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February 01, 2007 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-02-01

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
And the
winner is...

Thursday, February 1, 2007 - 5A
Hawkeye run
bites Cagers

t's awards season in Hol-
lywood, and I'd like to
create a special Oscar for
the Michigan men's basketball
team: best performance by an
ensemble.
Why?
Because
after the
first half of
last night's
game, the
WolverinesI
had everyone H.JOSE
believing an BOSCH
NCAA Tour-
nament bid
was possible. The Bosch
But just Watch
like in the
movies, you can't believe every-
thing you see.
As fast as a 20-1 Hawkeye run
(which lasted 8:47 by the way),
the Wolverines' chance at an
NCAA Tournament bid had all
but vanished.
Now we're left wonder-
ing whether we really want to
watch another NIT first-round
game, or stay home to watch
"The Office," instead.
The loss is bad enough when
you consider Michigan dropped
an 11-point halftime lead at
home. But it's suicide when you
consider the rest of Michigan's
schedule.
Three of Michigan's next five
games are on the road (Ohio
State, Michigan State and Illi-
nois, not to mention a home
date with Indiana). After that
stretch, the Wolverines will
travel to Minnesota (which
looks scarier than it did before
last night) and end the season at
home against the Spartans and
the Buckeyes.
With the way Michigan has
been playing recently, if it wins
three games the rest of the year,
it should consider itself lucky.
And that would mean just a 7-9
Big Ten record.
Last time I checked, a losing
conference record doesn't look
too good to the NCAA Tourna-
ment Selection Committee.
When asked if he sensed that
this year will be any different
than last year, Michigan coach
Tommy Amaker seemed unsure.
"We're going to find out,"
Amaker said. "I'm confident
that our kids are going to stay
after it, and they're going to
keep plugging and fighting and
that's what our goal is right
now."
Great logic if you're coaching
at the local YMCA. Not so good
if you're coaching a Division I
program that hasn't sniffed the
Tourney in nearly 10 years.
And that's been just the prob-
lem with Michigan this season.
After each embarrassing loss,
the overall sentiment has been
"We'll get them next time."
There has been a lot of talking
and not enough doing.

But who's to blame?
Tue fans don't know.
in the crowd, people argued
over whether Amaker or Ath-
letic Director Bill Martin is the
reason this program settles for
mediocrity. Others pointed the
finger at the players, especially
the seniors and their poor per-
formance down the stretch.
But you can put a little bit on
everyone.
Martin for not pulling the
trigger on Amaker sooner.
Amaker for not contributing
to the individual improvement
of any senior on this team.
And the players for getting
too comfortable last night.
They figured the Hawkeyes
would crumble on the road,
just like the Wolverines have
done numerous times. Michigan
believed that its NCAA Tourna-
ment hopes were going to live
another day.
But now they're gone.
- Bosch can be reached
at hectobos@umich.edu.

By MARK GIANNOTTO
Daily Sports Writer
Following two straight losses, the last
thing the Michigan men's basketball
team needed to
be was lacka- IOWA 69
daisical. MICHIGAN 62
But that's
exactly what the Wolverines were in the
second half last night as they fell to Iowa
at Crisler Arena, 69-62.
The Hawkeyes used a backbreaking
20-1 run that spanned nearly eight min-
utes of the second half to get back into
the game. Michigan's lead ballooned to
as many as 14 points in the first half and
Iowa was still down 11 when the spurt
began.
And while the Hawkeyes started
clicking on all cylinders, the Wolverines'
offense sputtered in a big way. Michigan
went nearly nine minutes without a field
goal in the middle of the second half.
But the Wolverines had a chance to
regain the lead late after senior Lester
Abram hit a lay-up to cut the Hawkeye
lead to just one with 59 seconds remain-
ing.

And just like the entire second half,
Michigan's defense broke down. On the
ensuing possession, Iowa sophomore
Tony Freeman drove down the lane for
an easy lay-up and was fouled by guard
Jerret Smith in the process to seal the
deal for the Hawkeyes.
And foul was about the only way to
describe Michigan's second-half perfor-
mance last night.
"We let up," Michigan senior Court-
ney Sims said. "I don't think we were
intense enough. We probably thought we
had the game (won), and we didn't. And
they fought back and out-toughed us."
Now on its first three-game losing
streak of the season, Michigan may have
ended any realistic NCAA Tournament
hopes. After starting this season 16-4,
the Wolverines can't help but think about
its 2-7 finish to last year's campaign.
"We didn't finish strong down the
stretch last year, and here we go on a
three-game losing streak at almost the
same time period," Harris said. "It's
important for us to just get a win. We
have to try and not think about (the
NCAA Tournament) as much because
See HAWKEYES, Page 8A

Senior Courtney Sims was the lone bright spot in last night's 69-62 los
to Iowa at Crisler Arena,

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