2B - Monday, February 11, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaiiy.com
It might not be pretty but
Michigan hoops is worth it
Senior Eric Tannenbaum captured a 10-4 victory against Ohio State, but a controversial no-call on a takedown in the closing
seconds gave him just a minor decision. The match was a deciding factor in the Wolverines' 16-15 loss.
Lak ofbonus points dooms
iI nweeken1-ld road tripd
By IAN KAY . Such missed opportunities ulti-
Daily Sports Writer mately loomed huge for Michigan
as it fell to the No. 7 Buckeyes, 16-
On a weekend of missed oppor- 15, yesterday at St. John Arena in
tunities for the Michigan wres- Columbus.
tling team, even fifth-year senior "It was one of those losses
captain Eric Tannenbaum's key where every single point that
victory MICHIGAN 15. could have gone against us did,"
't OHIO STATE 16 Tannebaum said.
be con- The same could be said of the
sidered a MICHIGAN 14 Wolverines' 20-14 loss to No. 10
complete PENN STATE 20 Penn State in State College Fri-
Leading 10-4 with just 12 sec- With Penn State ahead, 17-14,
onds left in his 165-pound match, the dual's final match went to
the third-ranked Tannenbaum overtime.
shot at Ohio State's eighth-ranked In the waning seconds of the
Colt Sponseller, bringing him to extra frame, the Nittany Lions'
the mat. Though Tannenbaum 18th-ranked heavyweight John
appeared to have control over Laboranti used a single-leg shot
both of Sponseller's legs, the ref- to bring Michigan redshirt fresh-
eree refused to issue a takedown. man Chad Bleske to the mat for a
Tannenbaum settled for a six- takedown.
point decision win, giving No. 6 Though the Michigan bench
Michigan three team points. Had protested vehemently that the
he gained the extra takedown, the clock had run out before Laboran-
victory would have been a major ti gained control, officials upheld
decision and would have provided the ruling, giving Penn State the
the Wolverines an extra bonus match and the dual.
point. Against Penn State, Michigan
briefly took the lead after picking
up major decisions from Tannen-
baum at 165 pounds and redshirt
junior captain Tyrel Todd at 184.
But Saturday, the Wolverines
were unable to record bonus
points in any match.
Ohio State gained one at 149
pounds when fifth ranked Lance
Palmer defeated redshirt junior
Justin Chrzanowski 10-2. Chr-
zanowski, who originally did not
even make the trip to Columbus,
filled in for fifth-year senior cap-
tain Josh Churella, who was ill:
Churella did wrestle, and won,
against Penn State.
Todd, who had provided the
Wolverines with bonus points in
13 of his previous matches, broke
his 21-match winning streak in a
6-5 loss to Ohio State's 3rd-ranked
"Bonus points are huge," Mich-
igan coach Joe McFarland said.
"We need to continue to build on
our leads, look to get those majors,
those pins, tech falls. Those kinds
of things that can help us at the
(Big Ten) tournament."
The Michigan men's bas-
ketball team won a game
I'm hoping you already know
this, since the game story is on the
front page. But in case you missed
it, there's my PSA.
years ago, an
would have ;
sary. It's not
have greatly SCOTT
during my time BELL
est in the basketball team has
Three years ago, the team
wasn't all that different. It still had
some youngtalent:bu couldn t get
over the hump and consistently
win games. But it had one plus
this year's squad doesn't have (and
the answer isn't Tommy Amaker):
Games sold out. The Maize Rage
was filled to the brim. If a wide-
eyed freshman like me wanted a
good seat, he had to get there 90
minutes before tipoff and sneak
into the section.
The scene now? You can come
at halftime and have your choice
of about a hundred spots in the
The Michigan men's basketball
team has become an afterthought
on campus. And that's sad, because
this should be an exciting time for
Much like with next season's
football team, now's a great time to
see an exciting new brand of ball.
John Beilein's squad is obviously
struggling in its first season, but
the Rich Rodriguez juggernaut
won't be at full steam without
some struggles, either. Still, I
doubt Bill Martin is worried about
selling out the Big House next year.
Yet, a sellout is laughable for
the basketball program these days.
The joke "I wouldn't see those
guys play for free" has become
a reality in the past few years,
when Crisler Arena hasn't filled up
even when there are free student
But aside from the occasional
voucher (more a way to save face
on national TV during the ACC/_
Big Ten Challenge than a true
attempt to market the basketball
team), the Athletic Department
is doing very little to change this
Sure, they've put in a new
lighting system this year, and it
looks great. But what was almost
certainly Beilein's suggestion dur-
ing his contract negotiations isn't
enough for now. If fans are going
to be stuck with the eyesore that
is Crisler Arena for the foresee-
able future, then renovations need
to begin now. And hey, it won't
even screw up people's graduation
. It's embarrassing to walk past
the BigHouse, which is currently
undergoing work that costs a
quarter billion dollars, and set your
eyes upon Crisler Arena, which the
Athletic Department apparently
thinks has cooties. Having been
to nearly every Big Ten basketball
venue, it's safe to say that Crisler
Arena is among the worst. That's
pretty embarrassing considering
the University of Michigan's Ath-
letic Department is one of the few
in the NCAA that doesn't operate
in the red.
It's not that Martin doesn't care
or isn't willingto spend the money
- other teams are seeing improve-
ments and reaping the benefits.
The Fish is going to look complete-
ly different this spring. There will
be anew soccer facility next sea-
son. And oh yeah, I hear Michigan
Stadium might be getting a little
tweaking done, too.
So why can't this translate to
the basketball program? It's been
nearly a decade since the Ed Mar-
tin scandal. Officials shouldn't be
afraid to promote a once-proud
program that gave the university a
black eye. It's time to move on.
It's not all on the Athletic
Department, though. Fans should
be there no matter what facility
the games are played in.
Two weekends ago, fans "cel-
ebrated" - I use that term lightly,
because of the funeral vibe that
reverberated through Crisler - the
40th anniversary of the House
that Cazzie built. Michigan met
Minnesota on that day, definitely a
winnable home game. Fans should
have been excited for the chance
of a rare win and for the Michigan
legend they'd see at the game.
Cazzie Russell, the man who put
Wolverine basketball on the map,
was in attendance.
Most of you, however, were not.
Michigan lost, and like this past
week, the majority of students had
no idea until they picked up the
Daily to read about it.
After the game, Michigan
fan and university alum Jerry,
Acker wrote to the Daily with
his thoughts on the dismal show-
ing, but he wasn't referring toathe
Wolverines' poor play against the
Gophers. Instead, he was upset
with the student body's atten-
dance. Here's an excerpt:
"The ones who didn't show up
were the Michigan students," he
wrote. "It was embarrassing that
the meager student section was a
third empty. Where is the student
body at these games? Do you only
show up when you are guaranteed
a win? Our team, though not very
good yet, works hard and shows
up. It's about time for the students
of Michigan to do the same."
I can remember standing up
in the Maize Rage as a freshman
and getting on the "old fans" for
not cheering. In close games and
Michiganblowouts, we'd motion
for the older crew to stand up and
chant "Onyour feet."
Three years later, they're taunt-
ing us, laughing at our lack of sup-
So here's a solution: instead of
one side waitingfor the other to
act in good faith, how about both
sides step up and push for change?
Athletic Department: put some
money into Crisler Arena. Promote
the team. Give Beilein whatever
resources he needs to make this
team into a winning program
like he's had everywhere else. If
you build it, they will come. Fans
watch winning programs.
Fans: Act like fans. Your team
doesn't always win? Boo hoo.
Sticking with a team through
the rough times will make the
good times all the more enjoy-
able. And if you come to games
and show you're dedicated, the
Athletic Department will invest
money in the program with
Five years from now, the
Michigan men's basketball team
will be among the upper echelon
of the Big Ten teams. Instead of
fighting to be a part of March
Madness, it will be jockeying for
a good seed in the NCAA Tour-
nament. Ican make that predic-
tion with no reservations. I truly
Make sure it's the team you
followed through the struggles,
not one you have to reacquaint
yourself with after a decade-
- Bell can be reached
1120 Weill Hall
735 S. State Street, Ann Arbor
February 13, 2008, 4:00-5:30 pm
Free and open to the public, reception to follow.
ie IIarry A. and Margaret D. TI Cltwsley Foundation P licymaker in Residence
The Czech Republic
Martin Palous in the Beginning of the
Permanent Rep rpsentative of then Cech Repub i
to the United Nat:ons, orrer Ahbassador of the21st (er t r
Cze h u1 l c to lte United States.
Center for Russian and Eastern Eu
Gerald R. Ford
School of Public Policy
Zan Studies UmNiEsm 'iOF MIC~ANo