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January 10, 2011 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-10

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2B - January 10, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

2B - January10, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Les Miles is the right choice for Michigan

9

Ihad just landed back at Detroit
Metro Airport, two days after
Michigan's 52-14 beating at
the hands of Mississippi State in
the Gator Bowl,
when I heard
the news.
The Bring
Jim Harbaugh .
to Michigan
campaign had ,,
failed.
My heart-
sunk. Like RYAN
many of us in KARTJE
Ann Arbor,
I had tapped
Harbaugh as the savior of the
Michigan football program. I
thought, like many did, that he
would bring the Wolverines back
to the Carr days, the Bo days
- when Michigan's coach was
revered by all and the team was a
regular in the Rose Bowl.
I hate the term "Michigan
Man," but Harbaugh felt like as
much of one as I had ever seen -
even if I don't totally understand
or agree with the buzz words.
Sure, there was no way Athletic
Director Dave Brandon would've
matched an offer like the Dol-
phins put out for him ($7.5 mil-
lion per year) or even the one his
eventual team, the 49ers, signed
him for ($5 million). But without
Harbaugh in the driver's seat of
the program, it didn't seem like

Coaching Search 2011 would turn
out any better than Coaching
Search 2007 did.
In the past few days though,
replaying and re-reading all the
qualifications Brandon listed in
his press conference, I've eased
into the idea that this coaching
search doesn't have to be a disas-
ter. The Wolverines don't have to
hire an inexperienced coach, like
San Diego State's Brady Hoke, just
because he's a "Michigan Man."
They don't need to desperately
seek out hot coaches like TCU's
Gary Patterson or Boise State's
Chris Petersen - either would
be a good choice for coach if they
weren't so unlikely to pack up and
leave their respective jobs.
They need someone who will
unite the fan base, bring a defen-
sive mind to the field, be a mag-
nificent recruiter and re-spark
rivalries with Ohio State and
Michigan State, all the while put-
ting the program back into the
hunt for a national championship.
It's a tough job, and Les Miles
could do it.
Forget the grass-eating jokes
or the boneheaded offensive calls
or the "Mad Hatter" personal-
ity, Miles is a former Michigan
football player who simply knows
how to win. He's got a national
championship under his belt (hav-
ing beaten the Buckeyes in 2008)
and he builds teams that are abso-

lutely ferocious on defense,
If you've seen any footage of
LSU's Patrick Peterson, you know
what I'm talking about. Peterson
is the closest a football
player has be ' 1ully channel-
ing Charles Wfidson, and he's a
product of Miles' defense.
Admittedly, Miles is a bit of a
lightning rod when it comes to
controversy, having been accused
of oversigning and using gray-
shirts to get away with it.
That's not something that
would help re-establish Michi-
gan's image as a clean program.
But with the program already on
probation, I/can't imagine Miles
would be given any leeway to
bend the NCAA's rules. Brandon
will make sure of that.
I also don't buy the idea that
Miles' teams are "overrated."
Considering he's 62-17 overall at
LSU, with a5-1 record in bowl
games and a national title, I think
it's safe to say that Miles is either
a good coach or has a deal with
the devil - either of which should
yield results for the Wolverines.
Michigan made the mistake
of not going after Miles in 2007
when he could've offered a
smooth transition away from
Lloyd Carr. And this time may be
the last time any disciple of Bo
Schembechler will ever be able
to coach the Wolverines. That
may not seem important - I'll be

TONY GUTIERREZ/AP
LSU coach Les Miles has had success against Ohio State, evidenced by LSU's win over the Buckeyes in the 2007-08 title game.

the first to admit that "Michigan
Man" isn't my first requirement
- but if the Athletic Department
has any hope of restoring some
kind of hope in the Wolverines'
jilted fan base, Brandon will fol-
low along.
He may not be Harbaugh, who

became the hottest coaching
commodity in recent memory.
And he may not be perfect, far
from it in fact.
ButI have no doubt that if
Brandon announces on Tuesday
or Wednesday that Les Miles is
the head coach of the Michigan

football team, the Wolverines
will have come out ahead in this
whole drawn-out, drama-filled
debacle of a search.
And maybe, just maybe, Miles
will do what many thought only
Harbaugh could do - bring Mich-
igan back.

Spartans use size
*I to dominate 'M'
on the hardwood

ERIN KIRKLAND/Daily
Seniorguard Veronica Hicks led the Wolverines with a game-high 20 points in their loss Sunday against Michigan State in Crisler Arena.
Blue loses eighth straight to MSU

By EVERETT COOK
Daily Sports Writer
After beating three straight
ranked opponents, the Michigan
women's basketball team was feeling
good about itself.
And even though it lost to Pur-
due on a last-second shot to snap
their winning streak on Thursday,
the Wolverines played a good game
and didn't lose confidence. When
the Athletic Department sent out a
University-wide email with a video
of Michi-
gan coach MICHIGAN STATE 63
Kevin MICHIGAN 56
Borseth
urging people to attend Sunday's
game, the expectations were set.
The winning streak was snapped,
but Michigan was still feeling confi-
dent going into their highly-touted
matchup with No. 11 Michigan State

on Sunday. The game and the crowd
did not disappoint, but the Wolver-
ines couldn't pull through, losing
to the Spartans, 63-56, in front of
a Crisler Arena-record crowd for
women's basketball of 5,991 people.
Michigan State has not lost to the
Wolverines in the team's last eight
meetings, a streak that stretches
back to the 2007-08 season. There
is only one Michigan player on the
roster who has ever beaten the Spar-
tans - senior guard Veronica Hicks
- and that win came in her fresh-
man year.
But the Wolverines could not find
an offensive rhythm for most of the
game. Even though Michigan played
good defense, it didn't matter much.
Michigan State had 17 offensive
rebounds, including 10 from junior
forward Lykendra Johnson.
"It's likeyouhave togettwo defen-
sive stops every time down the floor,"

Borseth said. "We get a stop, they get
an offensive rebound, and we have to
get another stop. Its tough, and it's
not easy to play that way."
To put it bluntly, Johnson domi-
nated. She had 17 points and 17
rebounds. If the Spartans missed a
shot, chances were that Johnson was
there to grab it.
"She's got a combination of speed
and quickness with thepower piece,"
Michigan State coach Suzy Mer-
chant said. "It makes her a real tough
box out at times."
Despite Johnson's performance,
Michigan was able to stick around
for most of the game. Its offense
was not consistent and had issues
all game, but the defense played well
enough to keep Michigan alive. The
Wolverines forced 22 turnovers,
which led to 24 points, but the rest
of the offense was stagnant. They
shot only 38 percent from the floor,

including 29 percent from 3-point
range, and repeatedly missed open
and uncontested shots.
If not for the efforts of Hicks, the
game would not have been as close.
Hicks scored a game-high 20 points,
shooting 48 percent from the floor.
Shehad aquiet firsthalf, scoringonly
five points, but found a differentgear
in the second half - single handedly
keepingthe Wolverines in the game.
"She leaves everything on the
floor," Borseth said. "I guess you
can't ask for anything more than
that."
However, the Wolverines were
negatively impacted by the injury
to sophomore guard Nya Jordan,
especially on the offensive end. Jor-
dan injured her knee against Ohio
State two weeks ago, and Michigan's
offense has struggled since.
Jordan isn't always a scoring
threat, averaging a little more than
seven points a game, but she sets
up a lot of what Michigan does
on offense with her driving abil-
ity. She opens up the court for the
Wolverines, which makes it easier
to shoot from the outside.
"The ability for us to get to the
glass really hurts when Nya isn't
there," Borseth said. "It's an ath-
lete that is taken out of our lineup
and that really hurts us."
Michigan had opportunities to
win the game, but it did not play
anywhere near its offense potential
and was dominated in the paint. In
35 days, Michigan will travel to
East Lansing, where they will have
another chance to snap their losing
streak. But whether they can take
advantage of that opportunity isan
entirely different story.

By CAITLIN SMITH
Daily Sports Writer
It took just one Michigan
State player to tally more offen-
sive rebounds than the entire
Michigan women's basketball
team in Sunday's 63-56 loss at
Crisler Arena.
Redshirt junior forward Lyk-
endra Johnson had 10 offensive
rebounds and snagged 17 total.
The aggressive performance
by Johnson not only overshad-
owed the short Wolverine line-
up, but also brought Michigan's
rebounding struggle to the fore-
front once again.
"In terms of rebounding,
(Johnson) has a real high IQ of
angles," Michigan State coach
Suzy Merchant said after the
win. "She uses the swim move
pretty well, getting over and
around people, and she has the
strength and the power to move
people.
"She's got a combination of
speed and quickness with the
power piece, which I think
makes her a real tough box-out
at times."
Led by Johnson, the Spar-
tans (3-0 Big Ten, 15-1 overall)
dominated the boards, grabbing
a total of 41 rebounds compared
to a mere 24 for the Wolverines.
And by the end of the game, it
was evident that Michigan's (2-2,
9-7) lack of offensive rebounding
was costly.
Michigan State snagged 17
offensive boards, leading to
a decisive 21 second-chance
points. Along with a aggressive
rebounding game, Johnson also
led the Spartans in scoring with
17 points.
Senior forward Brittney
Thomas was another big offen-
sive contributor for Michigan
State, scoring 13 points and
grabbing seven rebounds.
"We're not an offensive
rebounding team," Michigan
coach Kevin Borseth said in
early December. "We gener-
ally take our big kids and get
them back for transition defense
because other teams' big kids
run pretty well. Our guards
are probably our best offensive
rebounders and as a result our
guards are going back to protect
the basket."'
But this is not a new prob-
lem for Michigan, which has
continually struggled with its
rebounding the entire season.
In the Big Ten, the Wolver-

ines rank loth in defensive
rebounding and 11th in offensive
rebounding.
Because of its relatively small
lineup - only two starters reach
six feet - Michigan knew early
on that it would have difficulty
with its rebounding game, espe-
cially against a Michigan State
team that features three starting
forwards who are over six feet
tall, including Johnson.
"Offensive rebounding is a
concern and it's been a concern
from the beginning," Bors-
eth said after Michigan's game
against Purdue.
"The bottom line is that it's
a physical game and you've got
to move people on rebounds -
you've got to move them and
grab the ball with two hands."
And the Wolverines have not
yet resolved this problem. Mich-
igan has only tallied more than
10 offensive rebounds in five of
its 16 games and has only beaten
its opponent in the offensive
board battle in two games.
And in each of the Wolverines'
"Our guards
are going to
have to protect
the basket."
losses, their opponent has out-
rebounded Michigan by more
than 10 boards per game.
When Michigan is on top of it's
rebounding game, it has proven
effective. During their recent
three-game win streak against
ranked opponents, the Wolver-
ines tallied 34 or more rebounds
in each contest. Conversely, the
Wolverines are 0-5 when they do
not reach 30 rebounds.
Michigan's inability to
rebound has plagued the season
thus far, but there is still time to
adjust.
Although height is beyond the
Wolverines' control, they can
change their style of play, specif-
ically by increasing their aggres-
sion under the net.
"It's all about team rebound-
ing and team defense," junior
guard Carmen Reynolds said in
October. "And rebounding just
comes down to being physical
and being scrappy."

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