8- Friday, March 23, 2007
By AMBER COLVIN
Daily Sports Editor
When it comes to the NCAA
Tournament, Western Collegiate
Hockey Association teams have
steamrolled the competition.
Hogged the spotlight. Monopo-
lized the winner's circle.
What's the word for that?
"I guess they've dominated,"
Michigan senior captain Matt
Ah, there it is.
Six of the past seven National
Champions have been from the
WCHA, a power
conference M -g
likes of Min- atNCAA
and Wisconsin. Tournament
And then Matchup:
there's the North Dakota
CCHA, the Wol- 22-13-5; Mich-
verines' stomp- igan 26-13-1
The last CCHA When: 7:30
team to claim p.m., Saturday
the nation's Where: Pepsi
college hock- Center
ey crown was TV/Radio:
Michigan in Comcast Local/
1998. The last WTKA 1050
CCHA team to
make it to the
Frozen Four? Michigan in 2003.
Since then, CCHA representa-
tion in the Tournament has been
downright pitiful. Last year, the
only squad from the CCHA's four
Tournamentteams to survive the
first round was Michigan State.
Of course, the Spartans were
axed in the second round, so even
then, the results were not becom-
ing for the conference.
In 2004, when the CCHA had
a record five teams in the 16-team
field, the Wolverines were the
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Senior captain Matt Hunwick leads a departing class of Wolverines hoping to make its first NCAA Frozen Four.
By H. JOSE BOSCH Pros: Like many of the candidates
Daily Sports Editor in Martin's search, Hobbs has a
solid resum. He took his first head-
Over the course of this week, The coaching job with a school that was
Michigan Daily will profile 12 pos- mired in scandals and mediocrity.
sible candidates (three each day) to But his work paid off and he coached
replace former Michigan basket- George Washington to a 27-3 record
ball coach Tommy Amaker. Athletic last season (best in school history)
Director Bill Martin intends to name and had the team ranked sixth in
a new head coach by the middle of the nation at one point. He's also
April. responsible for the Colonials' first
The profiles are listed in no par- Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament
ticular order. title in 2005. Add this past season's
success (another Atlantic-10 tourna-
Candidate: John Calipari ment title) and Hobbs has led George
Current job: Memphis head coach Washington to the NCAA Tourna-
Coaching experience: 25 years (17 ment three consecutive seasons.
as a head coach) Hobbs has also been praised for
Pros: With Tubby Smith now his ability to develop talent, some-
signed on at Minnesota, Calipari thing that Tommy Amaker lacked in
may be the highest profile name on his six years in Ann Arbor.
Michigan's list of candidates. In his According to the school's athletic
14 years as head coach at Massachu- website, Seattle Supersonics guard
setts and Memphis (he was a head Ray Allen was quoted as calling
coach of the NBA's New Jersey Nets Hobbs a "terrific guard coach" and
for three years) Calipari made a post- credited him for his development.
season tournament all but once. In Cons: Hobbs has no significant
that span, he's been to eight NCAA Midwest ties. His previous coach-
Tournaments and five National Invi- ing stints were with Boston Univer-
tational Tournaments (winning the, sity and Connecticut. He also uses
NIT with Memphis in 2002). He's a high-octane transition offense,
taken his team to the Final Four which may not work out with Michi,
once, and reached the Elite Eight gan's current crop of players.
two additional times.
Calipari is also upfront with how Candidate: BenBraun
he deals with players. Current job: California head
"I'm firm with these guys," Cali- coach
pari said at a press conference dur- Coaching experience: 32 years (30
ing this year's NCAA Tournament. asa head coach)
"If you're sitting close enough, I'm Pros: Braun has Midwest ties
hard on them. But they know I love because he coached just 20 minutes
them. They know I love them and I away at Eastern Michigan for 11years
care about them, so I can treat them prior to his tenure at Cal. He led the
like I would my own son. I can grab Eagles to three NCAA .Tournaments
them at times. You're not supposed and was voted the Mslid-American
to grab them? I do." 'Conference Coach of the Year three
Cons: Calipari runs a motion times. In his first year at Cal in
offense, which didn't work at all dur- 1996, he lead the Bears to a Swt 16
ing Amaker's six years at Michigan. appearances. In 1998, he also ledtie
And Calipari doesn't have much of a Bears to an NIT Championship.
reason to leave. Memphis was a No.1 Cons: As mentioned earlier Braun
in seed this year's Tournament, and hasn't gotten past the second round
they play in ah NBA Arena. Trad- after his first successful run, and
ing those digs for Crisler Arena isn't in the last four years at Cal, Braun
appealing. has made the NCAA Tournament
just once. And some bloggers have
Candidate: Karl Hobbs criticized Braun's offense for being
Current job: George Washington too stagnant and have called for his
head coach resignation. Martin may want to
Coaching experience: 20 years stay away from a coach who is being
(six as a head coach) pushed out of his current job.
sole representatives from their
league in the second round.
Tomorrow, No. 8 Michigan
begins another quest to slay the
WCHA, facing off against col-
lege hockey's hottest team, No.
6 North Dakota (13-10-5 WCHA,
22-13-5 overall) at the Pepsi Cen-
ter in Denver.
"We've had to listen to all the
propaganda about the WCHA
being the best league," Michigan
coach Red Berenson said. "I'd
like to see the teams that come
out of our conference advance.
That's been the weakness that
teams from our conference have
shown over the last 10 years."
Three other CCHA teams
(Northeast No. 4 seed Miami
(Ohio), Midwest No. 3 seed
Michigan State and Midwest No.
1 seed Notre Dame) join Michi-
gan in the Tournament. For the
Wolverines to book a ticket to
the Frozen Four in St. Louis, they
first have to get past the Fight-
ing Sioux, and then possibly
WCHA Champion Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers take on No.
4 seed Air Force in the first game
Various reports have identi-
fied the NCAA West Regional in
Denver as the toughest bracket in
the Tournament, mostly because
of its two WCHA juggernauts.
Last season, Michigan opened
the Tournament against North
Dakota and didn't stand a chance
in a 5-1 loss on the Fighting
Sioux's intimidating home ice.
And though the Pepsi Center is
technically a neutral arena, don't
expect this year's crowd to be too
"Whether it's in North Dakota
or not, it's WCHA territory and
everyone's talking about North
Dakota and Minnesota being
the teams," Berenson said. "So
maybe they don't know we're in
the region, but hopefully we can
The Wolverines (18-9-1 CCHA,
26-13-1 overall) go west after an
encouraging CCHA Tournament
that didn't bring a conference
title, but did include a resound-
ing sweep of Northern Michigan,
a victory over archrival Michi-
gan State and a toe-to-toe contest
with the top-ranked Fighting
Irish, a 2-1 loss.
Senior alternate captain T.J.
Hensick was a big factor in that
success and leads Michigan and
the CCHA in playoff points (4-
6-10). The Hobey Baker Award
finalist and the rest of his senior
class may have the most motiva-
tion this weekend. If they don't
emerge victorious from the
regional, they will be the first
class of Wolverines to graduate
without a Frozen Four appear-
ance since 1991.
"That's our goal, to get to the
Frozen Four," Hunwick said.
Said Hensick: "We're sure
we'll have WCHA fans out there
against us. But it's a chance to go
out there and see what Michigan
hockey is all about."
I . I
Former Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett has urged future recruits to uphold their commitment to the Wolverines. Reactions
from the recruits have been mixed, but both may still end up playing in Crisler Arena for their college careers.
coach affects recruiting
By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
Cheryl Burnett may no longer
be the Michigan women's basket-
ball coach, but her direct impact
on the program looks like it will
last for at least four more years.
Veronica Hicks, a senior at
Thornwood High School (South
Holland, Ill.) signed a National
Letter of Intent in November, and
the Burnett recruit still plans to
"She told me, 'Coach, it doesn't
matter,' " said Kevin Connor,
Hicks's coach at Thornwood. "'I
have to get used to a new coach
other than you anyway.' So she
was like, 'It didn't matter to me
Hicks averaged 18 points, seven
rebounds, 6.3 assists and 4.4 steals
her senior year. She set a school
record by scoring 40 points in a
game, and added 11 rebounds, 10
assists and 10 steals for a quadru-
Connor said the 5-foot-9 point
guard has a wingspan of about 6-
foot-3, which allows her to get so
many steals. He also said Hicks
has great court vision and would
thrive in a system that lets her
control the ball, penetrate and
Hicks also drew a lot of interest
from Iowa prior to her commit-
ment, Connor said.
Hicks couldn't be reached for
Alex Guyton could push Bur-
nett's direct effect on Michigan
even further into the future.
Guyton, a junior at Blooming-
ton North High School, verbally
committed to Michigan before
her junior season, but has decided
to "start the recruiting process
all over again" after hearing of
Burnett's retirement and getting
a call from the former coach.
"She just apologized and said
that she wishes that she could be
there," Guyton said. "She under-
stands my feelings and she had to
do what she had to do." .
Despite the apparent obstacles,
it's still very possible Guyton ends
up a Wolverine.
"The biggest factor was that we
were extremely comfortable with
coach Burnett and her staff and
the way they went about recruit-
ing her and the honesty and the
integrity that they had and the
fact that the University of Michi-
gan is an outstanding school,"
said Robin Guyton, Alex's mother.
"Alex is actually hopingthat when
the new coach comes in, it will be
somebody who will want to pur-
sue her. She's definitely leaving it
open to come back as a commit-
ted person to Michigan, provided
that when the new coach comes
in, that they can work together.
"Right now, Michigan isstill at
the top of Alex's list. She talked
to (sophomores Ashley Jones and
Melinda Queen the day after Bur-
nett retired). They want her. She
still wants to play with them. But
until we know what the situation
is there, we needed to let other
coaches know that she's available
in the event that once the coach
comes in, Alex doesn't fit their
Robin Guyton said her daugh-
ter wasn't in a rush to choose a
new school and would wait until
Michigan hired its new coach.
But Alex Guyton did say, once
the new coach is hired, she would
wait for him orher to call her.
Alex Guyton said she received
offers from No. 12 Purdue (Big
Ten Champions and alive in the
Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tourna-
ment), Indiana (alive in the Sweet
16 of the Women's National Invi-
tational Tournament), Cincin-
nati and Princeton before she
verballed to Michigan.
Answers That getter.