The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, March 11, 2010 - 5A
Inconsistency makes Big Ten
Tourney a mystery for Blue
Kampfer looks to
year against MSU
Wolverines will take
on Iowa in first-
round matchup today
By JOE STAPLETON
Daily Sports Editor
It's hard for fans to be confident
about anything about the
Michigan men's basketball team
this season, including the result
of the Wolverines' game against
Iowa in the first round of the Big
When they Michigan
seem like they're Matchup: lowa
on a roll, they lay 10-21; Michi-
an egg (the home gan 14-16
loss to Penn State
after consecutive 2:30 p.m.
against Iowa Where:
and Minnesota Cose
comes to mind).
When they seem TV/Radio:
like they're down ESPN2
and out, they get
a big win (the recent blowout win
at home against Minnesota on
senior night after losing three
But despite all of the
inconsistency, and despite the
most recent loss at Michigan State
on Sunday - probably the most
uninspired game the Wolverines
have played in a season full of
them - Michigan coach John
Beilein is still confident about one
"We've bounced back after
some very disappointing losses
this year," Beilein said. "I'm not
going to go into this confident of
an NCAA Tourney bid -- we go in
confident we're going to play hard
It should be a reasonable
expectation of a team whose next
loss represents the end of the
Beilein has already publicly
ruled out the College Basketball
Invitational, a 16-team
tournament played at on-campus
sites and for which teams must
pay a fee to play.
And the National Invitational
Tournament appears to be a
Despite the NIT changing
the rules in 2006 to allow teams
with records below .500, no team
below .500 has ever made it.
"I know it's much more difficult
to get to the NIT than it was years
ago. Any BCS school that had a
pretty good record was usually
going to go," Beilein said. "The
NCAA selects it now, and there's
a lot of good schools that have had
better years than us."
The Wolverines will start their
"new season," as they choose
to look at it, at 2:30 p.m. today
against Iowa. Michigan has
already beaten the Hawkeyes
twice this year - in a blowout
at Crisler and a nail-biter in Des
In the second meeting, which
the Wolverines won in overtime,
Hawkeye forward Aaron Fuller
had a tremendous game, scoring
30 points on an incredibly
efficient 13 shots.
At 6-foot-6, he occupies that
forward spot where Michigan is
so undersized. In today's game,
sophomore Zack Novak, who's
used to handling players much
taller, will most likely be checking
"He's that rugged four-man
that we've had trouble matching
up with," Beilein said. "He plays
much bigger than 6-6 because he
just really gets to the rim with
or without the ball. He's been
difficult for us."
Despite this being the third
meeting between the teams,
Beilein said there will definitely
be some new wrinkles he hasn't
seen yet on film.
"There's always surprises,"
Beilein said. "There's always
going to be new looks and new
to be c
mmers's injury defensively as of late, and it's been
getting my offensive numbers up.
ns leadership spot obviously, when you're out there
you want to be a plus."
'D for Kampfer Heading into this weekend's
best-of-three CCHA quarterfinal
By MARK BURNS series at Michigan State, Kamp-
Daily SportsEditor fer's minutes could potentially
increase with the loss of senior
s-minus ratings don't nec- defenseman Chris Summers to
ly tell the whole story of a what Berenson is calling a lower
y player's performance - a body injury. Kampfer emphasized
ular individual may just be how the team will have to lock
ate or unfortunate enough down even more defensively with
in the ice for a goal or a goal the loss of the Phoenix Coyote
Michigan hockey defense- Throughout the season, the
teve Kampfer, that certainly team has coughed up pucks in the
t the case after his second defensive zone, leading to point-
r plus-six rating this past blank opportunities for oppos-
lay against Lake Superior ing teams and has been victim
to a plethora of odd-man rushes
Kampfer remains modest as well, particularly against the
his career numbers. Spartans in previous matchups.
viously, at the end of the Berenson reiterated that if the
(on Saturday) you realize Wolverines can play "as close to
t's kind of fluky," Kampfer mistake-free hockey" defensively
"You get the bounces your and capitalize on its offensive
certain night. One night chances, the team will be in pretty
ight be minus two, but some decent shape.
you'll have a good night. It's And for Kampfer - who had
but you just want the team to to deal with on-the-ice issues last
season with the Spartans, when
ording to Michigan coach Andrew Conboy and Corey Tropp
erenson, Kampfer is having viciously attacked him - this
st season donning the maize series is his last hoorah against
ue. the intrastate rivals. After Michi-
his final year in Ann Arbor, gan lost three of four games to the
ckson native has registered Spartans this year, the Wolverines
eer-high 18 points and is will look toward Kampfer to head
am's top-rated defensemen the blueliners as they look to cap
a plus-12 line. He also leads a late-season CCHA playoff run
efensive corps in shots on with a berth in the CCHA semifi-
a testament to his height- nals next weekend.
level of involvement on the "I've seen him grow this year
r play, where he's found and take responsibility," Beren-
to get pucks on net through son said. "I've seen his game come
c. together with the puck and with-
is year has been my best out the puck. That's what college
;o far," Kampfer said. "I've should be about. You start here,
to focus more on defense and then - it's not always a per-
t that translate into offense. fect scenario - but you end up in
ik I've been playing solid the right place."
Junior Manny Harris, pictared here, strsled lasm weekend tagainst Michigan State
on Sanday, scoringijust four pnints on 1-for-il shoting frm the field.
things but you can't outfox McLimans and Jordan Morgan
yourself either, that's really have left Michigan with few scout
important." team players to speak of. Beilein
Should the Wolverines win, said freshman Eso Akunne and
they would play Ohio State at redshirt junior Anthony Wright
noon on Friday. have been playing at the forward
NOTES: Injuries to Blake and center spots in practice.
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