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February 17, 2012 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-02-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

8 - Friday, February 17, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam

8 - ridy, Fbrury 1, 212 Te Mchign Dily mihigadaiyco

Michigan coach John Beilein and the Michigan basketball team dropped a 64-49 decision to Ohio State in Columbus on Jan. 29.
Wolverines look for payback
Sgainst Oh10 State at Crisler

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By BEN ESTES against Ohio State).
Daily SportsEditor Hardaway Jr. seemed to break
out of his funk in the win over
me between two fierce Illinois last weekend, making his
one of them looking for first 3-pointer since Feb. 1 and
- complete with sig- going 2-for-3 from deep. Sopho-
Big Ten championship more forward Evan Smotrycz
ions and ESPN GameDay also had his best game in weeks.
to cover Their performances give Michi-
Ohio State gan (9-4 Big Ten, 19-7 overall)
Crisler hope that a more cohesive attack
won't at Michigan could result in a better offensive
ing for Matchup: output against the Buckeyes this
on Sat- OSU 22-4; time around.
ght. Michigan 19-7 "Our whole team right now
s when When: Sat- is starting to jell together," said
in coach urday 9 P.M. senior guard Zack Novak. "In the
Beilein past week, this might be the big-
s team :Center se gest leap I've seen (this season),
e No. just in terms of guys playing bas-
State TV/Radio: ketball the way we play, especially
Arbor ESPN, ESPN3 offensively. It's good. It's heading
biggest in the right direction."
the season to date for the A week ago, it appeared Ohio
nes. Both teams are des- State (10-3,
or a win. If the Buckeyes 22-4) might
they'll keep pace with fel- come limp-
ue leader Michigan State, ing into Ann "
Michigan victory would Arbor. The
Wolverines within a half team narrow- oppori
first place in the confer- ly beat Pur-
due at home against
gpping Ohio State won't be before play-
task, and the 17th-ranked ing one of its teai
nes know that first-hand. worst games
the two teams met in of the season -
us on Jan. 29, the game last Saturday
e for the first 25 minutes against visiting Michigan State.
he Buckeyes exerted their The Spartans bullied their way to
rolled to a 15-point win. a 58-48 win, snapping the Buck-
matchup came during the eyes' 39-game home winning
d stretch when sopho- streak in the process.
uard Tim Hardaway Jr. In those two subpar perfor-
manage to hit a shot mances, Ohio State revealed one
he did have 15 points of its potential weaknesses, doing

a poor job of defending the high
ball screen. Michigan runs the
screen regularly with freshman
point guard Trey Burke, and if the
Wolverines can exploit it on Sat-
urday, their chances of winning
will go up dramatically.
Burke had a decent game the
last time the teams squared off,
going 5-for-11 from the field, but
he struggled - as did his team-
mates - with Ohio State's length.
The Buckeye trio of 6-foot-9
Jared Sullinger, 6-foot-7 DeShaun
Thomas and 6-foot-6 William
Buford consistently disrupted
Burke's penetration the last time
Ohio State still has that length,
and its solid win at Minnesota
on Tuesday indicates the team is
back in form. The Buckeyes lead
the Big Ten and are tied for 14th
in the country, allowing just 0.93
points per pos-
a great point guard
Aaron Craft
tunity - who'll be
matched up
a great with Burke
much of Satur-
M . day night - is
another big rea-
son why.
"He is a tre-
mendous part of their success,"
Beilein said. "He plays like a
senior that prioritizes winning,
prioritizes defense and prioritizes
making the next pass. ... (Novak
and senior guard Stu Douglass)
feel the game before the opponent
does, and Craft is a specialist at

On the other side of the ball,
the Wolverines have held their
last two opponents to 39-percent
shooting. But reboundingremains
a problem, and Ohio State abused
Michigan in that area last time,
especially on the offensive glass.
Beilein, too, still hasn't fig-
ured out a way to fully contain
Sullinger, who's a favorite to be
named first team All-Big Ten at
the end of the season.
But the Michigan coach has
had plenty of time to devise a
defensive plan to help stymie the
The Wolverines have been off a
full six days, resting and prepar-
ing for Ohio State - their longest
such period since winter break in
Beilein said he planned to treat
the first few days like training
camp, focusing on his team only,
before beginning to prep for the
Buckeyes later in the week.
In a bit of a surprise, the usu-
ally reserved Beilein also admit-
ted that he'd be addressing the
fact that a Big Ten championship
is within reach for Michigan. It'd
be the team's first conference title
since 1986.
"(The team) knows the stand-
ings, so you just do the math and
see right away, if you win, we have
a great opportunity here against
a great team."
Michigan has done much this
season to confirm its standing as
a program to be reckoned with
again. In primetime on Saturday,
the Wolverines have an opportu-
nity to prove it to the nation.

Q&A with ESPN
College GameDay
producer Engle
By LUKE PASCH basketball. Bet you can figure that
Daily SportsEditor one out.
TMD: I wonder ...
To follow last season's historic TE: We're there for basketball
Michigan-Notre Dame under-the- obviously, but I don't think you
lights matchup at the Big House could ignore Denard Robinson
may be a bit like following the and what he means to the Univer-
Beatles. sity and the success he's had on the
But ESPN College Gameday team. So there will be a little bit of
won't be intimidated as the show him sprinkled in a couple times
makes the trip to Ann Arbor on throughout the show. We've had
Saturday for the first time since some really funny things planned
September. That's right - the for him and our guys.
weekly basketball edition of the TMD: Onto the matchup, what
show will stop at Crisler Center is your opinion ofthis year's Mich-
(for the first time ever) for Michi- igan squad? A lot has been said of
gan's showdown with Ohio State. the Wolverines finally rebounding
On Saturday, students will be from the Ed Martin scandal - is
permitted to line up outside of Michiganbasketball finallyback?
Gate D of Crisler Center at 5:00 TE: I think they're on their way
a.m., and the doors will open at back. There's no denying it with
7:30 a.m. Sacrificing sleep is a what they've done on the court.
big price for students to pay the Their record so far this year kind
weekend before midterms, but of speaks for itself, and I don't
Maize Ragers may do anything think there's any denying that
to get their silly posters on televi- they're moving in the right direc-
sion. College Gameday producer tion. I'm not an analyst, so I can't
and Ohio State alum Tom Engle really get into Xs and Os on Michi-
spoke with The Michigan Daily gan basketball, but I think record-
on Thursday night to preview the wise and with some of the wins
upcoming matchup. they've had this year - they're
The Michigan Daily: The basket- definitely working their way back.
ball edition of Gameday has never TMD: Most people say the
made the stop inAnn Arbor before Michigan-Ohio State rivalry isn't
- how'd you decide to make the nearly as big in basketball as it is in
trip this year? football. Is there merit to that, and
Tom Engle: We look at the what do you think the atmosphere
schedule before the season and in Crisler will be like?
kind of pick out games of interest TE: Well, I hope the atmosphere
as the season plays out, and for- is great. We've had some really
tunately for us, this turned out to good atmospheres this year so far.
be a really big game. We got lucky You know, the more people that
withthatdecision. Unlikefootball, are there, the better the atmo-
we do this before the season starts sphere, and our guys on the set
or as the season begins - it's not a thrive off of that. As far as the
week-to-week basis. So we're for- rivalry, and I'm speaking as an
tunate that we have a really good Ohio State alum - I wasn't going
matchup this week in Ann Arbor. to tell you that, but I am - I don't
TMD: On the morning show, think it's anywhere near football
you guys usually do something fun and that's for a couple reasons.
with the team, sometimes a how- One, they play two times every
well-do-you-know-your-team- year, and win or loss doesn't really
mate segment - can we expect to impact your year nearly as much
see that on Saturday? as whenyouplay12 football games
TE: Yeah, that's kind of a weekly a season.
segment that we've done all year, TMD: So, as an Ohio alum,
and we're going to do it again at what are your opinions of Buckeye
Michigan. We've had a lot of fun coach Thad Matta and what he's
with it, and we've actually started done for the program there?
to keep score of how these kids are TE: He's been tremendous. It's
doing. They've done tremendous proven to be a really good hire,
this year. I'll wait and let you find he's been an excellent recruiter,
out, but there are two players who and year-in, year-out, they've won
have agreed to do it. 20 games or more. I think the next
TMD: C'mon, you won't tell us step for him is to get it done in the
who? (NCAA) Tournament. But as an
TE: It's a bigsecret. alum speaking strictly as an alum,
TMD: What else is on tap for I can't imagine anybody else I'd
Michigan fans on Saturday morn- rather have there than him.
ing? TMD: Score prediction?
TE: Therewilllbe an appearance TE: I have none. I hope it's a
by probably the most popular ath- great game and a lot of people
lete on campus, who doesn't play watch!
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Seniors to play last home series

Daily Sports Editor
A small but talented senior
class will play its last sched-
uled home games for the No.
4 Michigan
hockey team at
Yost Ice Arena N. Michigan
this weekend. at Michan
But if the series
against North- Matchup:
ern Michigan- NMU 14-10-6;
goes better for UM18-10-4
the Wolver- When: Friday
ines than the 7:35 p.m., Satur-
last time the day 5:05 p.m..
two teams met, Where: Crisler
they will earn Center
more dates TV/Radio:
in the arena's BTN, FSD
friendly con-
Senior defenseman Greg
Pateryn acknowledged that it's
always hard to watch team-
mates skate off the Yost rink for
the last time - now it's his turn.
"In years past ... guys were
getting pretty sad about it,"
Pateryn said. "It's (our) favorite
place to play in the country....
It's kind of weird to think about
how yot were just a freshman a
few years ago."
When Michigan (12-8-4
CCHA,18-10-4 overall) traveled
to Marquette for an October
series against the Wildcats (9-9-
6, 14-10-6), conference play got
off to a rocky start. In the series

opener, Wolverine fifth-year
senior goaltender Shawn Hun-
wick was ejected for throwing a
punch in a second-period brawl.
Northern Michigan plans on
keeping its emotions in check
while playing in a hostile envi-
ronment this weekend, with six
critical CCHA points hanging
in the balance.
"I think it's good that there's
a rivalry between us," said
Wildcat senior forward Andrew
Cherniwchan in an interview
with ESPN 970. "(It) brings a
lot of emotion to the game. But
at the same time, you can't let
your emotions get the best of
you and you just got to keep a
level head."
Cherniwchan went on to say
that he feels the Wolverines are
usually the instigators.
"We're hard working and
we're physical," Cherniwchan
said. "Sometimes they take
offense to that."
Awaiting Northern Michi-
gan after its long bus ride from
the Upper Peninsula will be a
team that hardly resembles the
one that the Wildcats took four
out of six points from in Octo-
ber. Michigan's leaders have
emerged, and Hunwick knows
he can't afford to lose his head
and place his team in a vulner-
able position.
In his weekly film session,
what stood out the most to
Michigan coach Red Berenson

was the Wildcats' special-teams
prowess. Northern Michigan
ranks near the top of the CCHA
in both power-play and penalty-
kill percentages. But to Beren-
son, it's just another stage of a
gauntlet through tough special
teams opponents recently.
"Every week, we look at
another team with good special
teams," Berenson said. "Notre
Dame, Miami (Ohio), Michigan
State - and now Northern."
Wednesday, the Wolve-ines
ran a 5-on-3 drill, rotating play-
ers from offense to defense to
simulate a tough kill or a crucial
man advantage.
"In practice, you can stop the
drill and figure things out," said
junior forward Lindsay Sparks.
"In the games, you can't really
do that. So it's a good tool."
During the series in Mar-
quette, the Wolverines strug-
gled to find the net on the
power play, going 0-for-6 with
an extra skater in the Friday
night loss to the Wildcats. The
next night wasn't much better,
though Michigan did manage a
shootout win. In that game, it
was the penalty kill's shortcom-
ings that made the difference,
as Northern Michigan notched
two power-play goals.
"It's the little things on spe-
cial teams," Pateryn said. "I
think what it comes down to is
our work ethic."
Berenson scoffed when asked

if special teams will determine
the winner this weekend - "It
usually decides weekends," he
said. But for this one, it seems
especially important that the
Wolverines manage to cut down
penalties, which have engulfed
them at their worst this season.
He also expects emotions
to play only a marginal role on
senior night. Berenson believes
the tears and memories are best
saved for the last time his skat-
ers take their jerseys off. With
playoff positioning - as well
as an outside shot at the CCHA
title - on the line, Michigan
should have all the incentive
it needs to earn another home
series in March.
Defenseman Greg Pateryn on the ice.

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