The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 1, 2004 - 5B
Talkin' the talk
"We don't want to leave it up to the NCAA
committee. We want to leave it up to
ourselves and win as much as possible."
- Michigan forward Bemard Robinson commenting on the
team's NCAA Toumament chances.
Ohio State 64
Players of the game
His performance won't move him to
the top of the Big Ten's field goal per-
centage charts, but his 7-for-18 effort
was good for a game-high 22 points.
The freshman's game continues to
develop. Petway finished with 12
points - with no dunks - and
eight rebounds (seven offensive).
Road to NCAAs getting bumpy
Ohio State (64)
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200 245511813-281519 64
FG%:.436. FT%: .611. 3-point FG: 5-18,
.278 (Stockman 4-13, Sullinger 1-3,Billings
0-1, Fuss-Cheatham 0-1). Blocks: 4 (Dials 2,
Radinovic 2). Steals: 9 (Stockman 4, Dials 3,
Fuss-Cheatham, Radinovic). Turnovers: 15
(Fuss-Cheatham 5, Stockman 4, Billings 2,
Billings, Dials, Sullinger, Team). Technical
Crucial victory over Buckeyes
keeps Michigan bubble-iciou
Goin' to Work
Michigan could have thrown in the
towel. After a nauseating come-
from-ahead loss to Michigan State
on Tuesday, the Wolverines had every oppor-
tunity for a massive, season-ending letdown.
With road trips to Indiana and Northwest-
ern looming, they still might.
But not yet.
And because of yesterday's 75-64 win
over Ohio State, Michigan's NCAA Tourna-
ment bubble is still afloat.
"For us-to have any chance to keep mov-
ing forward with our program, (this was) a
critical moment," Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker said. "I thought our kids really
answered the bell."
Yesterday's victory, though, was far from
the stuff of champions.
It was sloppier than the Wolverines would
have liked, thanks to 16 turnovers and a few
defensive lapses. It was a little uglier. A little
It was also exactly what Michigan needed
to restore a little bit of confidence.
"Our next two games are road games, and
we just had to get this win," forward Gra-
ham Brown said. "We were coming off the
big loss against Michigan State, so getting
this big win over Ohio State gets our confi-
dence up for those road games."
So after all of the ups and downs of this
season - losses to the likes of Boston Uni-
versity and Minnesota and wins over N.C.
State and Wisconsin - Michigan's season
comes down to two road games and the Big
And the Wolverines have one more chance
to make this season everything it looked like
it could be back in November.
"We don't want to leave it up to the
NCAA committee. We want to leave it up to
ourselves and win as much as possible," sen-
ior Bernard Robinson said. "If we can win a
couple of more games and a couple in the
Big Ten Tournament or hopefully, the whole
thing, we'll be happy with any decision
"We'll know we did as much as we could."
To do that, the Wolverines are going to
need to steal two games outside of Crisler
Arena in a year where a road win has been
harder to get than a suntan in Ann Arbor.
What the Wolverines have going for them
is that, on paper, they are deeper and more
talented than either Indiana or Northwestern.
What they don't have, though, is any more
room for error.
Be it home or away, Michigan has consis-
tently proven itself to be one of the best
first-half teams in the Big Ten.
But en route to a 1-5 conference road
Continued from Page 1B
Michigan was shooting just 68 percent
before yesterday's game.
"I thought that became somewhat of a
contagious thing for us and a good one,"
mark, the Wolverines have too often faltered
in the second half.
It happened at both Wisconsin and Illi-
nois. It reached a pinnacle in a second-half
collapse at Minnesota, and occurred yet
again at Iowa.
And if it happens at Indiana or North-
western, the Wolverines will have to kiss
their NCAA Tournament at-large bid hopes
"We've talked about how (we need) to be
tougher on the road, and we're going to find
out," Amaker said. "We're going to have
confidence - we should, having played four
games and won three here.
"It's going to be difficult. Any time you
go on the road in this league, it isn't easy.
We'll be feeling good about ourselves, we'll
be confident and we'll certainly find out
It is a little bizarre to think that, after 25
regular season games, it's still unclearwhat
to expect from Michigan.
This team is extremely capable of storm-
ing out of Indiana and Northwestern with
The Wolverines, without a doubt, could go
to Indianapolis and walk off with the Big
Ten Tournament crown. They've shown they
can play with any team in this conference.
They're deep and give opponents fits with
But Michigan could also flop away from
home - again - and lose its last two, go
home early in Indianapolis and be headed
back to Crisler to host an NIT game follow-
ing a regular season in which it failed to
reach its goals.
"We definitely have to come out and play
the way we've been playing the last couple
of games," Robinson said. "We need to run,
rebound, get out on the break and defend
And, let's not forget ...
"We've got to get the wins," Brown said.
You're not going to fool anyone into
thinking that this has been a spectacular sea-
son for the Wolverines.
They've had chances to put themselves
over the top in the race for the NCAA Tour-
nament and haven't capitalized.
On the other hand, they've had times
where they could've folded and been erased
from tournament contention.
Just like yesterday.
When they've needed to win, when
there's been absolutely no alternative to
winning, Michigan has succeeded more
often than not this year.
So now, the Wolverines have to respond to
their biggest challenge of the year.
It's tournament time already for Michigan.
Win and keep the dream alive. Lose and,
The bubble keeps floating.
The question is: For how long?
Chris Burke can be reached at
"We're trying to see if we can keep the
ball from entering into the post so easily,"
Amaker said. "We didn't do that very well. I
thought their game plan was outstanding
and they obviously put a lot of pressure on
Michigan will look to fight past those
problems when it goes on the road this week
Totals 200 26-5317-1913-361318 75
FG%: .491. FT%: .895. 3-point FG: .375, 6-16
(Abram 4-5, Harris 2-4, Dill 0-1, Horton 0-3,
Robinson 0-3). Blocks: 5 (Petway 3, Brown,
Hunter). Steals: 10 (Brown 3, Horton 2,
Robinson 2, Abram, Harris, Sims). Turnovers:
16 (Abram 5, Harris 3, Horton 3, Brown 2,
Robinson 2, Sims). Technical fouls: none.
33 - 64
35 - 75
At: Crisler Arena
BIG TEN STANDINGS
,.:. t ; tRYAN WEINER/Dally
Bernard Robinson hugs coach Tommy Amaker at the end of Michigan's Senior Day victory.
Seni ors end losing streak
Offense lights it up thanks to Brown's post presence
W L W L
12 3 17 9
11 3 20 5
10 4 19 6
8 6 15 I0;
7 7 16 9
7 7 12 13
7 7 17 10
6 8 12 13
5 9 13 14
3 11 9 16
2 13 10 17
By Daniel Bremmer
Daily Sports Editor
Bernard Robinson and Colin Dill had seen it
slip away before.
In their three previous years playing basketball,
Michigan's seniors had yet to snag a victory on
This year, it was different.
Robinson was his usual self,
doing it all for Michigan, and
Dill made his first career start in
the Wolverines' 75-64 win over
"If I had one word, I'd call it
OUT OF. THE ZONE: Ohio State played zone
defense for a five-minute stretch in the first half,
and Michigan struggled to get good looks at the
After a string of misses, Amaker brought Brown
back in off the bench, and the sophomore made a
On his first possession back in the game, Brown
caught a pass from Bernard Robinson under the
basket, and converted on a layup from the left
On Michigan's next offensive possession, Brown
again took a pass from Robinson, felt pressure
coming and dished the ball to Petway on the oppo-
site block for a layup with 10:35 left to play in the
first half that knotted. the game at 17. The Wolver-
ines would never trail the Buckeyes after that point.
"Against all zones, you've got to get the ball
down to the baseline to flatten out the defense,"
Brown said. "Then you get it to the middle to
break down the defense, and that worked well for
Not liking what he had seen over those two
possessions, O'Brien decided to go back to a
man-to-man defense on his team's next trip down
MICHIGAN 75, Ohio State 64
WIScoNSIN 82, Purdue 46
Wisconsin at Michigan State, 7 p.m.
Michigan at Indiana, 6 p.m.
Illinois at Purdue, 7 p.m.
Penn State at Ohio State, 8 p.m.
Iowa at Northwestern, 8 p.m.
fun. It's definitely been a fun time," Robinson said.
"You learn a lot here. We've been through almost
everything you can be possibly be through in bas-
ketball. I've enjoyed every minute of it."
In his 30 minutes of action, Robinson accumulat-
ed 13 points, five assists and four boards. He also
added two steals, giving him 54 on the season, and
making him second in the category in the Big Ten.
At times, Robinson seemed to be moving at full
speed while everyone else was moving in slow
motion. With just over three minutes to play in the
first half, Robinson stole a pass from just behind
the mid-court line and took the hall the other way.
Robinson turned on the jets to breeze by three
Ohio State defenders on his way to the basket, and
he converted a layup.
Dill played three minutes in the game and
attempted one shot, a long-range 3-pointer, which
he missed. With Michigan comfortably ahead in
the game's final minutes, the Maize Rage chanted
"We want Dill" until Amaker inserted the senior
back into the game.
"The last game is great, something you have
been thinking about since your freshman year,"
Dill said. "Being able to come out here for your
last home game and win is great."
SHOOTING STREAK: In a season marred by incon-
sistent shooting, Michigan seems to have found its
stroke as of late. The Wolverines shot 49 percent
for the game yesterday, and held the Buckeyes to
"Our guys have been taking smarter shots and
not seeking out their shots," Michigan forward
Graham Brown said. "(They have been) just letting
the shots come to them."
The shooting margin spelled disaster for Ohio
Indiana celebrates its win over Michigan.
The Wolverines will have
revenge on their minds when
they head into Bloomington on
Wednesday. Indiana stole a 59-
57 victory at Crisier Arena on
Jan. 11, That win was just one
of five straight the Hoosiers ran
off to start the Big Ten season.
Since then, though, Indiana has
fallen faster than XFL ratings.
The Hoosiers will enter the game
having lost four straight and
seven of their last eight. Having
not played a game since a loss
at Northwestern last Wednes-
day. they have had a week to