January 10, 2006
- - - ----------
By Jack Herman
Daily Sports Writer
While dining at a local restaurant a few years
ago, Michigan senior Sherrod Harrell glanced
up and saw his own number, 22, posted up on
Intrigued, Harrell inquired with a coach about
the number's significance and learned that it
belonged to the late, great Michigan basketball
star Bill Buntin, who played center during the
Now, every Wolverine fan will have an expe-
rience similar to Harrell's.
During halftime of Michigan's game against
Purdue this Saturday, Buntin's number became the
fifth to be retired in Crisler Arena.
From start to finish,
plenty to remember
"It's definitely an honor
(to wear his jersey), and I
count it as nothing less,"
Harrell said. "He was def-
initely a great player, so it
means the world to wear
To fans, the Buntin
name is not quite as mem-
orable as some of the other
players who have had theirj
list that includes Glen Rice,
Download a podcast of
this story at
jersey retired - a
don't mean to be a pessimist, but I
didn't think there was any way the
Rose Bowl could have lived up to the
hype. About the only two things going
on in the world were, at least according
to ABC, Ohio State's A.J. Hawk dating
Brady Quinn's sister (who
looked more like Quinn's
mom) and Texas playing
Southern Cal. But I've heard
that last part before. In fact,
exactly a year ago, I was
hearing how the BCS was
providing the best matchup in
the history of the current sys-
tem - Oklahoma versus the
Trojans. Well that worked out
about as well as Max Martin M
and Matt Gutierrez playing VEN
here at Michigan. The
But remarkably, this year's
title game was different, and we can all
thank Vince Young. It was a fitting end
to a college football season that was as
entertaining as any in recent years. Let's
take a look back down memory lane:
The year started off with a bang - and
a little foreshadowing. Michigan strug-
gled with Northern Illinois, Oklahoma
lost to TCU and Tennessee barely put
lowly UAB away. Even though hindsight
may be 20/20, the first weekend ended up'
providing a glimpse of how much those
usually solid programs would struggle in
But that second weekend of games
also started what would be an incredibly
unusual, and at times hilarious, season
for Miami. The Hurricanes fell to rival
Florida State even though Drew Weather-
ford threw like a right-handed 10-year-old
girl does left-handed. But this was just the.
tip of the iceberg. It reeled off five straight
wins before the best and most entertain-
ing sports story of the year, even topping
the Vikings' boat scandal - the Seventh
This rap probably spawned more jokes
in about three days than anything else
this year, and that includes Tom Cruise
on Oprah. I mean, I probably had at least
five 30-minute conversations about what
T-Good, Marvelous and all the fellas
did. So even though T-Good (linebacker
Tavares Gooden) had absolutely no flow,
his priceless lyrics made up for it. And
he had more University of Miami fathers
wondering what dorm their daughters
were in than there are pebbles of sand on
But the biggest question my friends
and I wondered was, What about the
boyfriends? What about the guys who
had girlfriends within four floors of this
place? Obviously, I could go on for pages,
but there's much more to talk about from
Even though off-the-field stuff is fun,
we follow college football for what hap-
pens during the games, and Oct. 15 is the
Michigan had an undefeated Penn State
coming to the Big House, but that was
far overshadowed by the monumental
matchup between Southern
Cal (see a trend?) and Notre
Dame. I'd be lying if I said
I wasn't really excited when
Chad Henne and the rest
of the Wolverines' offense
marched down the field. In
fact, as Henne's pass zipped
into Mario Manningham's
arms, I jumped so high, I
think I could've dunked on an
kTT 11-foot hoop.
:GONI While the Michigan play-
Balls ers ran around celebrating, I
quickly thought about some-
thing else, What was going on in South
Bend? I called my dad to see what hap-
pened. And when he told me about the
end of the game (the fourth-and-nine Matt
Leinart pass and then the "Bush Push"),
I realized that the matchup lived up to
its much-ballyhooed hype. Yet that same
day, when a number of other heart-stop-
ping games occurred, Minnesota lost to
rival Wisconsin on a blocked punt with 90
seconds to go, and Michigan State fell to
Ohio State most likely because of an end'
of the half gaffe on a field goal attempt.
That's the thing about this season. Sure,
Michigan failed to meet expectations (and
that really sucks, I'm not sugarcoatinggi),
but for fans of college football as a wiole,
this season was ridiculously entertaining
There was a Heisman race that had at
least three players who could claim the
trophy. There was the emergence of oie
of the most dazzling running backs in
the last 50 years of football.,A plethora
of other storylines kepiESPN's MiiiTig
line of crappy talk program shows run-
ning - Charlie Weis and a dying child's
wish, Michigan State proving they can't
handle any kind of positive expectations,
Sun Belt officials showing they shouldn't
be allowed to officiate a family's Thanks-
giving Day flag football game, Joe Pater-
no confirming that he's not completely
done yet, and, of course, the aforemen-
tioned Seventh Floor Crew.
All of these stories concluded with
Young and his "Vince Vibe" strutting
into the endzone, winning the national
title and a ton of football fans waiting in
anticipation for next September. Me, I'm
waiting for the latest Miami football team
release to embarrass the school.
- Leinart's too pretty to make it in
the NFL because he's definitely no Tom
Brady. If you want analyze more of the
Seventh Floor Crew with Matt, he can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
and Cazzie Russell. But his accomplishments
are just as notable.
Despite playing just three seasons, Bun-
tin amassed numbers that rank near the top of
Michigan's all-time lists. His 1,037 rebounds
place him second in Wolverine history. He's
ninth in scoring.
And perhaps the most amazing statistic on
his resume is that in just 79 games, he recorded
58 double-doubles, the highest total ever for a
Teaming up with Russell, Buntin ushered in
a new era of Michigan basketball. Coming off
three straight losing seasons, the Wolverines
won 16 games in Buntin's sophomore season,
his first year with the team. In 1963-64, Buntin
led Michigan to their first Big Ten title in 16
seasons and the Final Four. His senior year, the
Wolverines advanced to the NCAA title game,
where they fell 91-80 to UCLA.
Today, the team's MVP award is named after
"He was a good man, a pleasure to coach,"
said Dave Strack, Buntin's coach, in a halftime
speech. "Those were great years of my life and
great years for Michigan basketball."
After playing pro basketball and signing a
contract to play football for the Lions (he never
saw the field), Buntin returned to Michigan at
the age of 26. He needed to finish just one more
semester to receive a degree in education. But
during a pick-up basketball game on May 9,
1968, Buntin suffered a fatal heart attack.
r -ItH Z5UMnI - - -I Ls airy
Family members accept a framed jersey of Wolverine great Bill Buntin, whose jersey was retired on Saturday.
Thirty-seven years later, it was Strack who
started the movement to get Buntin's number
retired. This past summer, he called Michigan
coach Tommy Amaker, urging him to push for
the ceremony. Amaker accepted the suggestion,
but it did leave one question.
What about Harrell and his number?
"I asked about it, but they told me I wouldn't
have to worry," said Harrell, a captain who will
be the last player ever don to the number.
With that out of the way, everything cul-
minated with the unveiling of the No. 22 on
Saturday. Buntin's teammates, family and
Strack all assembled at Crisler. Both Strack
and Buntin's wife Eve spoke briefly.
The highlight came when Buntin's jersey was
unraveled from the rafters. But there was one
small hitch. It took some time before the light
that illuminated the jersey was turned on.
But now that it's on, Buntin will live on
* 1037 career rebounds, second all-
time at Michigan
* 1725 career points, ninth all-time at
* 58 double-doubles in 79 career games
" Two-time All-American
* Led the Wolverines to two straight
Final Four appearances
" Drafted by the Pistons with the
No. 2 pick in the 1965 NBA Draft
up to old
By Dan Feldman
Daily Sports Writer
On a women's tennis team bus ride three years ago,
then-senior co-captain Jen Duprez gave then-freshman
Debra Streifler the nickname "Streifmaster."
When Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt named Streifler, now
a senior herself, a co-captain, that nickname became par-
ticularly relevant to Streifler's role on the team.
In her first year as captain, Streifler has proven her
worth to the team through her actions both on and off
Streifler raised her play to a higher level this fall, enter-
ing the Midwest Regional Rankings for the first time in her
career. She is currently ranked No. 17 in singles and, along
with freshman Chisako Sugiyama, No. 12 in doubles.
"1 didn't even know," Streifler said when asked about
her ranking debut. "I don't look at that kind of stuff.
When I was in juniors, I would never look at the draws.
You can overthink things."
Streifler and Sugiyama earned the doubles ranking
after the Thunderbird Invitiational, where they won all
three matches played together.
"When we went to Arizona, we instantly clicked,
and we were able to work very well together with
good communication and team work," Sugiyama
said. "We have a good balance where the opponent
won't know who is going to be at the net finishing
the point up. (We) can back each other up, and by
the end of the tournament, we were able to read each
others plays very well."
Despite their success, it's not a given that Streifler
and Sugiyama will continue to play together in the
spring season, which begins at the Michigan Invita-
tional this weekend.
"We definitely have good chemistry," Streifler said.
"Once the season gets underway, Coach likes to try
out combos. (Doubles partners are) hard to predict."
Billy Sauer lunges for a save this past weekend against Alaska Fairbanks. The freshman took on the starting role at the start of the year.
Sauer s rapid progress continues
By H. Jose Bosch
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan goalie Billy Sauer's home on the
ice wasn't always in the crease.
"I was always a forward," Sauer said. "And
then it got to the point where I always wanted
to be in the net. One of my teammates (and
I) would switch up, and whenever I did it I
loved it. So I made a transition. I would play
forward some games and then play in goal.
Then I just became a goaltender."
And that is how a college hockey goalie
was born. And not just any college hockey
goalie. Sauer has become fifth in a line of
Michigan goalies that have started their
player. Most spend years from the time they
can walk to hone their skills at a specific posi-
tion, whether it be a forward, defenseman or
even goalie. But for Sauer, his journey lasted
just three years.
From his freshman year on junior varsity
to a season with the Buffalo Saints Midget
Program - a club team touted as one of New
York's best - to a year with the Chicago
Steel of the USHL, everything has happened
for the Walworth, NY., native.
Sauer went unnoticed his freshman year,
but began talking with colleges after lead-
ing the Saints to a national championship
the next season. At 16, Sauer moved to Chi-
cago to play with the Steel - becoming the
In 16 starts this season, he has posted a 10-
5-1 record. His save percentage is .904, and
he has a goals against average of 291. His
performance during the first half of the sea-
son caught the eyes of NHL scouts, and, in
November, he was named the top draft eligi-
ble U.S. collegiate goalie by the NHL Central
According to Michigan hockey coach Red
Berenson, Sauer still has a lot to learn before
he reaches his full potential, such as learn-
ing how to come back out and refocus after
posting a shutout the night before. Against
Alaska-Fairbanks, Sauer allowed four goals
in the series' second game. But Berenson is
still pleased with the way the freshman has
Debra Streifier is taking on a new role this season as
one of the women's tennis team captains.
hates to lose. She's out there fighting for Michigan every
Competitive edge and selflessness were the determin-
ing factors for Ritt in choosing Streifler as a captain.
"Debra has really stepped up;' Ritt said. "Through-
out her career, her leadership skills have gotten stronger.
She has really supported the program in all aspects. She
cares about Michigan tennis. She puts the team ahead of
herself. It's important that captains are hard workers and
great competitors to set the tone, other players can look to
them. I know that she'll do a great job:'
Streifler prefers to honor her responsibility as a captain
leading by example, rather than verbally.
"I've never been someone to push my views onto
other people," Streifler said. "I definitely like to lead by