Netters pick up weekend wins over
Michigan State and Harvard.
THE SPORTSMONDAY COLUMN:
Sharad Mattu wonders why Bill
Martin doesn't care about hoops.
Scott Bell reviews the first
weekend of March Madness.
March 20, 010%
2006 CCHA PLAYOFFS
Friday's Semifinal Game
MICHIGAN STATE 4, Michigan 1
Saturday's Third-Place Game
MICIGAN 3, \rt hcrn ihbi'n
tale of spring
By Kevin Wright
Daily Sports Editor
Finish 7-5 at a school with Michigan's tradition
for winning, and you're bound to see changes.
This off-season has been a busy one for Michi-
gan coach Lloyd Carr and the football team, with
Carr shaking up his staff.
Gone are offensive coordinator Terry Malone
and defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann. After a
brief flirtation period with the Chicago Bears, last
year's defensive backs coach Ron English is now
back as defensive coordinator. Ron Lee, who left
Wisconsin to join the Wolverines, will fill as sec-
ondary coach in Ann Arbor.
On the other side of the ball, Mike DeBord
moves from special teams coach to offensive coor-
dinator, the position he held during Michigan's
1997 National Championship season.
The special-teams coordinating position that
DeBord vacated will be split up among the assis-
tant coaches. DeBord will still coach the punt
team, Lee will handle thepunt return team, run-
ning backs coach Fred Jackson will lead the kick
return team and defensive line coach Steve Strip-
ling will handle the kickoff team.
"With any change, I think there's great enthusi-
asm," Carr said. "Our players are excited. Any time
you lose two outstanding coaches, it does create an
opportunity for change and new ideas. So, I think
it's going to be very good."
Saturday, the coaches got a chance to work with
the returning Michigan players in the first spring
practice of the season.
Coming into this spring, Carr and his staff placed
a major emphasis on conditioning. Sophomore run-
ning back Kevin Grady has exemplified the new
goal. Over the winter, Grady dropped about 10
pounds for the 218-frame he's sporting this spring.
"Kevin Grady has made great strides," Carr said.
"When I look at him today compared to what he
was a year ago, I think he's really committed him-
self to the conditioning part of it."
Carr also stressed the need to return to a more
balanced offensive attack. Last season, the Wolver-
ines struggled to run the ball efficiently. They mus-
tered just 32 yards rushing in their season finale
against Ohio State. Even though a healthy Mike
Hart will help the Wolverine ground game this sea-
son, Carr stressed the importance of establishing
"What we need to do offensively, that we didn't
do a year ago, is run the football more effectively,"
Carr said. "If you're going to be successful and
play championship football, I think you have to run
The Wolverines will also need to improve a
defense that gave up too many big plays during the
late stages of games. The Michigan defense allowed
game-winning drives in the fourth quarter against
Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio State and Nebraska.
"You have to be good against the run, and I think
you have to prevent big plays," Carr said. "I want a
defense that's not giving up big plays:'
Carr said he was pleased with winter condition-
ing, but the injury bug dealt the Wolverines a sig-
Sophomore Antonio Bass injured his knee while
participating in conditioning drills two weeks ago.
He stumbled and hurt his knee when he awkwardly
planted his foot as he fell. Carr said he doesn't know
the extent of the injury but said that Bass would not
participate in spring practice.
Carr planned to split Bass's time at quarterback
and wide receiver this spring. After seeing spot
action as quarterback last season, Bass would have
bolstered a thin depth chart behind sophomore
Redshirt freshman Jason Forcier is the lone
scholarship quarterback on the roster, and fresh-
man David Cone will arrive in the fall.
Chad Kolarik and Wolverines stumbled In Friday night's semifinal game against Michigan State, but rebounded with a 3-2 win in the third-place game against Northern Michigan.
Blueheds toNC afterthidtee t r 1da"-place finish
By H. Jose Bosch
Daily Sports Writer
DETROIT - Can you hear that?
That's not a rush of air from the bubble
It's the collective sigh of relief all across
Michigan is in the NCAA Tournament.
Following a 3-2 win over Northern Michi-
gan in the consolation game of the CCHA
Tournament - a bittersweet ending to the
weekend after a 4-1 loss to Michigan State
on Friday - the 11th-ranked Icers learned
they would be traveling to Grand Forks, N.D.
for the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan's first opponent will be the host,
No. 8 North Dakota (the WCHA Conference
tournament champion), in a matchup between
the No. 2 (North Dakota) and No. 3 seeds in
the West regional. The regional also includes
No. 1 Minnesota (the regular season WCHA
"From day one, I've said we're fortunate to
be in the Tournament," said Michigan coach
Red Berenson, whose Icers will play in the
NCAA Tournament for the 16th straight year.
"It doesn't matter to me who we play or where
we play. The way the bracketing went down,
(our bracket) is probably the toughest chal-
lenge of all the brackets."
Coming into the weekend, USCHO.com
had the Wolverines in its projected NCAA
Tournament field, but Michigan still felt it
needed at least one win to guarantee itself
an at-large bid. They failed to advance to the
CCHA Tournament championship game on
Friday night but still had third place - and
an NCAA Tournament bid - to play for on
Saturday against Northern Michigan (14-12-2
CCHA, 22-16-2 overall).
Michigan (13-10-5, 21-14-5) outshot the
Wildcats 30-18 after the first two periods but
entered the third period tied at two. At 8:19 of
the third period, alternate captain Matt Hun-
wick scored the game-winning tally, his second
See CCHA, page 4B
champion) and the AHA
pion Holy Cross.
ing Sioux in
the first round
of the NCAA
For the com-
see PAGE 4B.
Icers need to fill, avoid holes
now that it's
n the beginning of the year it was
inexperience. And once Michigan's
11 freshmen gained some of that, it
was dumb penalties, game misconducts
or disqualifications. Then, once players
had focused their aggression on the puck
rather than opposing players, it was the
abysmal power play. And when the Wol-
verines finally started scoring with the
man advantage, it was time for the play-
offs and, once more, the freshmen were
Michigan coach Red Berenson appro-
"Dutch boy" and a dike during Thursday's
CCHA Championship press conference.
Every time he, his staff and captains closed
off one hole in the wall, another burst open,
and it seemed as though the once-mighty
Wolverines were back at square one.
During Friday's game, that most recent
hole - a lack of playoff experience - was
evident. Michigan was overmatched for half
of the CCHA semifinal game against a Mich-
3 V. igan State team that went on to defeat Miami
VD (OH) for the Mason Cup on Saturday night.
After scoring the first goal, the Wolverines
imploded, allowing the Spartans to score
See DOWD, page 4B
priately analyzed the season with the analogy of a
0 MENS BASKETBALL
Cagers hope lack of
Irish luck continues
fall short at NCAAs
By Jack Herman
Daily Sports Editor
NIT game at 7 p.m.
The Wolverines (8-8 Big Ten, 19-10 over-
all), watched a once-promising season, in
which they started 16-3, derailed by an end-
By David VandeVusse
Daily Sports Writer
Ryan Churella was just seconds
But the senior co-captain caught a
an individual national title. But his
defeat was not due to a lack of flare.
He dropped a 9-8 heartbreaker in a
controversial 165-pound final match
to defending champion Johny Hen-
dricks (Oklahoma State), whose
For Michigan and Notre Dame, the end
r .. y > > i r,