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April 10, 2007 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-10

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10 - Tuesday, April 10, 2007
BASEBALL
From page 9
game. We have to come oot strong
right from the get-go."
Said junior Doug Pickens: "We're
playing two seven-inning games
and that sometimes moves faster
than one nine-inning game, just the
way the games play out. We might
come out a little slow, but hopefully
we can pick up right where we left
off with Central (Michigan)."
Coupled with its previously
scheduled mid-week game against
Toledo tomorrow, today's double-
header will give Michigan plenty of
game action before this weekend's
matchup against the Buckeyes, who
have the highest overall-record win-
ning percentage in the Big Ten.
"I would have been very con-
cerned if we wouldn't have played
until Ohio State," Maloney said. "It
was very important to get us back
on the field playing. (After the week-
long break) it's almost like starting
over - not totally over, but a little bit
over - and we want to work out the
kinks before we play on Friday."
The Wolverines will be back on
the field four more times against
the Eagles this season. In addition
to today's matchup, their two origi-
nally scheduled mid-week games
next Wednesday and in early May
will now be doubleheaders. These
games, though not replacingthe lost
Big Ten weekend with Minnesota,
should give Michigan a boost on its
path to 40 wins and the NCAA tour-
nament.
And today's doubleheader could
boost Michigan's winning streak
to 12, preparing them to try and
win four straight in Columbus this
weekend.

SPORTS The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
POINT/COUNTsE RPOINT
Debating the hot sports topics of today

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Tnhe excitement of March Madness has
come and gone, we're still a couple
weeks away from the NFL Draft and
months away from a meaningful baseball
game. This is what most sports nuts would
consider a down per iod. Fear not: Daily
Sports editors Scott Bell and Daniel Brom-
wich vow to .do their best to get you excited
about recent and upcoming events the best
way they know how - by arguing inces-
santly that they're more right than the other
about various sports topics.
Topic No. 1: West Virginia didn't wait long
to replace former coach John Beilein. The
Mountaineers named proven-winner-yet-
baggage-ridden Bob Huggins as their new
head coach last week. Is Huggins's decision
to bolt Manhattan, Kan. for Morgantown
just one year after taking the reigns at Kan-
sas State kosher, or did the Wildcat faithful
back in Kansas deserve better?
Daniel Bromwich: Bob Huggins is a good
basketball coach, and after John Beilein left
Morgantown for Michigan, West Virginia
needed a good basketball coach. But for
Huggins to leave Kansas State after just one
season is unacceptable.
Whether directly stated or not, he made
a promise to Kansas State, to everyone from
the administration to the fans. And he made
it just one year ago, when Kansas State took a
huge risk in hiring him after his embarrass-

Scott Bell
Daily Sports Editor
ing drunk encounter with the police. Even
breaking this promise, while not the most
admirable thing to do, would be acceptable
under most circumstances.
But Huggins refused the WestVirginiajob
when it was offered in 2002. If this hadn't
happened, he could play his departure off as
"I just want to go home." Now, he's telling
everyone at Kansas State "All you were was
a stepping stone."
Scott Bell: First off, I should preface this
with the fact that I'm not a fan of 'ole Huggy
Bear - at all. The widespread belief that his
programs are dirty is almost undoubtedly
not a coincidence, and he just seems like a
sketchy guy altogether.
Butthis is abusiness, notamake-the-most
friends competition. Huggins has to make a
living, and if he sees this job as an upgrade,
there's nothing wrong with taking it. If I was
offered a job that paid more than $2 an hour,
I'm pretty sure I'd forget what the Daily was
by lunchtime. I'm still the farthest thing
from a Huggins fan, but not because of this.
Topic No. 2: Those who huddled around the
television Sunday saw a familiar site - Tiger
Woods in contention for another major title.
But this result was different - 31-year-old
journeyman Zach Johnson ended up besting
arguably the best athlete of our generation.
So what was it, a Tiger choke job or a valiant
finish by Johnson?
SB: Everyone is talking about Tiger chok-
ing down the stretch at the Masters, and I
don't really see it. Sure, he's put together
ridiculous stretches of golf to close out tour-
naments before, but it's unfair to expect
perfection every single tournament. He still
closed the gap on the back nine after his big
eagle, and had an insane par save after going
in the water on No. 15.
Typically people back down to that pres-
sure. Johnson didn't this time. End of story.
Jordan missed jumpers, Ruth struck out,
Happy Gilmore got hit by cars on the fair-
way. It happens.
DB: No, Tiger didn't choke. But he cer-
tainly didn't play like the Tiger we've all
come to know and love. This would all be
different if he hadn't led and just couldn't
catch Johnson. But Tiger birdied his second
hole of the day and at that point, he led the
field. He finished the day where he started
it - back at 3-over-par. In a field without a
single player finishing under par, 3-over-par
is good. But it's not great. And that's what
we expect from Tiger - greatness. Johnson
played better than he has ever played in a
tournament before. Too bad Tiger didn't play
like Tiger.
Topic No. 3: The NFL Draft is fewer than

three weeks away. Oakland is on the
clock with the first pick, and the Raid-
ers have a couple directions they could go
with this pick. What should Al Davis do?
DB: This is an easy one. You've got to take
former Louisiana State quarterback JaMarcus
Russell with this pick. This argument doesn't
even fall into the "need vs. best overall play-
er" category. Both former Georgia Tech wide
receiver Calvin Johnson and Russell appear
to have nearly unlimited potential, both are
incredible raw athletes.Russellmight rate just
an inkling lower than Johnson on the "wow"
scale. Butwhenyou are decidingbetween two,
players this good, and you simply don't have a
player on your roster that plays quarterback,
you've got to take Russell. It's not like we're
decidingbetween Jerry Rice and Trent Dilfer.
It's like Jerry Rice vs. Peyton Manning, but
you've already got Art Monk. And your cur-
rent quarterback might as well be some ran-
dom guy named Andrew Walter. Oh wait....
SB: At this point, I couldn't care less what
is in Oakland's best interest. If they know
what's best for them, the Raiders should
probably take Russell. But if Al Davis has any
heart whatsoever, he'll draft Calvin Johnson
- for Lions fans' sake.
Does anyone really think Matt "I make
Isiah Thomas look like a genius" Millen could
really pass up on a marquee wide receiver if
he's available? Anyone?
Russell is a manchild, and he has all the
tools to be a great NFL quarterback. But
Johnson is good too, and the Raiders drafting
the Georgia Tech product would save Lions
fans a lot of heartache and Millen any shred
of respectability he had left (though it's a
little late for that).
Topic No. 4: For most of the season, many
considered Phoenix point guard Steve Nash
a lock to bring home his third straight NBA
Most Valuable Player Award. But Kobe Bry-
ant's recent tear has put doubt in the some.
Should the trophy's engraver be given the
green light to etch "Nash" into the award
once again, or will we see a new recipient
this year?
SB: Steve Nash is an amazing player. He
makes everyone around him better and has
helped rejuvenate the Suns into a contender
year in and year out. But he couldn't dream
of doing what Kobe Bryant has done in the
second half of the season.
Say what you want about Bryant - he's
a ballhog; his team isn't even that good; he
spends millions of dollars to get back on his
wife's good side. All probably true.
But when you have teams focusing their
entire defense on you and your supporting
cast couldn't post a record above .504in the
NBDL and you're still on pace to make the

Daniel Bromwich
Daily Sports Editor

playoffs and putting up 37 points a game
since the All Star Break, you're the"league's
best player.
Nash may have a better shot at the ring,
but he doesn't deserve the individual bling.
DB: Iam possiblythe biggest Kobe Bryant
fan in the world. I think he's unquestionably
the best player in the NBA and should have
been the MVP last season. But not this year.
His defense has slipped to a Nash-like level
this year, perhaps because he knows the
Lakers need all his energy on the offensive
end. Does Nash deserve tobe one of just four
players in basketball history to win three
consecutive MVPs? Absolutely not. Sha-
quille O'Neal should have beaten him two
years ago, and the award was Bryant's to
lose last year. But this year, Nash deserves it.
It would be a shame for the voters to punish
him for their mistakes the past two years.
They're the ones who will have to explain
why somebody who never won a champion-
ship has an honor that Michael Jordan and
Magic Johnson never attained.
Topic No. 5: With the NHL Playoffs drop-
ping the puck tomorrow, there's concern the
low ratings the league experienced last sea-
son may continue again this year. So after a
2006 playoff campaign where college softball
got better ratings than hockey, will there be a
double-digit fan base for this year's playoffs?
DB: No way. I know one person who cares
about this god-forsaken sport. Personally, I
know the Sabres are good, the Red Wings are
probably doing well and the Capitals are terri-
ble. The league didn't help its cause by broad-
casting the playoffs on a widely unavailable
network. I'd watch bowling or pool before I'd
watch the NHL playoffs. I'd watch my room-
mate watch the "O.C." on the SOAP network
before I'd watch the NHL playoffs. I'd even
watch Reggie Evans and Chris Kaman "play"
again before I'd watch the NHL playoffs.
SB: Show some faith, my friend. Sure, more
people bought tickets to Kevin Federline's
."Playing With Fire" U.S. Tour than to the
NHL playoffs, but that was last year. This
season, things are different.
Last year there was no star power. Players
like Eric Staal and IlyaKovalchuk found plac-
es atop the NHL's top-10 scoring leaders. But
now the big guns are back in full force, ready
to put the NHL back on the map for good. I
dare anyone to look me in the eye and tell me
you could change the channel of a game with
Thomas Vanek and Nicklas Backstrom play-
ing. If that's not a good time, then I guess I
don't know what fun is.
OK, I give up, I can't say this and keep a
straight face.
What time is "Dancing With the Stars"
on?

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W~enays

17th Annual University of Michigan
Golden Apple Award
TOMORROW
Wednesday, April 11
7:30 PM at Rackham Auditorium
w 2Andrel Markovits
Presents his ideal last lecture
Sports as Culture on
Two Continents:
Metaphors for My Life
Presented by SHOUT
Students Honoring Outstanding
University Teachers
Opening Remarks:
Lester Monts, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Af-
fairs
Co-sponsored by: Athletic Department, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, College of Engineering, College of
LS&A, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Department of English Language & Literature, Department of Germanic
Languages and Literature, Department of History, Department of Political Science, Division of Kinesiology, Division of Student
Affairs, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Interfraternity Council, Jean & Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, LS&A
Student Government, Michigan Student Assembly, Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Panhellenic Association,
Provost's Council on Student Honors, Residential College, School of Education, School of Natural Resources and Environment,
School of Social Work, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan Alumni Association, University Library,
University of Michigan Law School
h~elit.

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