4B - Monday, December 8, 2008
The Daily football
writers predict what will
happen in the
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
No.lAlabama(9.5)vsNo.ZFlorida Alabaaa Florida Alabama Alabama
No.4Oklahoma (-17) vs. No.19 Missouri Missouri Missouri Missouri Oklahoma Oklahoma
No. 5 Southern Cal (-33) vs. UCLA UCLA UCLA Southern Cal UCLA UCLA
No.B12eall State (-15) vs. Buffalo Buffalo Ball State Ball State eallState.Ball State
No.13 Cincinnati (-7.5) at Hawaii Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati.Cincinnati Cincinnati
No. 18eoston College (PK)oVirginia Tech Virginia Tech BostonCollege Boston College Boston College.Boston College
No. 23Pittsburgh (+3) atlConnecticut Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh
esteBet Virginia Tech Cincinnati Soutern Ca...Boston College Oklahoma
Record This Week 4-3 (1-0) 2-5 (0-1) 2-5(0-1) 3-4 (0-1) 3-4 (1-0)
Overall Record 170-137-6 (8-5-2) 157-150-6 (10-4-1) 173-134-6 (11-3-1).168-139-6 (6-8-1).158-149-6 (6-8-1)
In addition to the four Daily football writers and guest picker Bob Gartland,
a special contributor made his picks this week.
To watch Bentley the dachshund make his picks,
head to www.michigandaily.com.
i s steps upin iggestgame of
his car tolea d' 'astDuke
By JASON KOHLER
Daily Sports Writer
As a kid, junior DeShawn Sims
never dreamed of beating Duke.
"Idreamed aboutbeing at Duke,"
the power forward said. "So just
being able to beat a team that's so
superior as the Duke program, you
can definitely tell the story for the
rest of your life."
Before Saturday's game against
the fourth-ranked. Blue Devils,
Sims knew he would need to have
a good game if the Michigan men's
basketball team was going to pull
off the upset.
In last month's 71-56 loss to the
Blue Devils, Duke held Sims to a
season-low 10 points. Saturday, he
had 11in the first half and finished
with a career-high 28.
"Definitely biggest game of my
career," Sims said. "Biggest game I
Sims came out firing, scoring
Michigan's first two baskets. He
missed a number of seemingly easy
layups earlier in the game, but it
didn't affect his confidence.
In New York, Sims was pushed
around by Duke's big men and
wasn't an offensive threat inside.
Saturday, Sims pushed back.
He outmaneuvered the Duke
defense in the paint all game.
About five minutes into the game,
Sims received a pass on the left,
block and backed down Blue Devil
forward Kyle Singler for an easy
hook shot. A few possessions later,
he showed his range, draining a
Last year, Sims played more on
the perimeter to spread the oppos-
ingteam's defense. Michigancoach
John Beilein moved Sims closer to
the basket this season. The move
allows him to play more of a 15-foot
game, but still allows him to step
out for occasional 3-pointers.
"Last year, we tried to make him
a perimeter four," Beilein said. "It
was helpful because he has more
skill than before, but he really loves
that middle of the floor whether
it's in the block or whatever. He's
passing the ball. He's getting more
comfortable with what he has to
Moving Sims inside has forced
him to be a more physical and com-
plete player. Michigan has strug-
gled to grab rebounds this season,
but Sims is leading the team with
8.4 per game. He tied his season
high with 12 rebounds Saturday.
"He played with a lot of matu-
rity," Duke coach Mike Krzyze-
wski said. "I thought a couple of
rebounds in the first half were
huge for them. He came up with
some bigtime rebounds and a cou-
ple really nice passes, and that's
not something he's been doing as
As the final seconds ticked off
the clock, the Michigan students
stormed the court and Sims found
himself pushing through the
After making his way through
the crowd, Sims jogged into the
tunnel towards the locker room,
stopping to hug Michigan football
coach Rich Rodriguez and some
other friends. Later, as the media
poured into the locker room and
surrounded Sims, he cracked a
smile, telling the story of the big-
gest game of his career.
"I've never been through a stam-
pede," Sims said. "The only thing I
heard about a stampede is a guy
passing out because it was too hot,
so I just tried to get out of there.
But I'd rather a stampede than
guys going home, walking to their
cars mad at another bad Michigan
get the crowd into it a little bit
- a momentum swinger. I think
that's my job - come in, hit open
Novak was one of four Wolver-
ines to tally nine or more points,
including sophomore small for-
ward Manny Harris who had
17. But the game's standout was
junior power forward DeShawn
Before the matchup, Sims had
a message for his team about the
competition: "They're fast, but
they're not a Ferrari."
Sims echoed the confidence
this team has had since October.
The Detroit native led Michi-
gan with a career-high 28 points
and tied a career-high with 12
rebounds, but his performance
was part of a team-wide effort to
put the brakes on Duke's speed.
From tipoff, Michigan kept
Duke from looking like a national
championship contender. The
Wolverines outrebounded, out-
hustled and outplayed the Blue
Devils in the end.
Duke never led by more than
six points, and the Wolverines
held their largest advantage, 10
points, with fewer than 30 sec-
onds to play.
The Blue Devils didn't help
their cause by attempting a sea-
son-high 33 3-pointers and con-
necting on just seven. Duke's
dismal performance from behind
the arc allowed Michigan to
successfully fight for, defensive
rebounds and run its transition
"They're very difficult to score
against in half court," Michigan
coach John Beilein said. "They
lock you up, make you go back
door, make you dribble-drive,
and we were a little better at that
this time than we were last time.
... Our transition offense has been
very good to us this year, just like
it's one of Duke's fortes as well."
Sophomore point guard Kelvin
Grady took control in the second
half, matching the Blue Devils'
speed by finding open lanes and
teammates. He finished with a
4:0 assist-to-turnover ratio.
In the game's final minutes,
he hit 5-of-6 crucial free throws,
from the charity stripe.
Following the game, Beilein
said he was "stuck for words."
"They deserved the victory,"
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Michigan fans rush the court after the Wolverines upset No. 4 Duke on Saturday.
From Page 1B
gan free throw - my ears were
ringing as if I were at a rock con-
Although I may have sustained
some minor inner-ear damage, it
was worth it to see Michigan fans
excited about the team, the same
squad that desperately struggled
to sell student tickets just a few
Freshman Zack Novak stood
triumphantly in the locker room
after the game, his maize-colored
jersey smeared with blue body
paint. Eight students had painted
themselves blue and, with yel-
low-painted letters, spelled out
"MICHIGAN." They gave Novak
congratulatory chest bumps and
hugs after rushing the court.
While Duke coach Mike
Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils
were being led off the floor by
police, Michigan fans trampled
the benches on their way to the
court, leaving a heaping pile of
chairs, popcorn and spilled pop
in their wake. They sang "The
Victors," jumped around and cel-
ebrated with the team duringthe
mosh pit at midcourt.
"It was crazy, but it was sweet,"
said Novak, still beaming about
the whole postgame experience.
It was quite a scene. There's no
doubt about that, but does it ulti-
mately amount to anything? What
are the chances that Crisler Arena
is as crazy next Saturday as it was
"It's a good arena, but we get
everyone's best shot," Coach K
said. "You know, it's party time
when we come, everywhere.
I watched the (Michiganvs.)
Savannah State tape, and you
didn't have many seats filled at
all. Come here all the time and
do that. That's when you have a
really great arena."
Krzyzewski said that with an
almost daring tone, calling on the
Michigan fan base to get behind
this team. And nothing is going
to create a spark in Beilein's pro-
gram like wins - and he already
has two against top-five teams
this season. Michigan needs to
build off this momentum and fin-
ish the nonconference schedule
strong so this victory doesn't fade
in the minds of fans.
And the Wolverines will. With
the senior leadership from pre-
game speech-givers C.J. Lee and
David Merritt, the sheer talent
of Manny Harris, the tenacity
of DeShawn Sims and the pure
shooting ability of Zack Novak,
Michigan is poised to do enough
on the court this season to help
build that atmosphere at Crisler
for every game.
If you're kicking yourself about
missing the Duke game - don't.
The Wolverines are goingto pro-
vide more than enough celebra-
tion-worthy moments this season.
- Reid can be reached at