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March 06, 2006 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-03-06

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MEN'S SWIMMING:
Strong senior performance not enough
at Big Ten Championships.
PAGE 2B

THE SPORTSMONDAY COLUMN:
Daily staffers come together for
the first edition of 'Ramblings.'
PAGE 3B

WRESTLING:
Regular-season champs fall
short in bid for tourney title.
PAGE 6B

0 March 6, 2006

SPZRTSA

obt at(bigan Badu

a 9MICHIGAN 67

Ba

k

he

b

b

He

NCAA bid
in question
after Cagers
drop finale
By Jack Herman
Daily Sports Editor
Daniel Horton has finally had enough.
"I don't understand why people keep asking us - we're
in the Tournament," Horton said in the locker room after
Saturday's game. "If we don't make the Tournament, then
there's something wrong. If we don't make the tourna-
ment, then I don't know who else deserves to."
Well for one, there's Indiana.
The Hoosiers emerged with a precious 69-67 road
victory on Senior Day at Crisler Arena, claiming the
Wolverines as their victims for the 10th straight time.
Whereas the win might just be enough to catapult
Indiana (9-7 Big Ten, 17-10 overall) into the Big Dance,
it might just be enough to keep Michigan out. A Wol-
verine victory would have given them 19 wins overall
and, more importantly, a plus-.500 conference record.
Instead, Michigan and its even Big Ten ledger must win
at least one game in the conference tournament to guar-
antee its first bid since 1998.
Still, Hoosier coach Mike Davis agrees with Horton's
assessment of the postseason situation.
"If you go 8-8 in the best conference in the country,
you deserve to be in," Davis said.
The NCAA Tournament committee might not see
things that way considering what Michigan had to offer
on Saturday. Although the group surely wants Horton,
who turned in another great game for the Wolverines (34
points), it probably wishes the star senior could leave his
teammates behind.
Michigan set the perfect example...
Of what not to do when on the tournament bubble:
1.) Jump out to a 12-1 lead to start the game. Then let
the Hoosiers and their less-than-stellar offense whittle
the deficit to three (30-27) by halftime.
2.) Shoot 7-for-14 from the free-throw line, minus
Horton (13-for-13).
3.) Watch junior Dion Harris go 2-for-10 from the
field. He's made just five shots since returning from his
injury four games ago.
4.) See big man Courtney Sims fail to attempt a shot.
5.) Record a season-high 24 turnovers and a tie for
season-low seven assists.
6.) Commit two key - and unnecessary - fouls
(Graham Brown on offense, Harris on defense) in the
final two minutes.
And then there was The Play.
With the Wolverines behind 65-64 and 30 seconds
remaining, they ran down the clock for one final shot,
holding on to their last timeout.
Horton had the hot hand, having scored 14 of the
Wolverines' last 20 points. But instead of taking it for
See HOOSIERS, page 5B

Indiana loss
a flashback
to struggles

of the pa

st

T his year's class of
seniors has always
opted to do things the t
hard way.
As a result, the past four
years of basketball in Ann
Arbor have taken place on that
road less traveled, as opposed
to doing things the easy way.
Any of the players in Tommy
Amaker's first recruiting class SCOTT
at Michigan could have jumped BELL
ship and bailed when sanctions Too Soon?
were levied on the program, but
everyone stayed.
Maybe it was an omen for what was to come for this
group.
One hundred and twenty-two games after the arrival
of this six-person class to Ann Arbor, the group faces
exactly what it did when it entered: adversity.
Saturday's game against Indiana was indicative of
the careers of the seniors and the season of this entire
Michigan basketball team.
The game began on a promising note. The Wolver-
ines jumped out to a 10-0 run in front of a sold-out
Crisler Arena crowd hungry for Michigan to finish
above .500 in league play.
Kind of like the team's 10-1 start this season.
Or the 13-game winning streak Daniel Horton and
company strung together four years ago as freshmen.
But that's too easy for this group.
Beating an embattled team like Indiana would not
only have solidified Michigan as an NCAA Tournament
team. It would have put the Wolverines above perennial
powers like Michigan State, Wisconsin and Indiana in
the Big Ten standings to close out the regular season.
Sounds rational. Sounds like the easy way. Doesn't
sound like Michigan basketball.
By halftime, the game was practically deadlocked.
The Wolverines' pressure defense that held the Hoo-
siers to just one field goal in the game's first ten minutes
was beginning to bend, and the victory was definitely
in question.
It was just like teams of seasons past, cooling off
once midseason rolled around.
Just like Michigan's 2-6 record to close the regular
season after its hot conference start.
And by game's end, when Michigan's 10-point sec-
ond-half lead had morphed into a two-point loss, it left
me thinking - was this another telling sign of how this
season would end?
Michigan didn't just lose; it did so in the weirdest
way imaginable.
See BELL, page 5B

STEVEN TAI/Daily
Senior point guard Daniel Horton's 34 points weren't enough to fight off the upset from visiting Indiana. The 69-67 loss put
Michigan's NCAA Tournament hopes in question and dropped the Wolverines to the seventh seed in the Big Ten Tournament.

0 WOMEN'S TRACK AND FIELD
Di stance runners
propel 'M' to title

Recurring nightmare haunts Icers

By Chris Herring
Daily Sports Writer
. The past few years, winning the Big
Ten title has not been a hope of the Mich-
igan women's track and field team.
It's been an expectation.
Going into this season, things were
no different.
"The expectation is already there,"
said Michigan coach James Henry, who
was recently named Big Ten Coach of
the Year. "They come into my track pro-
gram knowing that winning the Big Ten
is something we expect."
The team battled from behind in the
final events at the Big Ten Champion-
ships Feb. 26 in Madison to outscore
second-place Illinois 126.67-112 and
take the indoor title for the fourth time
in five years.

to win. I just thought that was too much
to come back from."
But in the end, it was Michigan hoist-
ing the championship trophy.
By sweeping the top three spots in
the 5,000-meter run, Michigan closed
the 14-point gap that stood between it
and then-first-place Illinois. Sophomore
Alyson Kohlmeier crossed the finish
line first. Her time of 15:58.61 auto-
matically qualified her for next week's
NCAA Indoor Championships, and also
set a Camp Randall Fieldhouse record.
Juniors Erin Webster and Rebecca Wal-
ter finished second and third, respec-
tively, to complete the sweep and gain
24 points for the team. Webster also
picked up 10 points for the Wolverines
when she won the 3,000-meter run.
Junior Katie Erdman won the 600-
meter title for the third time in her

By H. Jose Bosch
Daily Sports Writer
Billy Sauer stood slumped over in
front of his net.
It wasn't fatigue that sat heavy
on his shoulders and caused him to
hang his head. It was the magnitude
of Ferris State's game-winning goal
that had Sauer - and the rest of his
teammates - downtrodden.
Bulldogs forward Zac Pearson's
overtime goal, which gave Ferris State a
4-3 win, may put the 1lth-ranked Wol-
verines' streak of 15-straight NCAA
tournament appearances in jeopardy.
Although the disappointing weekend
did not affect Michigan's place in the
CCHA standings or cost it a first-round
bye in the conference tournament, the
Wolverines have to win their series
against the Bulldogs (12-11-7 CCHA,
17-13-8 overall) this coming weekend
to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes
alive.

Wolverines had finally put their medio-
cre play behind them. The night before,
Michigan (13-10-5, 18-13-5) skated to
a hard fought 3-3 tie at Ferris State to
end its three-game losing streak in Big
Rapids.
And the momentum of that good
play carried over to Saturday's
game - Senior Night for the three
departing seniors Ebbett, Brandon
Kaleniecki and Noah Ruden.
After two periods of play, Michigan
held a 3-0 lead and looked to finish
off the Bulldogs to collect on three of
their four possible points of the week-
end. The image of freshman Andrew
Cogliano, staring at the sky with his
arms raised in jubilation after the third
goal of the second period, was sym-
bolic of the relief the team felt after the
score.
Then the wheels on the bus came
flying off.
"I really don't know (what hap-
pened)," coach Red Berenson said.

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