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February 01, 2012 - Image 8

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8A - Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

a

8A - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Blue seeks revenge vs. Indiana

By LUKE PASCH
Daily Sports Editor
March is just a month away,
which means one thing: the hunt
for a Big Ten title is on.
On Wednesday night, Michi-
gan welcomes Indiana to Crisler
Center to open
its final nine- Indiana at
game stretch of
the regular sea- Michigan
son. And with Matchup:
a logjam atop Indiana 17-5;
the conference Michigan 16-6
standings - the When:
top four teams Wednesday,
being separat- 6:30 p.m.
ed by just one Where: Crisier
game - nearly Center
every matchup TV/Radio:
has sigificant BTN
postseason
implications.
Though the 20th-ranked Hoo-
siers (5-5 Big Ten, 17-5 overall)
will bring a poised offensive
attack to Ann Arbor, Michigan
coach John Beilein is happy to
return to Ann Arbor following a
grueling three-game road stint.
His squad fell at Arkansas in a
nonconference heartbreaker, won
on the road for the first time this
season at Purdue and got flattened
at Ohio State.
Crisler has been kind to No. 23
Michigan (6-3, 16-6), as the Wol-
verines are 12-0 at home so far
this season. Beilein has repeatedly
stressed the importance of pro-
tectinghome court, and the coach-
ing staff has worked hard to instill
a resilient attitude in its players
followingthe recentroad losses.
"I was very happy (with) how
receptive we were yesterday to a
very instructive film session and
just talk about where we are right
now and what we could do best to
improve," Beilein said on Tuesday.
"We're coaching their brains a lot
... about what it takes to be win-
ners.
"There's a lot of courage
involved, and a lot of toughness
involved, and there's a lot of intel-
ligence involved in it. And if they
put that all together, how could
they be anything but resilient?"
But predicting a convincing
bounce-back performance for
Wednesday night is difficult,
as nobody seems to have a tight

Freshman guard Trey Burke and Michigan dropped their first matchup with Indiana, 73-71, early in January.

grasp on what Indiana coach Tom
Crean's Hoosiers are capable of
Indiana has a pair marquee
wins under its belt, toppling
potential NCAA Tournament No.
1 seeds Kentucky and Ohio State
earlier this season. But the Hoo-
siers haven't done much outside
the cozy confines of Blooming-
ton's Assembly Hall, notchingjust
one conference road win against
bottom-dweller Penn State.
Beilein's squad, which has only
won one conference road game
itself, has tremendous respect for
the Hoosier offense, which tallied
a season-high 103 points on Sun-
day against Iowa.
"You think we have some guys
who could shoot at times - those
guys can shoot from the locker
room," Beilein said. "And you have
to be with them when they walk
out of the locker room. (Senior
forward Matt) Roth is incredible.
I think he could shoot from half
court as well as some guys can
shoot from the line."
Indeed, in the Wolverines'
73-71 loss at Assembly Hall on
Jan. 5, the Hoosiers were an effi-
cient 7-for-11 from behind the arc.
As a team, they currently lead the
Big Ten in 3-point shooting at a
44-percent clip.

Led by the sharp-shooting
Christian Watford, who lit up
Michigan for a game-high 25
points on Jan. 5, Indiana tends
to be very wise about its shot
selection. The Hoosiers rank just
eighth in the league in 3-point
attempts (the Wolverines are first
in that category by a long shot).
To help defend the perimeter,
Beilein will deploy senior guard
and co-captain Stu Douglass in the
starting lineup in place of sopho-
more forward Evan Smotrycz - a
lineup he's gone with for the last
four games. Douglass is consid-
ered the best perimeter defender
Michigan's roster has to offer.
"I like the defense that we can
come out with," Beilein said. "I
like how the matchups, we can
turn them in our favor. I think we
got off to pretty good starts in all
the situations that we started this
(lineup), except Arkansas."
On Jan. 5, Michigan did not get
off to a great start with Smotrycz
in the starting five, and the team
wound up fighting from behind
for the entire first half and some
of the second as well.
"That was bad," Beilein said.
"We got off to a bad start, and
we just had trouble. Watford is
just having a fantastic year ...

and you've got to get to them in a
hurry."
Douglass and senior cohort
and co-captain Zack Novak -
who both call the Hoosier State
home - will look to lock down the
shooters and secure a win against
Indiana in their last regular-sea-
son opportunity to do so.
And they'll likely need help
underneath from redshirt sopho-
more center Jordan Morgan, who
will be tasked with slowing down
freshman sensation Cody Zeller.
The 6-foot-11 force has found a
groove as of late, erupting for
26 points including seven dunks
against Iowa on Sunday.
Morgan will need to avoid the
foul trouble he ran into at Ohio
State over the weekend in order
to maximize his minutes, as the
Wolverine frontcourt continues
to struggle with its depth in the
absence of sophomore forward
Jon Horford (out with a foot inju-
ry since mid-December).
Beilein revealed Tuesday there
still has not been a final decision
on whether or not he will burn
Horford's redshirt before season's
end. But for now, as Michigan hits
the stretch, it appears that Mor-
gan will have to control the paint
with little help.

MEN'S TRACK AND FIELD
Dennis' strength key
to Michigan's success
By GREG GARNO more reps underneath myself
For the Daily I've definitely got a lot more
consistent from where.I was last
Growing up, Ethan Dennis year."
didn't envision himself going to His practice has paid off Den-
college on a track scholarship. nis set a personal best of 66 feet,
But in hindsight, he probably 10 inches in the 35-pound weight
ended up in the right place. throw during "The Dual" against
Dennis, a redshirt sophomore, Ohio State on Jan. 14th - the see-
is a key component of the group ond longest throw in Michigan
of athletes that lead the Michi- track and field history. But Den-
gan men's track and field team in nis knows that one outstanding
this season. throw doesn't equal a successful
As a football player at Grand- season.
ville High School, Dennis never Dennis has put together two
gave any consideration to track solid performances since "The
until his JV football coach - also Dual," winning the Jack Harvey
his throwing coach - convinced Invitational earlier in January
him to come throw to prepare for and the Wesley A. Brown Invita-
the football season. But during tional on Saturday, where he also
track season, Dennis realized his set a meet record.
potential and saw his strengths While Dennis is still perfect-
in the shot put and discus. ing his technique, he knows
It wasn't until his junior year that there is a significant mental
that he realized which sport to aspect to throwing.
focus on. "I have to pretend like its
"I had injuries my junior year practice so (duringcompetitions)
of high school and it made me' I don't change my technique,"
change my perspective," Dennis Dennis said. "That's where I got
said on Tuesday. into trouble last year. I can't let
Last year, during his first sea- my mind get in my way. I can't
son of competition at Michigan, think about it too much."
Dennis had a rocky start and Looking forward, Dennis
struggled to remain consistent. remains optimistic that he can
He finished 21st, at the Big Ten qualify for the NCAA Indoor
Indoor Track and Field Champi- National Championships. Ulti-
onships and was unable to secure mately, he would like to best his
any points. personal record before the sea-
Many of his throws resulted son ends.
in faults, often resulting from But as individual as throw-
a lapse in the young thrower's ing can be, Dennis isn't putting
technique, as he was still learn- himself before the team. This
ing weight coach Mohamad month, he looks to place highly
Saatara's style. Dennis was dis- in the Big Ten Indoor Cham-
appointed with what had looked pionships and give his team a
to be a promising season. legitimate chance at bringing
"I started out well, but the end home a title.
was not too great for me," Den- As the Wolverines move
nis said. "I was really motivated toward the conference champi-
coming into that year, and I knew onships, they will look to Den-
I had pretty good potential, but I nis's leadership to carry them in
didn't quite reach it." the bigger invitationals. Though
Dennis spent more time work- he isn't a captain, the star finds
ing in the offseason to avoid a himself mentoring younger ath-
repeat of 2011. letes on technique and motivat-
"It takes a while to get used ing others around him.
to those throws," Dennis said. "I like to help people out with
"I stayed in Ann Arbor this what they need," Dennis said.
summer and spent a lot of time "Some people look up to me, and
wqrking on technique and got I feel pretty honored by that"

On women's basketball: Long-,
term issues from long range

Di Giuseppe focused on defense
By EVERETT COOK
Doily Sports Editor

By MICHAEL LAURILA
Daily Sports Writer
With one shot against Wis-
consin on Monday, senior guard
CarmenReynolds sunkher 183rd
career 3-pointer, becoming the
all-time leader in that category
for the Michigan women's bas-
ketball team. She also reached
the 1,000-point milestone on
Dec. 30 against Illinois.
Both of these feats speak vol-
umes about how successful a
career Reynolds has had. But
this season, Reynolds, among
other Wolverines, has been
struggling from behind the arc.
Prior to this season, Reyn-
olds was a career 38.3-percent
3-point shooter. This season,
she's averaging a mere 25 per-
cent from deep. But Michigan
coach Kevin Borseth has main-
tained his faith in the senior.
guard since her dry spell became
a season-long shooting struggle.
"It's just a matter of her get-
ting enough shots," Borseth
said following a Dec. 13 loss to
Eastern Michigan. "If she gets
enough shots, she will make
them. She is a good shooter, she
is a money shooter. She is dne of
those kids that are going to make
it when she shoots it. That is a
confidence we all have in her."
And why wouldn't he have
confidence in her? She's a three-
year starter, averaged 13.1 and
10 points per game during her
sophomore and junior cam-
paigns, and was recruited by
Borseth primarily as a shooter.
But it's not only Reynolds
that Borseth has faith in from
behind the arc. Almost every
single player on the Wolverine
roster seems to have the green
light from 3-point territory, even
though the team has consistent-
ly struggled to score from deep.
Before the Wolverines began
their current two-game slide -

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ng losses to Penn State ing to go 6-for-25 from behind
ne and the Badgers on the arc en route to a 66-60 loss.
d - they had won three "It was like we were getting
t. During that win- kicked around during a game of
reak Michigan shot just 'pig' out there," Borseth said fol-
ercent and averaged 21 lowing the loss to the Badgers.
ts behind the arc per "Just wide-open shots, and we
weren't making them. Luckily,
elasttwogames,thenum- our defense was playing really
ven't been that much dif- well in the first half, and we kept
for the Wolverines - they them away from the basket, but
0 percent from long range we were unable to score."
raged 22.5 attempts. The Wolverines' defense did
cut a 16-point second-half defi-
cit against Wisconsin to tie it up
with six minutes left, mostly by
Te threw it to making 3-pointers.
,h p p The low percentage wouldn't
right people be such a big deal if Michi-
( e jgan was taking fewer 3-point
(the y j ust) attempts and just missing
, . m t them - because a third of its
n t maKe it. shot attempts have been from
behind the arc. But during the
Penn State loss, the deep balls
accounted for 43 percent of the
what was the problem? entire shot selection. The shot
orseth had this to say fol- selection was a little better in
the Penn State loss: the loss to the Badgers, account-
were 0-for-11 from the ing for only 31 percent, but they
the first half with really just couldn't buy a bucket.
hots," Borseth said. "We At what point do you reel
ere we wanted to get to, some of the players in and cut
in the lane. ... Obviously, back on the long-range attempts?
time we got in that lane, Though the defense kept Michi-
littany Lions) collapsed gan in the game against the Bad-
rced our kias to pitch it. gers, the Wolverines will have to
ew it to the right people, score to beat the top teams in the
ast) didn't make it." conference. It's as simple as that.
higan finished 3-for- Michigan will have to start
the game. But Michigan hitting more 3-pointers, or sim-
nto Madison knowing it ple take less of them, if it hopes
going to face such a for- to continue having success. It's
e foe in the paint. The not a secret that the Wolverines
s were 3-5 in conference aren't one of the best defensive
ior to the game, beating teams in the conference. But
teams they should beat they are one of the smarter and
ing to those in the upper more experienced teams. Michi-
n. gan will need to use that intel-
d think that since the ligence and experience down
ines' 3-point shooting the stretch, and maybe consider
poor against Penn State, reining in the their attempts
ight have changed some- from the arc if the shots don't
But they didn't, proceed- start falling.
&A

Phil Di Giuseppe had a heck of
a first semester in Ann Arbor.
Michigan coach Red Berenson
predicted that Di Giuseppe would
be an immediate impact player,
and the freshman forward wast-
ed no time affirming his coach's
insight. He scored three goals in
his first four games and finished
November tied for the team lead
in goals.
In December, he was invited to
try out for the Canadian Junior
national team, a significant
accomplishment even though he
didn't make the team.
Notbad for an 18-year-old.
But the second semester for Di
Giuseppe has been rather differ-
ent. He hasn't scored a goal since
Dec. 3 in Alaska, and it took him
six games in 2012 to even register
a point.
"I'm not shooting as much as
before, and you have to shoot to be
lucky," Di Giuseppe said.
But defensively, the kid is com-
ing along just fine.
"(Berenson) told me I had
to work on my defensive game
when I came in here, and I think
I've done that," Di Giuseppe said.
"After Christmas break, I haven't
been scoring as much, so I have
been trying to help out defensive-
ly. I'm just happy to contribute
that way."
Berenson constantly stresses
the importance of two-way for-
wards, and more often than not,
the staple of Berenson's teams is
defensive stalwarts that fly after
loose pucks and aren't afraid to
get physical in the defensive zone..
Veteran players such as senior
captain Luke Glendening have
taken years to perfect that style of
play, because it's something that's
tough to pick up quickly. One of
the most difficult adjustments for
young players is defense, because
playing defense in prep leagues
is a lot different than playing
defense for Michigan.

I
I

ALDEN REISS/Daily
Freshman forward Phil Di Giuseppe hasn't produced offensively in 2012.

"Everyone can play offense,"
said junior forward Chris Brown.
"My dad always used to joke that
you can turn a defenseman into
a forward, but turning a forward
into a defenseman is goingto take
some time.
"Everyone wants to score goals
and be that guy in the limelight.
Defense is harder. It takes more
work, more effort, and it's more
tiring. On offense, you kind of get
to slow it down."
Di Giuseppe's defense has
improved naturally by play-
ing with Glendening, one of the
team's best defensive forwards,
and hard-working junior forward
A.J. Treais. But he is also learning
what many before him have been
taught - good defense will bring
good offense.
"You have to play better with-
out the puck when you aren't
scoring," Berenson said. "Not
that you intentionally do that, but
sometimes yougetcaughtup in an
offensive mindset and start think-
ing about goals and so on, but I
want them to think about check-
ing and working hard without the
puck.
"Then, the offensive stuff will
come. Our team always scores
more goals when we play better

defense."
Oftentimes, when players who
used to be their prep teams' lead-
ing scorers come to Michigan, too
much of their focus is paid to the
almighty stat sheet. To become
good on the defensive end, you
have to stop caring about seeing
your name in the box score. Men-
tally, thatcan be thebiggestbattle
of them all.
"You can't measure everything
in goals and assists, which a lot
of kids do before they get here,"
Berenson said. "They measure
their game as points,buthere, you
have to be a complete player, not
just a playerthat's hoping to score.
"That's the one thing you want
to become when you are Michi-
gan, you want to be a complete
hockey player when it is all said
and done."
Di Giuseppe registered his first
point of the new year in Michi-
gan's most recent game, an assist
against Notre Dame. But if the
freshman continues to improve
on defense, seeing his name inthe
stat sheet won't be important.
"I just have to play a more sim-
ple game offensively and do the
little things," Di Giuseppe said
"But if we keep winning, it doesn't
matter."

4

&

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