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November 20, 2002 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-11-20

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mWwednesday
November 20, 2002
michigandaiiy.com
sportsdesk@umich.edu

SPORTS

9

Buckeyes blamed
for BCS breakdown

Consistent play earns
Abrams starting spot

By David Horn
Daily Sports Editor
The BCS is everyone's least favorite
acronym. Each year of its existence it
has seemed to raise a new controversy,
and the 2002 version is carrying on that
infamous legacy. The team at the top of
the Bowl Championship Series rank-
ings last week - the Big Ten's own
Ohio State Buck-_
eyes - now sits at FOOTBALL
No. 2, and many
believe that even if AnalySiS
Ohio State emerges
victorious in its rivalry game this Satur-
day against Michigan, it will not be the
rightful opponent for No. 1 Miami
(Fla.) in the Fiesta Bowl.
So just how did the Buckeyes end up
in this enviable position?
The first thing that separates Ohio
State from the rest of the national pack
is the digit in its losses column: Zero. In
mid-October, as the undefeated teams
dwindled from 11 to eight to four to
two, Ohio State maintained its unblem-
ished record with wins against San Jose
State, Wisconsin and Penn State.
But those wins, and many of those
that followed, were far from convinc-

ing. Ohio State has done nothing this
season if not win close games. Five of
its 11, including four of its last five
wins have been by less than a touch-
down. But coach Jim Tressel points to
the fact that all but one of those games
has been on the road, and relies on the
old Big Ten axiom that any road win is
a good win.
"I know our guys have been playing
hard and we have had a lot of battles,"
Tressel said. "We have gone on the road
and come out on top. I am proud of
how our guys have been playing."
The coach's pride, however, is not
factored into the BCS. Nor is it likely
factored by the critics, who question a
No. 2 team that has struggled offensive-
ly against vastly inferior Big Ten oppo-
nents.
What is factored in is a team's "quali-
ty wins," of which the Buckeyes have
one: Washington State. Ohio State is so
close to Miami right now (the two
teams are separated by .01 points)
because of its 25-7 trouncing of the
Cougars during the nonconference
schedule. Washington State is currently
ranked third in the BCS, which earns
Ohio State a deduction of .8 from its
See BCS, Page 10

By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer

AP PHOTO
Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel is pressured by Illinois defender Joe Bevis. A
win against the Wolverines on Saturday will send the Buckeyes to the Fiesta Bowl.

There was little doubt in the mind
of Michigan basketball coach Tommy
Amaker that freshman swingman
Lester Abram would play an impor-
tant role for the Wolverines this year.
But with a bevy of players stocked
up at the shooting guard and small
forward positions,
it was unclear how BASKETBALL
soon Abram would
earn significant Notebook
minutes.
Following his performances in
Michigan's two exhibition games, the
youngster has made it difficult to
keep him out of the lineup.
In the first start of his career,
Abram poured in 15 points in 32 min-
utes - the most on the team - last
Friday in Michigan's 81-77 victory
over Nike Elite. That came on the
heels of an impressive 13-point,
seven-rebound showing in the
Wolverines' first exhibition win
against Wayne State on Nov. 1.
"I think he's shown to be a pretty
effective player this far for a young
kid," Amaker said. "I don't talk about
him and that's a good thing I can
count on. That's a very comforting
thing to say, but it's a little unnerving
because he's a freshman and freshmen
will be up and down.
"But he's been fairly consistent."
That ever-growing consistency
looks like it will make it increasingly
difficult for sophomore Dommanic
Ingerson and senior tri-captain Gavin
Groninger to find minutes at the
shooting guard spot.
Ingerson has played just five min-
utes in the Wolverines' two contests,
while Groninger played 14 minutes
against Wayne State but dropped to
12 against Nike Elite.
"It was (just how we played it for)
our exhibition," Amaker said. "We
have competition and have depth and
I like that. What we're trying to find
are the guys that complement our key
guys - that's what we're doing, we're
looking at complements.

"It's a long horse race. Just because
(getting a lot of minutes) may not
happen today or tomorrow, whc
knows who's going to be injured of
sick or in foul trouble. You have to be
sure when opportunity knocks for you
that you're ready."
Despite the number of minutes
Amaker has played Abram so far -
and how impressed he claims he has
been with the freshman's play - the
Michigan coach insists that just
because Abram might see the court a
lot doesn't necessarily mean that
Groninger and Ingerson will be rele-
gated to the bench.
"In football, you'll have a depth
chart at positions, but for us, we
don't coach that way," Amaker said.
"We have a style and a system where
different guys can play together in
combinations depending on oui
opponents.
"We have post guys and perimetei
guys and we mix and match accord-
ingly."
HOPING TO HEAL: The Wolverines are
crossing their collective fingers in
hopes that the warm Virgin Islands
climate will help heal the team's
wounds when Michigan heads down
there for the season-opening Paradise
Jam this weekend.
Graham.Brown,,who played just six
minutes against Nike Elite, continued
to be bothered by a lower back injury.
But had the injuries stopped there.
Amaker might consider himself lucky.
Instead, Brown was joined on the
list of the Wolverines' walking
wounded by center Chris Hunter and
forwards LaVell Blanchard and
Bernard Robinson.
Amaker said that Hunter had been
sick on Monday and that his status foi
practice this week was up in the air.
Blanchard, meanwhile, continues tc
struggle with his ankle problems.
while Robinson's foot was bothering
him and Abram was dealing with an
unspecified injury.
"I'm going to try and find out
who's available and then we'll gc
accordingly," Amaker said. "We're a
little banged up."

* Grapplers say goodbye to classic Lehigh arena

By Eric Chan to go down there and I think this is really going to be a
Daily Sports Writer great dual meet."
Next year, the renovated Grace Hall will include
This season, one of the biggest tests for the skybox seating along and a new press box.
Michigan wrestling team just happens Before the classic structure becomes
to be its first. Friday, No. 7 Michigan part of wrestling history, it will play host to
will travel to Bethlehem, Pa. to wrestle BETHLEHEM, PA. one of the nation's most anticipated match-
No. 9 Lehigh. The Wolverines will Who: No. 7 Michigan (0-0) es of the season at 197 pounds.
wrestle in what happens to be the last vs. No. 9 Lehigh (0-0) Jon Trenge, who is currently ranked at
match in the original Grace Hall - When: 7 p.m. the top of his weight class by every col-
one of the most legendary venues in latest: Grace Hall, home lege-wrestling poll, will square off against
college wrestling. Grace Hall (capaci- to many of wrestling's Michigan's Kyle Smith. Trenge was in the
ty of 2,676) is known for its hostile classic moments, will host national final last year but lost to Iowa
crowd that comes right up to the mats the Wolverines' season State's Cael Sanderson, who compiled a
to cheer on its Mountain Hawks. opener on its final night record of 159-0 in his four-year career.
"There have been some classic dual bore renovation. Smith (ranked No. 5 by Wrestling Interna-

Sunday, Smith did not appear to be the same
wrestler who took seventh at the 2002 NCAA
Championships. Toward the end of each bout with
Verdoorn, Smith seemed tired and passive.
"I hope he's got the bugs worked out," McFar-
land said.
Lehigh also features some of the best young talent in
the country, including Troy Letters at 165 pounds and
Travis Frick at 184. Senior Pat Owen, who was denied
his spot at 157-pounds last year by All-American Ryan
Bertin, slid back into the Michigan lineup at 165-
pounds and hopes to start his season off on the right
foot against Letters. Frick will square off against
Michigan redshirt freshman Willie Breyer, who will
make his varsity debut against the Mountain Hawks.
"I just hope our younger guys wrestle the way I
know they can, and I hope nothing else, like being
nervous, gets in the way," McFarland said. "I just
want our guys to go out there, go after them, and
wrestle our aggressive style."

meets in Grace Hall," Michigan coach Joe McFarland
said. "The match is completely sold out. There are
some big wrestling fans in Eastern Pennsylvania, and
it's going to be loud in there. I think our team is excited

tional Newsmagazine) and Trenge are two of the most
explosive wrestlers in the country.
Against fellow Michigan wrestler Chase Ver-
doorn at the Maize and Blue Intrasquad this past

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