December 5, 2003
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Michigan at Vanderbilt Tomorrow, 9 p.m. Memorial Gym Fox Sports Detroit (In progress)
Blue, Vandy try to avoid,
first blemish of season
By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Writer
There's a swagger to the Michigan
basketball team these days. Some
pep in the Wolverines' collective
They're 4-0 heading into a road
game with Vanderbilt tomorrow
night. They out-scrapped Butler on
the road. They beat North Carolina
State at home. Both of those were
tournament teams last season.
"We know that if we come outand
do the things that coach wants us to
do, we can play with anybody,"
guard Daniel Horton said.
This time last year, that wasn't the
case. Michigan went 0-4 in its first
four games in 2002. It went down to
the Paradise Jam in the Virgin
Islands in late November and took a
beating - losing three games by a
combined 44 points to teams that
never came within a Caribbean Sea
of the tournament.
Then Western Michigan came to
Crisler Arena and stole one from
Tommy Amaker's team.
My how things have changed.
"We're all on the same page,"
sophomore Lester Abram said of this
year's team. "We're playing
unselfish. We're playing good
Center Graham Brown said that
the difference this year is the early
start that the team got in October.
Because of a preseason trip to Toron-
to, the Wolverines got 10 extra prac-
tice sessions to tune up for the start
of the season. Brown said that the
added work has shown on the court
The team is deeper this year.
Amaker ran out six guys over 6-foot-
6 in the win over the Wolfpack. Hor-
ton now has some backup, with
freshman Dion Harris already donat-
ing dynamic minutes at the point.
There are four Wolverines averaging
double digits in scoring.
"Last year, we used to come in
here and dread practice," Horton
said. "Now guys are looking forward
to every day having a chance to just
get better because we know that we
can accomplish some big things this
Not that the Wolverines are play-
ing their best basketball yet. Amaker
admitted that the team hasn't shot
the ball as well as it should -
Michigan has knocked in a meager
30 percent of its 3-pointers. And it
still needs to improve its half-court
But the Wolverines are finding
ways to win.
"We're playing good defense,
team defense," Abram said. "Way
better team defense than last year."
Tomorrow's trip to Nashville will
be a stiff test. The Commodores are
4-0 and sport the preseason SEC
Player of the Year, Matt Freije.
Despite his 6-foot-10 frame, the sen-
ior has a lethal shooting stroke. He's
already hitting 44 percent of his 3-
pointers and 93 percent of his free
throws, en route to 21 points per
Memorial Gym, labeled by some
as the "Hoops House of Horrors," is
quirky and loud. The team benches
are set up on opposite ends of the
court along the baseline, rather than
along the sidelines. The floor level is
raised above the first row on the
"The basket is still, I'm sure, the
same height," said Amaker, sounding
like Gene Hackman with his 10-foot
tape measure at the end of "Hoosiers."
Michigan beat Vanderbilt last year
on the way out of its season-opening
skid. But no one is looking passed
the Commodores again.
"(When) we can get to a point
where we can say that we've done
something that nobody else has
done, then we'll be happy; then
we'll feel like we've accomplished
something," Horton said. "Now, we
still realize that we've got a long
way to go."
Michigan forward Jason Ryznar pushes Michigan State defenseman Joe Markusen.
vying for turnaround
By Brian Schick
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan forward J.C. Mathis lays up a shot against N.C. State.
Whenever Michigan and Michigan
State hit the ice, it's always a big game.
Usually one of the two schools is fight-
ing for the CCHA crown. But for the
first time in recent memory, both teams
are desperate to get back on the winning
track and not fade into mediocrity in the
middle of the conference standings.
At this point in the season, more
unites these teams than divides them.
Both the Wolverines (5-3 CCHA, 9-5
overall) and the Spartans (6-3-1, 8-7-1)
have three losses in the
past four games and have
fallen off the pace for TiS Ii
first place in the CCHA.n M<< hi:k
Both have struggled on Michig
special teams recently, ..
and it cost them wins this
past weekend. But more:
importantly, both coaches. Mu
are looking to this week-
end for a turnaround.
where we are (at this
point)," Michigan State coach Rick
Comley said. "We've played some poor
games, and we've played some good
games, but we've just been very incon-
Both schools have fallen on hard
times in recent weeks as they prepare
for a home-and-home series. For the
first time in the 11-year history of the
College Hockey Showcase, both Michi-
gan and Michigan State were swept -
at home, no less - by Wisconsin and
Much like its rival, Michigan State
struggled on special teams this past
weekend, and it cost it against Wisconsin
on Saturday, a 2-1 loss in overtime. Both
schools anticipated a win against the
Badgers, but came away with nothing.
"I thought we matched up well with
Wisconsin, and I thought, overall, we
played really well in that game," Com-
ley said. "It was a really tight game, and
we lost the game in overtime on a pow-
Michigan and Michigan State used to
be in the WCHA with Minnesota and
Wisconsin until the Great Lakes State-
schools opted to join the CCHA in
1981. As a result, the Showcase has
been a showdown of the two premier
teams in each conference - one of the
two schools was won either the CCHA
regular season or tournament title in 19
of a possible 22 chances. In addition,
the CCHA is just 3-11 against the
WCHA this season.
"It's been a frustrating year for the
league," Comley said. "There's been a
large number of noncon-
ference losses (by CCHA
EKE~ND teams). I think any time
the two leagues meet,
especially the top (teams),
it doesn't show very well
(when the CCHA loses)."
The recent losses can be
partially blamed on the
A .~ revolving door of injured
players in the Michigan
State lineup. Comley has
juggled his lines to com-
pensate for numerous players going
down with injuries, and he attributes his
team's offensive struggles to his players
finding themselves with new linemates
"It's been a tough year for us injury-
wise;" Comley said. "We've had a lot of
kids hurt and out of the lineup.
(Tonight), for the first time all season,
we have every player to choose from -
they're not all 100 percent, but I have the
option to play them. We've had a very
inconsistent lineup, which hurts you:'
What it always boils down to is that
both schools recognize the other has the
potential for playing like one of the best
teams in the country on any given night.
Both schools have a long tradition of
success, and it is one of the few college
hockey series that has increased in
media exposure recently, as Fox Sports
Detroit is carrying tonight's game.
"I think (the rivalry) is very impor-
tant (for college hockey)," Comley said.
Andrews' playing time puts smile on her face
By Megan Kolodgy
Daily Sports Writer
Crisler Arena was abuzz with jovial
chatter and smiling players, parents and
coaches after the
team's win over Char-
lotte. There was one
smile, however, that
was a bit brighter than
the others. Sophomore guard Lauren
Andrews mulled around the court after
the game with an ear-to-ear grin on her
face. She was proud of her team's win
over a tough opponent, but one could
not help but think she was giddy
because of the opportunity she had to
affect the outcome.
Andrews spent 14 minutes on the
court that evening, almost sextupling
her previous minutes-per-game average
of 2.86 minutes
"Since I got some more playing time
in the last game, I started working even
harder in practice," Andrews said.
"They just said to be ready whenever."
Andrews was indeed prepared for
action, and her vigor kept her in the
game. She had two assists and netted a
free throw to help Michigan score 72
"I felt good," Andrews said. "We won,
and that's what I was happy about. I just
played. I felt like I had nothing to lose."
SOMETHING WITH A MASK ...: Guard
Mie Burlin entered Wednesday's contest
only briefly, but there was a noticeable
difference in her appearance. Burlin typ-
ically sports a thick plastic facemask to
protect her nose, which she broke about
six weeks ago when an elbow connected
with her face in practice. Fortunately for
Burlin, her healing process has come to
a welcome end, and she is free to play
without the mask.
"It was so nice (playing without it),"
Burlin said. "It was so warm, and I
couldn't really see out of it. It was also
kind of hard to breathe."
The lack of face gear will allow the
guard to focus more on her opponents
rather than the extreme discomfort that
comes along with sweating beneath a
layer of plastic.
"(My nose) is a little sore, but it's
fine," she said.
HEAD OF THE CLASS: There was a
new coach on the sidelines of Michi-
gan's game against Charlotte. No, it
was not first-year coach Cheryl Bur-
nett, but rather Nesha Haniff,
professor of women's studies and
Afroamerican and African studies.
Captain Stephanie Gandy, one of
Haniff's students in her class on affir-
mative action and reparations, nomi-
nated the professor for the honorary.
coach position at the game. Haniff
was more than happy to oblige.
"It's very empowering to see all these
women playing so well," Haniff said.
Gandy's teacher was so enthusiastic
about being privileged enough to witness
one of her favorite sports from a coach's
perspective that she was ready to lace up
her tennis shoes and take the court.
"I would love to be able to play,"
Haniff said. "Unfortunately, I don't
think it's in my destiny."
Instead, she was content to sit on the
sidelines and admire the talent of the
players whom she referred to as "awe-
Perry named to
Senior tailback Chris Perry was
named to the American Football Coach-
es Association All-America team yes-
terday. He becomes the 42nd all-time
Wolverine named to the team and the
first since Marquise Walker in 2001.
Perry led the Big Ten and was fourth
in the nation in rushing, with 1,589
yards and 17 touchdowns.
M' takes early lead
in Directors' Cup
After the fall season, Michigan took
an early lead in the U.S. Sports Acade-
my Directors' Cup for the first time
since the fall of 2001.
Michigan's 226 points is 26 ahead
of second-place Stanford, who has
won the last two cups.
The three categories used in these
early rankings were field hockey and
both cross country teams. Michigan's
early lead is due to a tie for third in
field hockey, a fourth-place finish for
women's cross country and a ninth-
place for men's cross country.
Malone one of top
Michigan offensive coordinator
Terry Malone was one of five finalists
nominated for the Broyles Award,
given to the nation's top assistant
coach. Malone is the fourth Michigan
assistant coach to be nominated, and
defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann
won it in 1997.
- Staff reports
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