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December 02, 2009 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-12-02

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8A - Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

M' feels early urgency in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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Vith undersized the Wolverines are taking a mea-
sured approach into tonight's
ters, outside shots ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup
against Boston College, a game that
y against Eagles now carries much more weight
than it did just one week ago.
By GJON JUNCAJ "There's probably a little more of
Daily Sports Writer a sense of urgency," sophomore for-
ward Zack Novak said.
re's no such thing as a "must- The Eagles (4-2) enter Crisler
in Novem- Arena in a similar bind. They have
t with a 3-2 BC a also already dropped two games
, the Michi- . and are in need of an early-season
en's basket- Midhigan statement win to prevent any serious
im suddenly Matchup: BC blemishes from staining their NCAA
itself with 4-2; Michi- Tournament r6sum6.
'er margin gan 3-2 Boston College also brings some
rror, espe- When: Tonight potential schematic advantages over
with a non- 7:30 P.M. the Wolverines. Coach Al Skinner's
ence slate Where: flex-motion offense emphasizes
icludes road Crisler Arena repeated screens down low to free
at Utah and up shooters in the high post and cut-
nked Kansas TV: CSPN2 ters along the baseline. It's an attack
next three Live Blog: that Michigan coach John Beilein
michigandaily. admits he had a lot of trouble plan-
ning off com ning against when coaching at West
of losses in last weekend's Virginia, and the Wolverines' 1-3-1
Spice Classic tournament, zone defense struggled at times last

weekend in reacting to opposing
guards slashingthrough the lane.
"I think our understanding of it
(must improve)," Beilein said. "A lot
of it is trying to figure out who plays
well in areas (of the floor). You don't
know until you get to playing against
really good teams who's goingtto per-
form the best in it."
Senior forward DeShawn Sims
said the Wolverines struggled
against the flex during the two
teams' last meeting, in the 2007
ACC/Big Ten Challenge - a 77-64
loss - and said the key this time will
be having a strong feel for the game
flow.
"Everyone knows the flex
offense," Sims said. "(It's) just dis-
cipline and not watching the ball,
because there's so many cuts in a flex
offense. If you watch the ball, that's
how you get buried."
Boston College also features a
bulky frontcourt, led by juniors
Corey Raji and Joe Trapani, who has
been fighting illness recently but is
expected to playtonight. The two are

averaging a combined 30 points and
13.5 rebounds per game, and lead an
aggressive corps ofbigmenthathave
dominated the glass this season with
a plus-11 reboundingimargin.
Despite that, Beilein said he will
stick with his four-guard lineup and
focus on ball movement to create
open looks from the outside. Novak
has attempted just 23 shots in five
games, and the Michigan coaching
staff wants to give him more touch-
es along the perimeter in hopes of
jumpstarting a three-point attack
that shot just a combined 5-of-45
behind the arc against Marquette
and Alabama.
"t's a given that if we're not
shooting 37 percent from three or
making eight to 10 a game, it's very
difficult for us to win," Beilein said.
"With our size, it's hard to stop some
people because they're going to get
offensive rebounds.
"There's times we need to out-
score people when we're playing
against really huge teams that can
get us on the backboard a little bit."

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CLI REEDER/Daily
Sophomore Zack Novak has attempted just 23 shots through five games this year
after averaging the third-most points per game (6.7) on the team ast season.
Caporusso's leap
to second line
pays offfor Blue
By NICK SPAR formed line hasn't looked back
Daily Sports Writer since.
In the last three games, it has
If the Michigan hockey teami produced five goals, none more
has any chance of extending the imnportant than the game win-
nation's longest active streak for net last weekend by Caporusso
consecutive NCAA Tornament against then-No. 15 Wisconsin.
appearances, junior center Louie Treis and Wohbergeach earned
Caporusse Will probably need assists on the play.
to be the team's mose itmportant But what's clicking for Capo-
player on offense. russo with Wohlberg and Treais
The Wolserines are clearly that didn't clik with Hagelin
a better teaim when Caporusso and Brown?
finds his scoring touch. A victory He was clearly surrounded
over Niagara in late October was by talent before the switch was
the last gamre they won without made. After all,MHagelin leads the
CaporUsso registering a point. team in points and Brown is tied
Since then, he has netted seven for second. Treas, on the other
points in the teamt's five wins and hand, had only one point in nine
just two in the team's six losses. games before the line change.
So it should come as no sur- "They have learned to play off
prise that Caporusso's recent of each other," associate head
rise in production coincides with coach Mel Pearson said. "I think
Michigan's first three-game win- we're just starting to see some of
ning streak of the season. Last the benefits of that. But as time
year's Hobey Baker finalist is cur- goes on, they have the poten-
rently riding a four-ganue Point tial to be an even higher scoring
streak, which came after Michi- line."
gan coach Red Berenson made a The possibility of the line
key lineup change. becoming a more proficient
Caporusso had been on the offense force is contingent on
first line with junior Carl Hagelin Treais' maturation. While Beren-
and freshman Chris Brown, argu- son has enough confidence to
ably Michigan's two most prolific play him with Caporusso and
offensive threats so far this sea- Wohlberg - Michigan's top two
son. But after four straight losses goal scorers a season ago - he
that included just four Wolverine still believes there is room for
goals, Caporusso was moved to improvement.
the second line with sophomore "I have seen (his game) grow,"
David Wohlberg and freshnan Berenson said. "I'm pretty criti-
A.J. Treais. cal of players. I am expecting
"I put Treais with Caporusso an end product probably sooner
because A.J. is really good s ith than we are going to see it."
the puck, and I thinkbhe canimake one of the major obstacles for
plays to Louie," Bereson said on Treas is his move from center to
Nov. 16 after he made the switch, right wing. Center is his natural
"Wohlberg and Caporusso had a position, andBerenson thinksthe
good history last year, but they shift will teach him to contribute
both got off to slow starts this without the puck.
year. Now we're putting them And playing alongside some-
back togeher and hopefully one of Caporusso's caliber is
they're ready to take off." another challenge that will ben-
Immediately, the trio shaved efithis level ofplay.
Berenson's line change was wise. "When I'm playing with good
Caporusso put Michigan on the players like (Louie), it elevates
board off a pass fro Wlohlberg my game," Treas said. "I have to
within 10 minutes of the line's be faster and I have to compete a
first game together against Bowl- little better when I'm with him.
ing Green. There's pressure on me to play
- Despite the fact that the Wol- good when I'm playing with him,
verines went on to lose their because I look to him as a leader
fifth straight contest, the newly on this team and asa goal scorer."

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