December 3, 2002
'M' must win to avoid
setting all-time record
By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer
Every college basketball team
hopes for the opportunity to set new
benchmarks and rewrite the record
books of its program. The Michigan
men's basketball team is on the cusp
of doing just that.
After losing all three games in the
Paradise Jam and falling to Western
Michigan in Saturday's home open-
er, the Wolverines tied a 69-year-old
Michigan record for worse start to a
season. With a loss to Central
Michigan in Crisler Arena tonight,
Michigan will set a new mark of
ineptitude. Central Michigan has
won just one game in the all-time
series against the Wolverines, and
that was more than half a century
ago, coming Dec.1 1951.
"Our offense is not right," Michi-
gan coach Tommy Amaker said of
his team's 52-point performance.
"We have to re-evaluate a lot of
things, whether that means person-
nel or what we're doing on the floor.
Obviously, being 0-4 is not getting
the job done."
Luckily for the Wolverines, Cen-
tral Michigan is reeling after suffer-
ing a 36-point loss over the weekend
at the hands of DePaul - the
Chippewas' first loss of the year.
Junior center Chris Kaman leads
Central Michigan with 15.7 points,
8.7 rebounds and two blocks per
game. But the 7-footer is also coming
off his worse performance of the sea-
Who: Michigan (0-4) vs. Central Michigan (2-1)
When: 7:05 p.m.
Latest: With a loss, the Michigan basketball
team would set a new record for the worst start
in school history. One Mid-American Conference
team has already beaten Michigan this year.
son; he was held to just six points
while suffering from early foul trou-
ble against the Blue Demons.
Kaman has replaced David Web-
ber, brother of former Michigan
standout Chris Webber, as Central
Michigan's leading scorer.
Michigan will turn to freshmen
Chris Hunter and Graham Brown,
who have split time at center, to stop
Kaman from controlling the paint.
In the the Wolverines' 65-53 loss
to Virginia Tech in the Paradise, Jam,
the Hokies' 292-pound big man
Terry Taylor dominated the second
half, scoring 19 points in the final
20 minutes of play.
"I think we need to improve (our
interior defense)," Amaker said after
Saturday's loss. "I think when you
look at some breakdowns we had,
you can see that a lot of the key
areas came as a result of youth and
inexperience with Graham Brown
and Chris Hunter and the fouls. I'm
looking at inexperience and situa-
tions where we have to improve."
The two freshmen have combined
to average 10.8 points per game,
with Hunter, the starter, averaging
5.3. The first-year players have suc-
Fantasy football is the
true measure of men
For some, football fantasy
leagues are a way to keep up
with the game. For others, they
are a way to keep in touch with
friends. For me, they are a way to
keep my bank account full of cash.
Last week, Bovine University
wrapped up its second consecutive
college fantasy football title. It was no
small feat in a league filled with self-
proclaimed college football gurus,
where pride is often more important
that the money exchanged.
Playing college fantasy football takes
a different breed. There is no website to
help you keep track of statistics and
points - all the work must be done by
hand by scouring websites and boxs-
cores. Your best resource is often local
newspapers, but even then, due to the
way college coaches handle injuries, it is
difficult to know whether or not a player
will see game time. In addition, there are
several nuances to the college game dif-
ferent than the professionals.
The scoring system is similar to NFL
fantasy, with teams getting six points for
a touchdown rushing or receiving, four
points for a touchdown passing, etc. A
nice twist is that double points are given
for touchdowns of more than 50 yards.
But my favorite aspect of this
Michigan freshman Chris Hunter will be hard pressed by Chris Kaman, Central
Michigan's leading scorer and rebounder.
cessfully avoided foul trouble, with first four games of the season.
just 17 personal fouls between the One of the few bright spots for
two through four games this season. Michigan has been its rebounding
As a team, Michigan still has a effort. With two veteran forwards in
lot of room for improvement. The LeVell Blanchard and Bernard
Wolverines have shot a dismal 35.5 Robinson, the Wolverines are outre-
percent from the floor while com- bounding opponents on the offen-
mitting 64 turnovers through the sive glass 63-49.
a w V " ! P
league is that it is a keeper league -
you keep the players beyond the sea-
son. If you have never played in a
keeper league, well, you are just let-
ting the best in life pass you by.
I created my team based on a few
simple principles. First, never select a
player that you have any kind of attach-
ment to other than he is simply your fan-
tasy player. This means you shouldn't be
blinded by the fact that you went to the
spring game of your favorite team and
its starting running back looked really
sharp. Similarly, don't select a player
that you are morally opposed to playing.
In the championship game, my oppo-
nent couldn't bring himself to play Mau-
rice Clarett against Michigan and
suffered as a result.
Second, whenever possible, select
players from teams that run up the score
(i.e. Kansas State and any Pac-10 team).
Third, never pick a player that is
dubbed a "spiritual leader" of the team.
This is the kiss of death. For example,
you don't want to be stuck with Okla-
homa's Nate Hybl. Behind these few
beliefs my starting lineup consisted of
the following players: Arizona State's
Andrew Walter at quarterback (a nifty
choice for replacing an injured Jason
White); Kansas State's Darren Sproles
and Southern Mississippi's Derrick Nix
at running back and Washington's Reg-
gie Williams and Stanford's Teyo John-
son at the wide receiver slots.
I knew repeating was going to be
tricky and I was getting no respect
from the other league owners. But just
like the season before, no expectations
is what I thrive on - in life and in col-
lege fantasy football.
In the regular season, I jumped out to
a 6-2 record, but had troubling losses
against two rivals of mine, one of which
included a foolish $50 side bet (more
than twice the entry fee). Then in the
seasonl final two games, I backed rmy
way into the playoffs with a loss and tie
against arguably bigger rivals.
Luckily for me, all that matters is the
postseason, in which Bovine thrived. I
demolished my first round opponent
then avenged a previous loss in the sec-
ond round to earn a championship berth.
But in checking schedules for the
championship game, much to my cha-
grin, the suspension of Michigan State's
Jeff Smoker (foiled again by Sparty) left
me with a gaping hole at quarterback for
the title game. My only chance to win
was if I faced my friend C-Dog in the
title game, who was in the same predica-
ment due to a bye week for Florida and
Rex Grossman - and as luck would
have it, that is exactly who I faced.
Of course, I then cruised in the title
game to get my second ring.
The early buzz I've created around
the league for next season is a Bovine
University dynasty, which I'm not quite
ready to embrace.
Oh, who I am kidding? Is there a
more dominant mind in college fantasy
Jeff Phillips can be reached at
223 North Main Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan
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