it in the pros, it about
makes me puke."

Tankers get visit from
parents for home meet

By Megan Kolodgy
Daily Sports Writer
They've unpacked their suitcases,
attended their winter semester classes
and are ready to enjoy 10 weeks of
unadulterated home-pool advantage.
Only one thing could make the men's
swimming team feel more at ease - a
visit from mom and dad.
This weekend is parents' weekend for
the Wolverines, and with that comes an
opportunity to trounce Big Ten oppo-
nent Purdue and have a nice dinner with
the folks at the Michigan Golf Course.
Most of the swimmers haven't seen
their families since the team's training
trip to Hawaii, which started prior to
Christmas. Though they missed the
chance to spend the holiday with their
loved ones, the unity that was built up
throughout the trip created a general

feeling of closeness among the
Wolvernies.
"If I can't be with my parents at
Christmas, there's no one else I'd rather
spend the holiday with than my team-
mates," said freshman Davis Tarwater.
Despite the fact that he has grown
closer with his team, Tarwater is eagerly
anticipating his parents' arrival.
"I'm just really excited to see them,
he said.
Some swimmers, like Tucson, Ariz.
native and freshman Tyler DeBerry, will
not see their parents this weekend
because the journey is simply too long.
"My parents can't come this week-
end," DeBerry said. "But they did come
to one of the meets in California, and
they're going to Big Tens."
Junior Tim Wera is also enthusiastic
about the prospect of enjoying another
parents' weekend with the team.

.. T IS E
CANHAM NATATORIUM
Who: No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 16 Purdue, Indiana
When: 6 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday
Latest: The Wolverines look to keep their Big
Ten record perfect this weekend at Canham in
their first home meet of the season.
"It's always nice when the parents
come up," Wera said. "We have a pretty
good following, but it's great to see so
many of them in one weekend."
Coach Jon Urbanchek is looking for-
ward to the event that has been a tradi-
tion for several years.
"This weekend will give the guys a
chance to show off for their parents -
or their orphanage, I guess, if they don't
have any parents," Urbanchek said.
And the currently-No. 1 Wolverines
will certainly look good against No. 16
Purdue. Though Michigan will fall in
the rankings as a result of last week-
end's losses on the West Coast, their
times should put them ahead of the
Boilermakers in most events. Purdue
has just one swimmer with a NCAA
consideration time, whereas Michigan
has eight.
Urbanchek is eager to begin what
should be an easier leg of the season.
"We've already swam against the top
schools," Urbanchek said. "Now we're
up agianst Big Ten teams, which is a lit-
tle less pressure for us."

Travel no
sweat for,
swimmers
By Steven Shears
Daily Sports Writer
Erin Abbey will never compete in
Canham Natatorium again.
For the senior captain and the rest of
the Wolverines, last Friday's meet victo-
ry against Toledo was only the second
home meet of the season - it was also
the last.
The women's swimming and diving
team's schedule contains one of the
least amounts of home competitions out
of any Michigan varsity team. The
NCAA does not create schedules for
women's swimming teams. The coaches
must construct the schedules them-
selves. Last year, most of Michigan's
meets were at home. In order to com-
pensate for that, Michigan offered to be
the visiting team in most of its meets.
But the Wolverines' No. 22 ranking
proves that this traveling team has no
problem with dealing with the pressures
of the road. In fact, they thrive on it.

TONY DING/Daily
Michigan junior Lori Eberwein takes a breath as she swims the freestyle during the
Wolverines' final home meet of the season last week versus Toledo

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"We do better when we travel,"junior
captain Anne Weilbacher admitted. "It's
something different. We come into Can-
ham every day and see the same-things
and we're used to being here. I'd rather
go away, it makes it different; and you
know you're at a meet."
There are also valuable intangibles
that can only be incurred by being on
the road. Hotels and bus rides become
important centers for developing
togetherness and teamwork for the
Wolverines.
"It's fun to travel, and it's not that big
of a deal;' Abbey said. "It's fun because
it brings us closer together because
we're together all of the time. We stay in
the hotel together, eat together, and we
get away from the stresses of school."
Coach Jim Richardson agrees with

nois. Being on the road just adds to
the excitement
"I wish this meet was tomorrow,"
Richardson said. "This meet is going
to show us if we have that extra
something, and if we're ready for the
challenge. The question is: Can we
get on a bus at 7:00 in the morning,
take a six-and-a-half-hour bus ride,
stretch out, listen up, go over and

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