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February 14, 2007 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-02-14

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8 - Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Ballhandling, pride push
Spartans past Wolverines

EAST LANSING - And when life hands you lem- coach Tommy Amaker called
L ast ons, you make lemonade. Michigan State a proud team.
night's But this is Michigan basketball. And he was right. The Spartans
game was And last night, when the Wol- were a proud team.
ugly. verines were given lemons, they That explains why, while the
Britney turned them over. Wolverines continued to play with-
Spears at an Holding a two-point lead with out direction, Michigan State held
open bar ugly. less than a minute remaining in it together long enough to win.
And for the _ the first half, senior Dion Harris The Spartans didn't shoot the
most of it, I KJOSE essentially gave the ball to the lights out in the second half, and
couldn't tell B C Spartans while trying to drive to they didn't cut down their turn-
whether each the hoop. overs.
team was try- - - - Thirty seconds later, Michigan They just won.
ing to win or to The Bosch State demi-god Drew Neitzel hit That's the sort of thing that
give its in-state Watch a 3-pointer to give the Spartans happens when a program has
rival an early a one-point lead. Before the final a precedence of excellence. It
Valentine's Day gift. five seconds ticked off the clock, doesn't matter how bad things
But despite a stink-fest, the the Michigan media was already get - players can call upon the
Michigan men's basketball team thinking of creative ways to write memories of the program's past,
managed to stink less than the "Goodbye NCAA Tournament." conjure up the ecstasy of confer-
Spartans for most of the first half. Sure, there was a whole second ence and National Championships
The Wolverines even got out to an half to play. And a lot can happen and think of something to play
early five-point lead. in twenty minutes. But when the for and make sure not to let those
And Michigan finally -finally pressure is on, Michigan handles that came before down.
- looked like it could win a big the ball like a middle-school point What does Michigan have?
conference road game. guard: carelessly. A 2004 NIT Championship,
Michigan State was playing ter- The Wolverines put up a fight, the 1984 NIT Championship and
ribly. The Spartans are young and but the end result was no different a National Championship from
were in the midst of a four-game than it has been all season when. when I was 4.
losing streak. Good teams take they face good teams on the road. Not much else.
advantage of that kind of thing. Before the game, Michigan And when you're forced to

erase the memory of the Fab Five
and, yes, another NIT Champi-
onship in 1997, the recent past
doesn't inspire much.
This year's Michigan team can't
do anything about the past, and
it can't control what others have
done before it.
But how hard must it be to have
next to nothing in recent history
to inspire and make one believe
that no matter what people say,
the Wolverines can win the big
one.
Or, for that matter, can win at
East Lansing.
It hasn't happened since 1997.
And neither has anything else of
significance.
At a press conference earlier
in the week, Amaker laughed off
the idea that a loss in last night's
game would be a "death blow" to
Michigan's NCAA Tournament
chances.
But now that Michigan State
has the inside track on a tourna-
ment bid, who's laughing now?
- Bosch can be reached ZACHARY MEISNER/Daily
at hectobos@umich.edu. Senior Courtney Sims couldn't save his team from a 59-44 loss last night.
READ OUR BLOG, THE GAME, AT MICHIGANDAILY.COM

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