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March 15, 2010 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-03-15

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2B - March 15, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Mad at Michigan, not March

Jwoke up yesterday morning
with a distinct feeling in the
pit of my stomach - Selec-
tion Sunday, one of my favorite
sports days of the year, was going
to be a sad, depressing state of
affairs this
season, espe-
cially after the
of the view-
ing party at
Crisler Arena
last year.0
I knew I ANDY
was going to R
hate watching
all the confer-
ence cham-
pionship games, stewing about
the Wolverines' dismal 15-win
season, which ended in just about
the worst way possible. I knew
I was going to hate John Wall,
Evan Turner and other teams'
go-to players in the wake of
Manny Harris's less-than-stellar
And I knew that the actual
show, watching the teams cel-
ebrate tourney berths, was going
to make me nauseated.

But you know what? I enjoyed
myself. Just hecause Michigan
made the tournament once
doesn't mean I forgot what it was
like not to have a direct rooting
interest in the field.
It wasn't hard to get over the
grieving process after Turner's
ridiculous shot, because I've hit
the seven signs throughout the
regular season:
This stage came rather early.
Do you remember that terrible
three-game stretch when Michi-
gan took its first serious NCAA
Tournament blow? Losses to
Marquette, Alabama, and Bos-
ton College - only one of which
made the tournament - and I
was ready to deny.
Of course Michigan is going
to make the tournament, I told
myself. The shooters have to hit
their strides and the Wolverines
will roll through the Big Ten.
Losing to Northwestern at
home. I don't want to talk about it
any more than that.

A court-rush-inducingwin over
No. 15 Connecticut. Okay. It took
some time but the final push is
here, and it's going to be a hell of a
second-half run.
The Michigan State loss a week
later. As any of the dozens of Spar-
ty fans who saw my very, very sad
cameo on ESPN and texted me to
rub it in can attest, I was definitely
depressed that night.
Consecutive road wins at Min-
nesota and Iowa, and even though
the season's almost over, I'm at
least feeling okay about it.
I had no hopes of a Big Ten Tour-
ney title - just try hard, guys.
Season's over. On to the next one.
So now Ican really enjoy the com-
ing weeks, though I didn't think I
could before.
I'm loving that Pat Forde is pick-
ing Baylor to be in the Final Four

- even though former;Michigan
standout Ekpe Udoh is lighting up
the scoreboard for the Bears.
I actually feel worse for Vir-
ginia Tech than Michigan (how
could you not? The Hokies had a
better record than Wake Forest
and Georgia Tech, and beat them
head-to-head but still got shafted
in favor of both teams).
And I've even moved into that
regional love, where I'm rooting
for teams like Michigan State and
Minnesota. Although I still can't
bring myself to side with the Buck-
When all was said and done
and Dickie V's last words were
said, I felt good at the end of the
day. March Madness is in full
swing, I've already gone through
too many matchup scenarios in
my head and picked my favorite
mascots in those few early-round
games that are too close to call.
Michigan or no Michigan, it's
still March.
- Reid doesn't know if he's more
excited for the NCAA Tournament
or IM Broomball. He can be
reached at andyreid@umich.edu

Wolverines defend
Beilein's call on

Michigan defeats four eastern squads, wins
Wolverine Invitational by a combined 81-20

Daily Sports Writer Mercyl

This weekend was a story of
numbers at the Wolverine Invita-
tional. The water polo team took
to the pools of the Canham Nata-
torium against five smaller schools
that the Michigan student body
out-populates 41,674-16,369.
This immense disparity was
never more evident than against
Grove City, which happens to share
the Wolverine as its mascot. No. 8
Michigan carries a full 31-person
squad. Its Pennsylvanian counter-
part is a small Division III school
without the ability to award ath-
letic scholarships. With a simple
glance down the benches it was
clearly a mismatch; Michigan had
five strings to Grove City's 13 play-
ers. Michigan went on to win that
match 18-S.
The Friday-Saturday invitation-
al saw Michigan (9-0 CWPA, 20-6
overall) sweep the competition,
destroying all of its opponents.
From Page 1B
"It was very fitting that Sarah
would come out on top tonight,"
Plocki said. "I think everybody
wanted to win it so badly for the
seniors ... everybody wanted it
to be this kind of night for our
seniors, and everybody stepped it
up a notch."
And in usual fashion, Curtis
took home top honors with the
all-around, but didn't even have
to win any other events to win
the spot.
"That's kind of been my his-
tory," Curtis said.
"I'm not exactly the person
that is great on anything. I'm not
going to guarantee that I win
anything, but I'm pretty consis-
tent on everything. That makes
me a great person for this team,
because I contribute in all events,
and I'm not the person who nec-
essarily wants to win every-
On a night littered with sto-
rylines, another major improve-
ment came from senior Maureen
Moody, who overcame a few dis-
appointing meets recently to win
the uneven bars title with a score

the tea


Wolverines beat Gannon, determine seeding for the NCAA
hurst, Iona, Grove City and Tournament.
by a combined 81-20. The But the invitational was over-
dding invitational served as shadowed by the anticipation for
ation for early-round NCAA the upcoming Fluid Four which
ment games. includes a rematch with No. 16
have to make sure we play Indiana. The intensity of the rival-
ms on the east that can go ry game is escalated by being the
first televised match of Big Ten
schools. The match, which will
take place in Ann Arhor on Sat-
We have to ... urday April 3, has brought much
excitement to the Michigan locker
ty teams that room.
go to the "I think a lot of players are
hoping to become movie stars or
)ur'nament." actresses," Anderson said. "It's big
because it'sgoing to be nationwide
and it's Michigan-Indiana - that's
an outstanding rivalry in women's
water polo. I'm just very happy the
NCAA Tournament," Mich- Big Ten decided to make their first
oach Matt Anderson said. Big Ten Network game a Michigan
as a decent shot of winning game."
inference and Siena as well" The Wolverines have struggled
weekend will both help recently with fifth-year senior
rize the Wolverines with goalie Brittany May and senior
e opponents and could captain Leah Robertson both

to the T
igan cc
"Iona h
their co

if 9.850.
Beilstein made another bid for
the Big Ten's top freshman with
her performance, sticking a 9.950
to start the evening on vault, and
topping it off with her solid floor
Although her scores have come
as no surprise this season, Beil-
stein has offered more than any-
one could have expected.
"Before going on' the floor,
(Michigan assistant coach Shan-
non Welker) just said to Kylee
and me, 'You two are the last girls
up, and you are the strongest, and
these are the scores we need,' "
Beilstein said.
"And I went out there and
made my score count, and it did,
and we came out with the win,"
she added.
With the Big Ten Champion-
ships looming just two weeks
away, Michigan has hit its stride,
but another huge test will come
on Friday when the Wolverines
head to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for a
clash of two of the nation's best
"Now we are going in to meet
No. 1 Alabama," Plocki said. "I
think this is just building a lot of
confidence forcus and I think that
we can take on anybody."

From Page 1B
-takes, but for the most part we
had four good counting scores,"
Golder said. "Even though we
made some mistakes, I think we
only had to count a mistake one
time. That's the big difference.
Before, we were making three or
four mistakes on the same event."
With only one dual meet left,
the team sees this weekend's per-
formance as a keybuildingblock.
"I think (the momentum) will
help us," Golder said. "We want-
ed to prove ourselves that we can
go on the road and have a good
meet, and we did have a pretty
darn good meet. It's just another
thing that they have that they can
draw on and it should give them
Next Saturday, Michigan will
take on Ohio State at 7 p.m. at Cliff
Keen Arena. For senior night, the
Wolverines will be looking to end
the season with a bang.
"We're excited for them to
have a last hurrah for their home
Michigan experience and we're
really looking forward to staying
at home and having a good meet,"
Kelley said.

injured. They have been resting
recently in order to come back for
conference and national champi-
onships coming up in April.
"We didn't need to play (Rob-
ertson) this weekend," Anderson
said. "April is when our champion-
ship portion of the season is and
that's when you want to be at your
best, and that's when we're going
to have Leah back."
May did see some pool action
this weekend, and despite a shoul-
der injury, she was still able to pick
up her 50th career win.
"Brittany's meant the world
to us these last couple of years,"
Anderson said. "Today was a home
tournament a chance for her to
play and get her 50th career win.
We'll let the doctor determine
whether she's going to play the
Fluid Four."
The Wolverines will look to
continue their impressive season
in two weeks on a national scale as
a once again complete and healthy
From Page 1B
back, it's just disappointing."
Senior DeShawn Sims was
playing in probably his last
game as a Wolverine, and he
made it count.
He put the team on his back
in the first half, scoring 12
points on 5-of-7 shooting and
singlehandedly kept the Wol-
verines in the game.
The second half was the
Manny Harris Show. Harris
scored 22 of his 26 points in the
second frame, going to the line
and knifing his way through the
interior of the Ohio State (14-4,
25-7) defense.
The amazing shots he hit at
the end of the game were sup-
posed to be the cherries on
top of a pantheon-level perfor-
mance, but ended up instead
being footnotes.
"Coach drew up good plays,
I was able to make some shots,"
Harris said. "I don't think none
of that matters now that Evan
made that incredible shot. It
was good to make shots, but at
the same time, I wish we would
have won that game."

Beilein: Turner as likely
as anyone to make
miracle half-court shot
Daily Sports Editor
INDIANAPOLIS - It may have
been the Michigan men's basketball
team's best game this season.
And it may have been the most
important shot of Manny Harris's
career, when he gave Michigan the
lead with 2.2 seconds left.
But when all is said and done,
the only things that will be remem-
bered from Friday's heartbreaking
loss to Ohio State are Evan Turner's
37-foot shot to win the game at the
buzzer and Michigan coach John
Beilein's decision not to press on
the inbounds pass.
Despite the decision, Beilein
vehemently defended the move not
to double-team or front Turner the
Big Ten Player of the Year in the
"I don't think Evan Turner is
going to hitsahalf-court shot better
than anyhody else is going to hit a
half-court shot. We wanted to limit
that type of opportunity" Beilein
said. "If it was in quarter-court,
there's a whole different defense
you're going to play. But when
you've got to make a half-court
shot, it's alot different"
On the play, Ohio State's David
Lighty inbounded the ball to Turn-
er, who took two dribbles down the
right side of the court before spot-
ting up midwaybetween half-court
and the three-point line and hitting
the now-infamous shot that ended
Michigan's season.
The shot was reviewed to see if
Turner had released it in time, but
after a meeting at the scorer's table,
the referees ruled that the ball was
out of his hands with.2 seconds left
on the clock.
Immediately after the game,
ESPN commentators criticized
Beilein's move to play passive zone
defense against Ohio State's top
scorer and a leading candidate for
the National Player of the Year.
But Michigan's players defended
From Page 1B
didn't think Turner's chances of
hitting a half-court shot were any
better than his teammates' chances.
"We wanted to limit that type
of opportunity," Beilein said. "So
we matched it up in a zone that
whatever area people went to was
going to be a one dribble. Either
one or two guys were going to be
in front of him. ... If you try to
put two guys on Evan or you try
to deny him by throwing over the
top, then he even can get closer.
So it's six of one, half dozen of the
other; a half-court shot is a half-
court shot."
In the postgame locker room,
Harris referred to Turner's bas-
ket as "incredible" over and over
again. He said nobody expected
the 37-footer to fall - I certainly
didn't - but as Turner released
the shot, I knew, like so many in
Conseco Fieldhouse, that after a
half-second that felt like an eter-
nity, it was going to go in.
Beilein's not perfect, just like
any other college basketball
coach. Should he have pressed?

Should he have, at the very least,
pressured the inbounds play? Yes,
of course.
But Beilein had a reason for
his defensive setup, even if others

don't agree.
And even takingthe game's
final 2.2 seconds into consider-
ation, Friday showed exactly why
the Wolverines' season should still
be going.
Michigan's two stars, Harris
and senior forward DeShawn
Sims, combined for 42 points,
and the team finally found a third
scoring threat, Stu Douglass, who
put up 16 points of his own. Har-
ris was electric down the stretch,
singlehandedly pulling the Wol-
verines back into the game.
Friday's loss was, at the same
time, the epitome of the Wolver-
ines' potential this year and all the
misfortune they've suffered.
"That's a great ... microcosm of
the season," Beilein said. "That's a
little bit of the frustration that we
have this year. Some things that
you can't always control happen
to you. It's certainly indicative of
some things that happened."
And it shouldn't have been over.
If Turner's shot clanged off the rim,
Michigan would have next faced
Illinois, and then Minnesota after
that. Sure, winning four games in
four days would have been atall
task for a Wolverine squad that's
been inconsistent all season.
Butboy, would it have been great
to see them try.
- Auerbach can be reached
at naauer@umich.edu.

their coach in giving up the poten-
tial half-court shot instead of risk-
ing a defensive breakdown near the
basket with fewer men defending in
the frontcourt similar to Christian
Laettner's miracle buzzer-beating
shot for Duke in the 1992 NCAA
"Coach drew up a defensive
scheme," Harris said. "I guess
everyone just thought, there's no
way he's goingto makea half-court
shot, and he did. I know coach
probably was thinking, it would just
be incredible, crazy for someone to
make a half-court shot the way the
game had been going right then.
But he did. A lot of credit to him....
Great players make great shots, and
he did that."
One of the reasons the Wolverines
didn't want to double-team Turner
was the potential that he could blow
by the defender and get a wide-open
shot or find an open teammate with
the defense spread thin.
"We just wanted to stay with
them, stay in front of him, make
sure he had to take a contested shot
and make sure they didn't get any
threes off," Michigan sophomore
Zack Novak said. "He hit a heck of
a shot."
Even Ohio State's players were
surprised that Michigan didn't
throw a double-team at Turner.
"I was sprinting behind him as
fast as I could, because I thought
they were going to double-team
him, so I thought I was going to be
open," Lighty said. "But when it left
his hands, it just felt like it was float-
ing up there forever pretty much,
and when it went in, I felt like I was
at a loss for words pretty much."
It appeared that teams quickly
learned not to follow Michigan's
lead. Later that night at the Big Ten
Tournament, Michigan State pres-
sured Minnesota on it's last second
chance to win in regulation with
five seconds left, and the shot from
near half-court fell wide left.
Right or wrong, Beilein will be
criticized for the coaching decision
that ended Michigan's season.
"Some things that you can't
always control happen to you,"
Beilein said. "It's certainly indica-
tive of some things that happened."


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