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December 02, 2003 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-12-02

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rRTiSligan Bag
SPOT

michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily. com

7

Wo ack play
3-point game,
lie Bldg
1 ' L O S
By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Editor
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker barely had
time to catch his breath after the Wolverines'
d~a a~ i , 6 1 n atm ,r ,:rR io ,.,

Will I ever get to see tri-
major-sport success?

uramatlct Vi -u overtiI
Sunday.
That's because the
Wolverines had less than
48 hours to prepare for a
visit from North Carolina
State tonight.
The Wolfpack, who
earned a trip to the
NCAA Tournament last
year and sat at No. 25
in the country last

Ie win over Butler on
North ' ;::na:St at
Cr.. k Arena
ESPN2

week, will battle with Amaker's bunch during
the fifth Big Ten-ACC Challenge. N.C. State
fell out of the rankings this week, despite large
wins over Howard and Florida A&M. (Previous-
ly unranked Purdue and Georgia Tech jumped
into the top-25, knocking down everyone below
them).
"We just commented to our players that we have
one day now to get rested and get prepared,"
Amaker said Sunday night. "We're looking forward
to that. I think our kids are excited and they'd prob-
ably do that rather than practice."
Perhaps benefiting the Wolverines' cause is the
fact that N.C. State's style of play will be similar to
Butler's game plan.
Like the Bulldogs, the Wolfpack will be faced
with serious height issues in the low post against
Michigan. While the Wolverines (3-0) use 6-foot-9
Graham Brown, 6-foot-10 Courtney Sims and 6-
foot-l1 Chris Hunter in their rotation, N.C. State
regularly uses no one taller than 6-foot-8. That's
because last year's starting center, Josh Powell,
turned pro, and his expected heir, Jordan Collins, is
academically ineligible.
SINE MM7F RAGFR'S WORDS
cThis is an extremely important game for our
team, coming off of a tough road game just
two nights ago. As a student body, we need
to show our support as the team is in the
critical part of the nonconference schedule l
want the Maize Rage to be at its best
tonight, to show a national audience the
strength of our basketball team and its stu-
dent support."
- Peter Lund
SuperFan IV
the michigan daily

NAWEED SIKORA
Blowin' smoke
s I watched the Michigan men's
basketball team pull out a one-
oint victory over Butler last
night in Indianapolis - agame this
team would never have won a year or
two ago - something dawned on me. It
was a thought that I haven't had once
since I stepped on this campus.
For the first time in four years, I
realized that this school has the oppor-
tunity for tri-major-sport success in a
single year. As someone who pays
close to attention to Michigan foot-
ball, basketball and hockey, major-
sport success is very important to me
- and it has also been a major com-
ponent of my frustration during my
time here.
I define major-sport success over my
four-year Michigan career as an outright
Big Ten championship for football, an
NCAA championship for hockey and a
trip to the NCAA Tournament for bas-
ketball. Although this criteria may seem
uneven, especially for hockey, you'll see
why that is in a minute.
It began during my freshman year,
when I witnessed the football team
give away a trip to the Rose Bowl and
settle for a co-Big Ten championship
by losing at Northwestern. For those of
you who remember the end of that
game, you know that when I say give
away, I mean give away.
Then came basketball season, which
I quickly realized could only provide a
few cheap thrills here and there, such
as a home win over Indiana and a win
at Iowa, but nothing lasting. So I
decided to invest myself in hockey, and
was ecstatic to see the Wolverines
advance to the NCAA Frozen Four -
a feat that I thought was rare for
Michigan at the time. The Wolverines,
though, could not bring home a title,
losing to Boston College in the semifi-
nal game. I didn't feel so bad after that
game, though. After all, the team had
made if pretty far my freshman year,
and its goal was to win it all the fol-
lowing season. Things could only get

better, right?
Freshman year: 0-for-3.
2001 was no different. The football
team had everyone's hopes up after a
miraculous win at Iowa, but the team
went on to lose to both Michigan State
and Ohio State to finish without a con-
ference title. Tommy Amaker came to
town, but the new head basketball
coach couldn't turn the team around in
one season. And hockey went through
its scripted up-and-down season, once
again losing in the semifinals of the
Frozen Four.
Sophomore year: 0-for-3.
No big deal. Two big years to go,
and things were looking up for each
sport, right?
Wrong. The basketball program was
hit with postseason sanctions, elimi-
nating the possibility of a tournament
berth before the season even began.
Football lost to the Buckeyes once
again and found itself in Central Flori-
da, and the hockey team completed a
hat trick of its own with its third con-
secutive loss in the Frozen Four semi-
final game.
Junior year: 0-for-3
Hard to believe three years went by
without any major sport success, but
there was one year left. At first, a post-
season ban for the basketball team
wasn't going to allow ti-sport success,
but when the ban was taken away, a
weight was lifted off the University.
So far, with a Rose Bowl, Michigan
is 1-for-1 in my senior year. Hockey
seems to be on the same track as usual,
with its early season woes, but I expect
the team to be in the Frozen Four, and
maybe, just maybe, the Wolverines can
get past that semifinal game for the
first time since 1998.
And then there's basketball. With the
way the team was given new life earli-
er this season when the ban was lifted,
it's hard to say it won't have success.
The team might not be happy with
just going to The Dance and losing,
but all I want is to hear that name
announced on Selection Sunday again.
Senior Year: 3-for-3?
This could be the year for three suc-
cessful major sports. And if hockey
and basketball don't pan out, at least
we've had one.
And one is better than none.

TONY INUIL~aiIy
Six-foot-9 Graham Brown and the Wolverines will again be significantly taller than their opponents tonight. On
Sunday, Butler didn't have a starter over 6-foot-6. North Carolina State doesn't use anyone bigger than 6-foot-8.

In lieu of a deep frontcourt, the Wolfpack tend
to feature a patient offense that runs around the
3-point arc, something Michigan saw against
Butler. National Player of the Year candidate
Julius Hodge, who is currently averaging 18
points, eight rebounds and five assists per game,
leads N.C. State's attack. In the first three games,
Hodge has been complemented well in the back-
court by senior Scooter Sherrill, who has posted
17 points per game.
Forwards Levi Watkins and Marcus Melvin - a
dangerous inside-out threat - are both also aver-
aging double digits in points per game thus far. The
Wolfpack lineup will be further boosted by the
debut of freshman Engin Atsur, who once netted 51
in a game in his native Turkey.
All in all, N.C. State should provide a stiff test
for a potentially drained Michigan team.
On the other side of the fence, though, the Wolf-
pack are equally concerned about trying to match
up with the athletic Wolverines.
"The one thing that really jumps out at you is
their size," N.C. State coach Herb Sendek said on

the school's official website. "They just have great
length ... they really are a physically gifted team.
We may have to play one guy on another guy's
shoulders to be able to look at them eye-to-eye.
It's really going to be a great challenge for our
team on the road."
The best matchup of the night may pit Hodge
against Michigan forward Bernard Robinson,
arguably the Wolverines' best defender and the
one usually responsible for the other team's offen-
sive star.
If Sunday night's game against Butler was any
indication, the Wolverines will likely also try to
utilize a 2-3 zone to limit the number of looks
N.C. State can get from 3-point land. The Wolf-
pack have averaged 26 3-point attempts in their
first three games against UNC-Asheville, Howard
and Florida A&M. They've connected on 30-of-78
shots from behind the arc this year, led by Sher-
rill's 11-for-18 clip.
Michigan and N.C. State have not met since
1950, with the Wolfpack holding a 2-1 lead in
the series.

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