The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2005 - 3E
BASKETBALL: BOWING OUT EARLY
lose in first
By Josh Holman
MARCH 11, 2005
Daily Staff Writer
CHICAGO - It was a completely different
setting - postseason play in the United Center,
their backs up against the wall in a win-or-go-
But the drama played out in familiar fashion. It
was a game in which the Wolverines gave it their best
shot only to realize that, during this tumultuous sea-
son, their best was never enough.
The Northwestern Wildcats (15-15) hit the brakes
on Michigan's roller-coaster season in a 58-56 victory
at the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament. It
was the third straight loss for Michigan (13-18) and
its 13th in the last 14 games.
"We're obviously disappointed that we weren't able
to pull games out," Michigan coach Tommy Amaker
said. "It's still what it is. It's a loss on our record and
a loss for our team."
The Wolverines had plenty of chances to pull out
the win and even controlled the beginning of the
game. But a series of mistakes proved too difficult for
them to overcome.
Michigan dug itself out of a 10-point hole to
close the gap to two with 1:08 remaining in the
game. After a defensive stop, the Wolverines had
35 seconds to set up a game-tying shot. Fresh-
man Ron Coleman - who went 0-for-7 from the
field - found himself open from behind the 3-
point line and fired up a miss with 23.9 seconds
still left on the clock.
Northwestern guard T. J. Parker gave the Wolver-
ines another chance to tie the game after he missed
the front end of a one-and-one free-throw situation.
But sophomore Dion Harris could not convert for
Michigan, missing the first of his two free throws on
the Wolverines' ensuing possession.
"I was really confident when I came up to the free
throw line," Harris said. "I thought that first one was
good but it came up short."
Trailing 55-54 with 9.9 seconds left in the game,
Michigan found another way to kill its chances of
catching the Wildcats. On the inbounds play after
Harris's second free throw, Parker snuck behind
Michigan's defenders, received the pass around mid-
court and streaked toward the basket. Senior Dani
Wohl was trailing Parker and attempted to foul him
on the layup, sending Parker to the ground. Wohl
was immediately called for an intentional foul.
"I was just trying to slap his arm and make sure
he didn't make the shot," Wohl said. "Obviously I
wasn't trying to hurt the kid. I didn't want him to
make the shot."
Parker converted one of his two free throws to
boost Northwestern's lead to two points. He then hit
Mattu Fast, Mattu Furious
n March 14, 2004I knew what was
coming. The Michigan basketball
team wasn't going getting invited to
the NCAA Tournament, and would have to
settle for the NIT.
I thought the NIT be a waste of our time.
Luckily, I've never been so wrong.
Michigan won the whole thing, and in the
process put a positive spin on the entire season.
Sure, the Wolverines got some breaks,
but give the team credit. They bounced back
from the disappointment, won three home
games and then went to New York City and
won two more games.
And give us, the fans, some credit.
There weren't many of us at that first-round
game, but the Maize Rage and company were
loud. Afterwards, when it was announced
that tickets for the next game would be on
sale 30 minutes later, I raced through the
snow on Elbel Field (thankfully I lived just
five minutes away), went to mgoblue.com and
clicked refresh over and over until tickets were
available. I did the same thing after the second
game, too, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't alone.
For those last two games, we pretty much
The point is, Michigan basketball is BACK,
and this needs to be celebrated. I'm worried
that in the six-plus months since, we've all
forgotten how caught up we were in this team
(let me say this again: we were actually run-
ning home from Crisler to buy tickets so we
could go back there two days later).
The bottom line is, last season ended BIG,
and this season needs to begin BIG. We can't
have a letdown. To accomplish that, I think
I've got the perfect idea.
Sadly, many Wolverine fans don't even
know what this is. There's a date where college
basketball teams can officially begin practice.
At Kansas, Maryland and many other schools
(including Michigan State) the first practice is
held at midnight in an arena packed with fans.
Kentucky televises it across the entire state.
During my three years at Michigan, the
basketball program has come a long way.
The aftermath of the Fab Five is long for-
gotten. And most importantly, thanks to
coach Tommy Amaker and his Duke ties,
the students matter.
We got courtside bleacher seats, which are
now free (I bought season tickets - could you
hook me up with some courtside seats?).
Heck, Amaker even acknowledges the
student section before every game, which
is something Lloyd Carr and Red Berenson
can't say they do.
So Midnight Madness is just the next step.
Another great reason to have this is to get
the women's basketball team in the spotlight.
Last year coach Cheryl Burnett was look-
ing for all the fan support she could get.
Well, there wouldn't be a better opportunity
than this. She's got a young team that may
struggle at first, but soon it'll be good. They
deserve the exposure, sharing Crisler Arena
would give it to them.
Wouldn't it be fun to see them have a 3-
point contest or mix the teams up and scrim-
mage for a little while?
I believe this can happen, but everyone tells
me that two weeks and two days is too soon.
I don't have the patience to wait one year, two
weeks and two days, so let's give it a shot now.
The collaboration that goes into every
basketball game by the Maize Rage - from
the weekly meetings to flyers sasy who's been
arrested and who nearly bombed his SATs -
is amazing. Even against a horrible team like
Penn State, the fans show up. For that game
someone made a 10-foot poster of the Nittany
Lions' seven-foot, 200-pound twig, Jan Jagla.
So for the next two weeks, Maize
Ragers, let's direct our time and energy
towards this project.
Trust me, the athletic department won't
make this happen.
I really believe Amaker and Burnett would
want this. But at the same time, Michigan is
always about tradition. It's why we may never
see a Michigan football night game, and it's
why this hasn't happened already (because it
So it's on us. The question is, how bad do
we want it?
I still haven't found a reason not to have
it, and trust me, I'm looking. I'm not asking
them to dunk off trampolines, so they aren't
any more likely to get injured. And Coach
K at Duke does something along these lines
every couple years (he apparently doesn't like
the term "Midnight Madness"), so Coach A
doesn't have that excuse.
I've also been told that Michigan will
hold the Maize and Blue Scrimmage on
Oct. 30, 2004 following the football team's
slaughtering of Michigan State.
But that's exactly my point. It's time for the
basketball team to stop piggy-backing off the
football team. It deserves its own day.
The hoops squad deserves all the support
the fans are willing to give it, and thefans-_
deserve this stage to support the team.
Sharad Mattu can be reached at
Sophomore Brent Petway picked up eight rebounds in Michigan's loss to Northwestern in the first round of
the Big Ten Tournament.
two more free throws to ice the game.
Parker finished with 15 points, 11 of which came
in the second half, helping the Wildcats overcome a
six-point halftime deficit.
"We just fell short," junior tricaptain Graham
Brown said. "You got to give (Northwestern) credit.
They got a 10-point lead on us, we fought hard and
got back and did whatever we could to get a victory
here, but they capitalized on it."
The major swing came midway through the sec-
ond half. A layup by Parker spurred a 12-0 run by
Northwestern in just under three minutes, putting
the Wolverines on their heels.
"You can't give up a run like that," sophomore
Brent Petway said. We were in the lead, we had con-
trol of the game and the next thing you know, they
go on a 12-0 run like that. It's disheartening."
Michigan turned the ball over on three consecu-
tive possessions during that stretch, due in part to
Northwestern coach Bill Carmody's decision to
press the Wolverines' ballhandlers. Michigan had
19 turnovers in the losing effort.
"We had a lot of turnovers," Brown said. "I had
quite a few myself. That's really hurtful to our team.
We can't have those turnovers and expect to win."
The Wolverines did manage a small comeback in
the final minutes of the game. Sophomore Courtney
Sims scored a career-high 25 points after posting
a goose egg in Saturday's loss to Iowa. The center
scored 12 points in the final 12 minutes, anchoring
. "I knew I had to come out and bring a lot of ener-
gy to our team," Sims said. "I don't think I did that
last game and that's what the problem was."
The loss pushed Michigan's Big Ten Tournament
record to 3-7. Its 18 losses are also the most since the
2001-02 season, Amaker's first at Michigan.
"For me, personally, sometimes you need to take
a step away and let things sink in and enjoy things
and then you try and map out a new plan," Amaker
said. "You try to figure out things of where we want
to go and how we're going to get there. I like the
nucleus of the kids we have and I like the kids that
we have coming in."
Blue falls to Iowa in tourament
By Matt Venogoni
Daily Staff Writer
INDIANAPOLIS - If the Michigan
women's basketball team were a televi-
sion series, it would have been cancelled
long ago. The plot never changed and
every game for the Wolverines this sea-
son seemed. to go the same way. Michi-
gan would compete for a good portion
of the contest, but then they would fall
behind by too much. But it's 70-42 Big
Ten Tournament loss to Iowa on March 3,
Michigan lost, but with a different script.
In the previous game between the two
teams, just 10 days earlier, Michigan
stayed with Iowa for 34 minutes, but Iowa
prevailed 78-59. Although the Wolverines
were within 10 points of Iowa for most of
last Thursday's game, Michigan (1-15 Big
Ten, 5-23 overall) never made an offen-
sive run. The Hawkeyes controlled the
tempo and kept the Wolverines at bay.
Two free throws by freshman Ta'Shia
Walker cut Iowa's lead to nine points with
under 15 minutes left in the second half,
and that was as close as Michigan came.
Iowa junior guard Crystal Smith was
the main reason Michigan never threat-
ened the Hawkeyes (8-7, 20-8). After
Wolverine senior BreAnne McPhilamy
hit ajumper from the elbow, Smith scored
15 of Iowa's next 20 points. She started by
hitting back-to-back 3-pointers. A Becky
Flippin 3-pointer temporarily stopped
the 11-0 Hawkeye run, but Smith quickly
reeled off nine straight points.
"Crystal was very good attacking the
basket tonight and taking the open three,"
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said. "I like to see
the ball in Crystal's hands. We called a
play to get her an open three, and I think
that really kind of ignited her."
Even Michigan's defensive specialist,
sophomore forward Kelly Helvey, could
not stop the fleet-footed Smith. Helvey
and freshman forward Janelle Cooper
matched up with Smith for most of the
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Heavily guarded, senior Tabitha Pool scored nine points in Michigan's loss to Iowa.
15 points. Pool tried to drive to the basket
early on, but Iowa plugged up the lane for
much of the game. With the lanes clogged,
McPhilamy took what she could, nailing
jumpers from the elbows for most of the
game in netting a career-high 12 points.
"My teammates did a great job of get-
ting me the ball and I was just able to hit
the shots," McPhilamy said.
Pool had success early in the game,
making her first two jumpers, but the
Hawkeyes keyed on her for the rest of
the game. Each time she touched the
ball, an Iowa defender swarmed her.
Pool has been used to that kind of
treatment this year, but this time her
teammates could not pick up the slack.
Iowa's defense limited Pool to nine
points on 4-for-16 shooting. With Pool
struggling to score, Michigan's offense
fell apart. The Wolverines shot just 32
percent from the field, including a dis-
mal 3-for-23 from 3-point range.