The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Friday, December 1, 2006 -11
By MARK GIANNOTTO
Daily Sports Writer
Take a minute to imagine what
goes through the heads of the aver-
age basketball coach and the aver-
age basketball player over the course
of an average game.
Coaches tend to focus on the
intangibles, such as defense, hustle
ad rebounds. Players tend to focus
on one thing: offense.
Whether it's dunking, shooting
3-pointers or breaking a defender's
ankles, most basketball players are
consumed with the glory that comes
with a dynamic force on the offen-
sive side of the ball.
These opposing points of view are
why coaches are coaches and players
Why was Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker so concerned about offense
after the Wolverines' 74-67 loss to
North Carolina State last Monday?
After a disappointing defeat,
there are plenty of possible explana-
tions heading into tomorrow's game
against Wofford (4-4) at Crisler
Maybe Amaker was upset with the
mere 28 points Michigan scored in
the first half. Or maybe he was upset
with the lack of interior offense after
seniors Courtney Sims and Brent
Petway combined for just 13 points.
But Amaker left no mystery as
to why he was worried about his
"We continued the trend of not
being able to make open shots,"
Amaker said. "And I think it's frus-
trating for our team."
The Wolverines must show that
they can knock down a perimeter
jump shot because opponents have
begun to play compact zone defens-
es against them.
Collectively, the Wolverines (7-1)
are shooting a dismal 28.5 percent
from 3-point range (41-for-144). No
Michigan player is shooting better
than 33.3 percent from beyond the
arc. And with zone defenses, the
Wolverines must sink shots in order
to draw defenders out of the paint.
"Offense is going to come for our
team," senior Lester Abram said.
"It's just a matter of when every-
not to be mice
You're familiar with the
story of Cinderella.
A fairy godmother
comes along and voila! A pump-
kin becomes an extravagant
carriage, a bunch of mice turn
into some stallions and coach
into a beauti-
ful dress. Oh
As long as
dance before The Bosch
midnight, she Watch
was as good
Well, just eight games into
this basketball season, midnight
is approaching much faster than
the Michigan men's basketball
team would have liked. And
on Monday night, in front of a
national television audience, the
four horses that were supposed
to carry this team to the dance
became the mice they've been
accused of being all along.
What's it going to take to be
a Tournament-caliber team?
More work in the gym, for one
thing. Following Michigan's
66-54 win over Maryland-Bal-
timore County, Abram said the
Wolverines just need to work
on their shots.
Go to the gym and work on
those shots. This was after a
game when the Wolverines shot
On Monday night they shot
38 percent from the floor.
So it may take more than just
working on shots in the gym.
It'll take some mettle.
Michigan looked lost when-
ever there was a loose ball, and
any time you have a chance to
pick up one of those, it's going
to benefit your team.
North Carolina State won
those battles Monday night.
The Wolverines can't allow
Wofford to do the same tomor-
It'll take smart play.
If an easy bucket off the
transition isn't there, slow it
down and move around a little
bit. Standing along the baseline
and waiting for Dion Harris to
shoot isn't the best strategy.
Most importantly, it's going
to take discipline.
The Wolverines can talk all
they want, but it doesn't meana
thing if they don't start proving
it on the court.
Center Courtney Sims has to
attack on a consistent basis.
Harris has to cut down his
shots and distribute the ball.
Forward Brent Petway has to
be economical with his minutes
and be more than a dunking
And Abram has to show the
rest of us why his teammates
voted him captain for three
'But it's still early in the sea-
son. Just because the carriage
stalls now doesn't mean it can't
reach the dance in time.
Fortunately, Michigan has a
chance to get itself back on the
right track tomorrow afternoon
when it takes on Wofford. The
competition won't be easy (Wof-
ford has a win at Cincinnati),
but it may be just what a fairy
godmother would give this Cin-
derella team, which needs to be
challenged more before the Big
Ten season begins.
Don't let the Michigan name
or the Big Ten Conference fool
In this age of parity in col-
lege basketball, the fact that
the Wolverines haven't made
the NCAA Tournament since
1998 makes them an underdog,
a long shot, a Cinderella. And
after the Past few years of futil-
ity, you can't help but cheer for
Michigan the same way you
cheer on the little fat kid who
always finishes last in the 20-
yard dash during field day.
It may be just the eighth game
of the season but before you
know it, March will roll around
and it'll be time to dance.
Hopefully Michigan comes to
realize that sooner rather than
later. Or else they'll be the ones
showing up late in a beat-up old
pumpkin once again.
- Bosch can be reached
Senior Dion Harris isno stranger to the 3-point shooting issues the team is experiencing. In Monday's game against North Carolina
State, he shot 4-fnr-t4 from dnmntnmn.
body is going to click together ... at of a devastating upset. The Terriers "I think anybody that is going
the same time. It hasn't happened have already beaten Cincinnati this to have any kind of success in the
yet, but hopefully it will soon." season, and lost to North Carolina game of basketball knows that you
The Terriers will come into State by just four points on Nov. 10. are going to have to make perimeter
tonight's matchup reeling from three And with key nonconference shots," Amaker said. "And unfortu-
straight losses, including a home loss battles against UCLA (Dec. 23) and nately for us right now, we haven't
to Western Carolina on Wednesday Georgetown (Dec. 30) in the near been as good at it. We have to fig-
night. But if the Wolverines take future, Michigan needs to get its ure out ways to make an open jump
Wofford lightly, they could be victim offense back on track, and fast. shot."
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