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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - 5

Ohio State week officially
underway for Wolverines

SALAM RIDA/Daily
Sophomore Darius Morris led Michigan on Sunday with 21 points and 10 assists.
Sy-racuse will
be seasons frs
measurinfj stick

By JOE STAPLETON
Daily Sports Editor
It's officially Michigan-Ohio
State week.
That means Hayes-Schem-
bechler. That means The Game.
That means the Ten-Year War. But
for the Michi-
gan football NOTEBOOK
team, for the
past six years, that has meant a
loss.
Does this cause the rivalry to
lose some of its luster? After all,
it's hard to call a game a "rivalry"
when one team keeps beating the
other.
"To say it's less important?"
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez
said at Monday's press conference.
"No. Never. Not Ohio State-Mich-
igan."
The last time Michigan beat
Ohio State was in 2003, when
many of today's Wolverines were
just getting started in high school.
One player, redshirt sophomore
safety Jordan Kovacs, remembers
the 35-21 Wolverine victory in the
Big House fondly.
"I was here at the game," Kovacs
said. "I was 13 years old and obvi-
ously that was the 100th game. I
was sitting in section 27 with my
parents and my brother, so that
was a big win for us."
Most of the players who took the
podium on Monday, though, hard-
ly remember that game.
In Ann Arbor, the game takes
on added meaning with every year
that passes without a Wolverine
victory.
"It means a lot, not just for me
but for the seniors the past six
years who didn't get a chance to go
out beating them," fifth-year senior
offensive guard Stephen Schilling
said. "It's been a couple classes
now that have gone through here
without getting a chance to beat
them so it means a lot for me and
this team but also for those guys I
played with the past few years."
THAT WEIRD STUFFED BEAVER

After the first game of the sea-
son, Michigan men's basketball
coach John
Beilein spoke
about getting
his new play-
ers "under
the lights" in
Crisler Arena.
Well, it's
about to get
a lot brighter CHANTEL
when the team JENNINGS
hits Atlantic
City this Fri-
day for the Championship Round
of the Legends Classic.
Players and coaches have
referred to their matchup with
Syracuse as a measuring stick of
sorts. I suppose that would put
their last three victories in the
arena of sprigs or maybe those
bugs that look like sticks.
After each game, the Wolver-
ines have politely referred to
their respective opponents as
strong teams. But, in all honesty,
those are the teams they're sup-
posed to beat, the games in which
they're supposed to shine - that's
why they're called tune-up
games.
It's like in The Longest Yard
when Burt Reynolds says to Adam
Sandler that "in college, we'd
start every season against Appa-
lachian State or some slack Divi-
sion II team ... kick the living shit
out of them. Get their confidence
up."
Oh ... nevermind. Bad example.
But Syracuse represents a new
echelon of opponents that this
young team hasn't seen yet. The
Orange aren't Bowling Green ... or
Gardner-Webb ... or South Caro-
lina- Upstate.
Hell, they're not even South
Carolina.
They are Syracuse - a team
that built its reputation on one
of the most aggressive trapping-
style, 2-3 zone defenses in the
country. It's so effective that
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim has
a 57-minute long instructional
video detailing how to run this
defense ($39.95, available on
Amazon).
Boeheim normally stacks that
defense with some of the lon-
gest and quickest athletes in the
country, making it look like an
imposing redwood forest. And
this Friday, Syracuse's bottom
three defenders will stand as sti-
fling 6-foot-7, 6-foot-9 and 7-foot
titans.
The 2-3 zone defense is danger-
ous because when run properly,
it clogs the interior - practically
shutting down dribble penetra-
tion and post play. Usually, this
leaves the wings open for 3-point-
ers or long jumpers. But with
the way Boeheim normally com-
mands this defense and how the

Orange aggressively trap the ball,
it usually translates into an abun-
dance of steals and turnovers.
But this isn't about Boeheim,
how he coaches or even his
resume - 27 NCAA Tournament
appearances, five Big East Tour-
nament Championships, eight Big
East regular-season Champion-
ships.
It's about the 10 players on the
court and what they do with Boe-
heim's direction.
And that being said, Boeheim
referred to his team as being "the
most overrated team that (he's)
ever had" in his 34 years at Syra-
cuse.
That was before Syracuse nar-
rowly skated by a winless William
and Mary in the second round
of the Legends Classic. That was
before his team shot 36.7 percent
from the field against that same
team, before they shot 5-for-22
from behind the arc.
But don't get me wrong: there
are certain things that have noth-
ing to do with being overrated.
So long as their hands aren't but-
tered on Friday, the Syracuse post
players should own the glass.
While redshirt freshman Jor-
dan Morgan has proven to be a
dominant post player in the Wol-
verines' first three games, it will
be much harder for him to pull
down eight-plus rebounds when
he's going up against three bodies
as big, if not bigger, than him.
But if Morgan and the rest
of the Michigan frontcourt can
occupy the lane, pockets will
open up in the zone for Wolverine
shooters. And long shots mean
long rebounds, so junior Zack
Novak and sophomore Darius
Morris may find themselves lead-
ing the rebounders' category on
the statistics sheet, which may
not be a bad thing.
Regardless, Friday's game will
be a matchup between a team
fighting to stay in the top 10 and
a team looking to shock anyone
it can.
In Monday's teleconference
with Boeheim, when asked why
his team has always been able to
beat Beilein's teams, he quickly
responded, "We've had better
players. That's all."
Boeheim may be right and he
may have the better players again
this time. But neither Syracuse
nor Michigan have singular stars
- they've both made it clear, at
least this far into the season, that
they're team oriented. And on any
given day a good team can take
down a better team.
So the question is not who has
the better players right now, but
which is the better team on Fri-
day?
Jennings can be reached at
chanel.m.ennings@gmail.com

Ohio State running back Dan Herron celebrates the Buckeyes' win over Michigan last season at the Big House.

THING: By this time, most Michi-
gan fans have seen the video. It
depicts defensive coordinator Greg
Robinson shoving a stuffed beaver
toy in the face of redshirt sopho-
more linebacker Kenny Demens
after the defense came off the field
in the third quarter.
It was strange. Even stranger
might be the way the defensive
players clamped up when asked
about it during Monday's press
conference.
"Are you saying there's an ani-
mal on the sidelines? Next ques-
tion," sophomore defensive end
Craig Roh said, completely devoid
of humor.
When junior nose tackle Mike
Martin stepped up to the podi-

um he was questioned about the
stuffed animal as well, but though
his answer was slightly less resent-
ful, it was still cryptic.
"That's a secret, that's kind of
our thing," Martin said. "That's
a defense thing. I can't talk about
that."
But it does exist, right? The
stuffed beaver?
"If you see it, I guess it exists,"
Martin said, smiling.
INJURY REPORT: When asked
for an update on his injured play-
ers, Rodriguez said his hands were
tied.
"I'd love to give you an update,
but I have so many names," Rodri-
guez said. "Counting the guys out
for the year, there's probably about

20 guys out of practice."
He said Michigan had multiple
players suffering from headaches
and concussion-like symptoms
and until they get cleared by the
doctor, they won't be able to go in
practice. He was optimistic that
most of the players knocked out of
the Wisconsin game would be able
to go.
The team still isn't sure about
junior wideout Darryl Stonum's
ankle, which he injured during
Saturday's game. Jeremy Gallon's
shoulder will be day-to-day and
Martin "should be okay." He and
senior linebacker Jonas Mouton
will be a little limited, Mouton
with a chest injury suffered a cou-
ple weeks ago.

Michigan's penalty kill picks up slack in
weekend sweep of Lake Superior State

By CASANDRA PAGNI
Daily Sports Writer
While the No. 8 Michigan hock-
ey team's power play has been
stagnant - the
man-advantage NOTEBOOK
unit hasn't tallied
a power play goal since its game
against Ferris State on Oct. 30 -
the Wolverines' penalty kill has
picked up the slack.
After allowing at least one penal-
ty kill goal in all of its prior match-
ups this season, the Michigan
penalty kill hasn't let up a goal in its
past four contests. This past week-
end against Lake Superior State,
the Wolverines' penalty kill stifled
all six Laker power plays, holding
Lake Superior State to just three
power play shots all series.
Senior forward Scooter Vaughan
even tallied a shorthanded goal in
Friday night's 7-2 rout of the Lakers.
"It's part of our game," junior
defenseman Brandon Burlon said
after practice Monday. "If our
power play is not working, our pen-
alty kill has to be. Right now, we're
struggling with our power play a
little bit, but we definitely know
that our penalty kill is going to help
us win games. We can't just rely on
our power play on special teams."
The Michigan penalty kill unit
currently ranks 21st in the nation,
having killed 59 of its 69 penal-
ties. But the recent rise in the Wol-
verines' effectiveness with a man
down has been accompanied by a

time Michigan scored seven goals
in one game this season. It was also
the first time the Wolverines have
scored four goals in one period (as
they did in the first), and the fourth
time they have scored three or
more goals in a period this season.
The four-line contribution on
offense this weekend was a morale
booster for the Michigan forwards,
who know they don't have to rely on
just one guy to score. As this week-
end proved, the Wolverines have
multiple go-to guys who can put up
points in any game.
"Hockey is a huge confidence
sport," Hagelin said. "If you feel
good about yourself and you feel
good about the team, it's easier
to play. You want to work hard
because you know it's going to ben-
efit you in the long run. Going into
this weekend, we know we're going
to play offensive teams ... we know
we're going to get our chances and
hopefully put a few in."
NOTES: With only 17 days
remaining until The Big Chill at the
Big House - the outdoor hockey
game to be played by the Wolver-
ines and Michigan State in Michi-
gan Stadium - construction on the
Olympic-sized ice rink began this
past weekend. There is a live web
cam on the athletic department's
website that will track the progress
of the rink's construction.... Michi-
gan faces two non-conference road
contests at Wisconsin and Minne-
sota this weekend during the 18th
annual College Hockey Showcase.

SALAM RIDA/Daily
Senior forward Carl Hagelin has recorded at least a point in five straight games.

decline in penalty minutes taken
per game.
Before the Notre Dame series
two weekends ago, Michigan
(7-2-1-0 CCHA, 8-3-3 overall) had
taken an average of 18.3 minutes
per game, tied for fifth-highest in
the country at that time. But the
Wolverines have shaved nearly
three minutes off that total in the
past two weekends. Michigan now
ranks 19th in penalty minutes,
averaging 15.43 minutes in the box
per game.
"We are a team that prides our-
selves in playing good (defense),"
senior forward Carl Hagelin said.

"We have a lot of good penalty kill-
ers out there, but it always helps to
have a low penalized game. We're
trying to cut down our penalties,
and if the refs want to keep it low,it's
fine with us. We know we can kill off
three or four penalties each game
because we know we're capable of
doing that. We create a lot of chanc-
es on the (penalty kill) as well."
OFFENSIVE OUTPUT: When the
Wolverines put up seven goals on
Lake Superior State on Friday, each
forward recorded at least one point,
with the exception of freshman
Jacob Fallon.
Friday's game marked the first

Blue takes 22nd at NCAAs, Smith leads team with 47th-place finish

'M' disappointed
with finish, looks to
improve next season
By EMILY BONCHI
Daily Sports Writer
For the first time this season, it
was not redshirt junior Danielle
Tauro who crossed the line first for
the No. 17 Michigan women's cross
country team.
Instead, it was sophomore Jill
Smith.

The Wolverines took 22nd
place at the NCAA Championship
on Monday at the LaVern Gibson
Championship Course in Terre
Haute, Ind., finishing with a score
of 476.
Smith finished her first NCAA
meet in 47th place with a time of
20:57.2, missing All-American hon-
ors by just four seconds. This is the
first time in seven years that the
Wolverines didn't claim an indi-
vidual All-American honor at the
NCAA meet.
"We were disappointed with
today," Michigan coach Mike

McGuire said Monday. "We started
the season ranked 27th and worked
our way up the ladder, so to take a
couple steps back down the rungs is
disappointing."
Villanova's Sheila Reid took top
honors, helping the Wildcats earn
their second consecutive cross
country national championship.
"Jill was at the meet last year,
but wasn't able to run because she
was ill," McGuire said. "So for her
first meet, that was pretty darn
good. She stepped up, so that added
something positive."
The 6.000-meter event started

off slow, with a 5:20 initial mile,
due to windy conditions on the
raceway.
Through the 5,000-meter m'ark,
the front pack stayed congested,
making it difficult for runners to
make big moves.
Smith stayed among the top-50
for most of the race, registering a
10:17 split time at the 3,000-meter
mark.
"It was a one-and-done kind of
thing," Smith said of her final race
of the season. "I just really wanted
to end my season on a good note,
not a bad one. I just had that going

through my head the whole time."
Michigan didn't place any other
runners in the top 100, but did fin-
ish four more in scoring position.
Sophomore Rebecca Addison
was the second Wolverine to cross
the line, finishing in 117th place
with a time of 21:29.7. Tauro fin-
ished 10 seconds later in 139th
place with a time of 21:39.9.
"We know what we need to do
next year," McGuire said. "Today
was better than last year, but not
quite where we wanted it. If we
had gone out there closer to where
we've been all year, we would have

at least finished where we were
ranked, if not higher."
McGuire will now evaluate this
season and look to improve next
year, as all seven of the team's
top 6,000-meter runners will be
returning.
"We have to move forward,"
McGuire said. "We now have some
runners who gained some experi-
ence in this setting and they'll just
have to be more in control when we
come back next year. It can be an
intimidating venue if you let it, and
we have a couple people who are
definitely capable of doing better."

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