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March 14, 2012 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-03-14

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6A - Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily~o

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Connections abound in Ohi

Daily Sports Writer
When Ohio's name popped up
on CBS's Selection Show in the
space below Michigan, Wolverine
fans came up with an abundance
of jokes surroundingthe irony of a
real Michigan-Ohio matchup.
Since Michigan football coach
Brady Hoke coined the term at
his introductory press confer-
ence, fans and even members of
the Wolverines' athletic depart-
ment - including Athletic Direc-
tor Dave Brandon and basketball
coach John Beilein - have delib-
erately left the "State" out of the
school's name.
It even prompted a comment
from Bobcat men's basketball
coach John Groce.
"It is kind of disrespectful, but
it is what it is," Groce told USA
Today in February. "You can't
control what other people say.
You can only control what you're
doing on a daily basis. That's how
we operate here."
But the connections between
the Michigan and Ohio basketball
programs run deeper than a jab at
the Wolverines' rival.
The two programs have many
links, but perhaps none more
important - strategically speak-
ing - than Michigan assistant
coach Bacari Alexander.
Alexander spent one season,
2007-2008, as a Bobcat assistant.
He left Athens, Ohio, when Groce
replaced former head coach Tim
Though none of the current
players on Ohio's roster were in
college when O'Shea departed,
Alexander moved on to coach at
Western Michigan. For two years,
as MAC rivals, Alexander's Bron-
cos dropped two of their three
games against the Bobcats.
But the experience of going
head-to-head against Groce and
Ohio will give Alexander, who
will likely handle game-planning
duties leading up to Friday, a leg
Alexander's link isn't the only
connection among Michigan's
staff. As a head coach at Rich-
mond, Beilein coached against
conference foe Xavier, where
Groce was serving as an assis-
tant under current Ohio State
coach That Matta - one of
Groce's mentors.
Groce is also a friend of Michi-

Freshman guard Trey Burke turned down Michigan's first-round opponent, Ohio, to play in Ann Arbor. He'll face several clos

gan assistant Jeff Meyer. Both are
graduates of Taylor University,
and despite graduating 22 years
apart, each played basketball for
Taylor coach Paul Patterson.
And Groce's connections to
Michigan don't stop there. Dur-
ing the one year Groce spent as
an assistant at Butler in 2001,
Wolverine assistant LaVall Jor-
dan was an all-conference senior
guard for the Bulldogs.
Some Michigan players are
familiar with current Bobcats,
Senior guard Zack Novak
remains close friends with red-
shirt junior guard Walter Offutt.
Offutt, who transferred to Ohio
from Ohio State, was an AAU
teammate of Novak on the Indi-
ana Elite.
Novak stays in regular com-
munication with Offutt, and

moments after finding out his
tournament fate, he texted his
"I actually congratulated him
when they won (the MAC Cham-
pionship) the other day - sent
him a text saying, 'Way to get
in,'" Novak said. "I already have
texted him since it came up (on
the Selection Show). We talked a
little bit."
Their pleasantries Sunday
evening began on a light mat-
ter - exchanging jokes from the
movie Talladega Nights - but
then things got down to busi-
"(I) just told him congrats,"
Novak said. "Personally, for him,
he's been through a lot. He's
gone through two knee surger-
ies, so I was just happy for him
that he got to experience that. I
just said, 'See you in Nashville

and let's get after it.'"
Freshman point guard Trey
Burke, an Ohio native, was heav-
ily recruited by Ohio, and early
in his high school career, he con-
sidered becoming a Bobcat. He
took an unofficial visit to Ath-
ens, where he became acquaint-
ed with several current Ohio
players, including Nick Kellogg
- the son of basketball analyst
Clark Kellog - and the Bobcats'
best player, DJ Cooper.
"I was considering them early
on in my recruiting process,"
Burke said. "The players were
cool. ... It was a nice campus. It
was much smaller than here, but
the coaches were cool."
He's also close friends with
Bobcat freshman point guard
Stevie Taylor, dating back to
their elementary-school days.
The two battled on the same


) game O'Neill
hits slump
for Blue
Daily Sports Writer
Ray Fisher Stadium echoed
with baseball game jargon on
Tuesday during practice.
"Hey, whad-
da ya got?" NOTEBOOK
yelled Michi-
gan coach Rich Maloney as he
pitched to freshman left fielder
Will Drake.
"Atta boy Zotty," someone
shouted as freshman outfielder
Zach Zott made strong contact.
"Way to hustle, Donnie," after
freshman outfielder Donnie
Eaton rounded the bases.
"Gotta git 'er done," said
Michigan volunteer coach
Wayne Welton, as he fed a ball
through the pitching machine to
a ready bunter.
The sun was nearly blinding,
but it only seemed to boost the
Wolverines' morale. Maloney
was grateful for the spring-like
weather, but he was even more
pleased with the team's improve-
ment and play.
Each sector of the team
seemed to be pulling its own
weight, to say the least. The
pitching staff has thrown a com-
ERIN KLRKLAND/ODiy bined 97 strikeouts, the fielders
e friends on Friday in Nashville. led the conference with 423 put-
outs and the batters led the Big
court together throughout high Ten with 29 doubles and 13 home
schools - sometimes as team- runs.
mates, and other times as rivals. Maloney is satisfied.
They competed against each But it appears sophomore
other several times in high right fielder .Michael O'Neill is
school, but on the AAU circuit, not. After his 10-game hitting
they were teammates on the All- streak was snapped against No.
Ohio Red team. 13 LSU last weekend, O'Neill
Taylor tweeted on Sunday hasn't recovered.
night that he and Burke had He went 2-for-16 in the tour-
already talked on the phone, nament and it still seemed to
and even Burke's mom, Ronda, be in his head. O'Neill looked
chimed in. defeated at practice, muttering
"You two knuckleheads can't under his breath after a less-
get away from each other, huh??" than-perfect at-bat.
she tweeted at Taylor. "It's going His head hunglow, but he gave
to be nice to see you both on the it another swing. Maybe Malo-
court." ney wanted to getO'Neill fired
"Needless to say there is a up and get him angry enough to
mutual respect with so much hit.
familiarity between all of us," "Take it," Maloney said. "Do
Jordan tweeted. "Our guys know your job."
they can PLAY & WE know they If O'Neill falls into a dry spell,
can coach!" the timing isn't the worst - the
Wolverines still have a handful
of non-conference games.
Michigan posts a 7-9 record -
not ideal, but manageable. And
734-418-4115 Maloney is not too concerned
with the weight of the recent
dailydisplay@gmail.com losses. Instead, he's looking for-
ward to the Big Ten matchups,
and remains hopeful for the vic-
tories that matter most.
ARBOR PROPERTIES. DISTINC- After a promising start to the
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town, Central Campus, Old West Side, son, Michigan has had just
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theless, Maloney reflects on all
AVAILABLE FALL. STUDIOS, One the what ifs and what could've
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four games against the Tigers
IAand Notre Dame, though they
only recorded one. Maloney
described the proximity for a
winning weekend as just "inches
ONE YEAR LEGAL internship posi- away."
tion available at Birmingham Michigan "There's hope," Maloney said.
law firm starting Aug. 2012. Perfect for "There's a lot of hope."
bighly motivated graduating senior. INJURIES WEAR FAIRLY
Email resume /cover letter/transcriptno
h.immigration.s@gmail.com for EXPENSIVE PRICETAG: Michi-
consideration. gan is still rehabilitating from
PART TIME & FULL TIME last season's bumps and bruises.
SEASONAL GRILL, BANQUET, Fifth-year senior right-hand-
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Stonebridge Golf ClubAA. Both of those occurrences
734-429-8303. plagued the Wolverines in Feb-
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Club AA. Cult Jim 734-323-8790. since. But while healthy pitchers
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WAYNE FOR GIRLS -Children's this season and isn't expected to
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children and want a caring, fun environ- to us," Maloney said,
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and other staff for our summer camp. Dennis maybe prone to injury.
Interviews on UM campus March 21st. Or maybe it's just bad luck. Last
Select The Camp That Selects The Best.t.
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WORK ON MACKINAC Island This Fortunately, freshman infield-
Summer - Make lifelong friends. The er Dylan Delaney stepped in.
Island House Hotel and Ryba's Fudge Though his .160 batting average
Shops are looking for help in all areas:
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Sales Clerks, Kitchen, Baristas. Hous- consistent starts at shortstop and
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this season.





RELEASE DATE- Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS DOWN 31 'Rensen, 48 Put pn tB paper
1 Diamond-studded 1 Goodyear flier Reuben"actor 9E tntySoiet
tooth caps, e.g. 2 Crossbred big cat Tom leader
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infield, say perfectly 40 Wrath, in a classic array
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later 1113th-century M I C K E Y M A N T L E
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syllable 12 One whoe N I B 0 L E S U 5
28 oone's woklaneisall E RI C A B C S T O L L S
homework,soto abuzz M I G H T Y A P H R O'D I T E
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schedule 27Cellosect. T I E U P I S I S P R I X
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39 Bad check letters 29 In_-of: replacing xwordeditor@aol.com 03/1412
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set of circles in
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57 Nile queen, 4 4 4e
58 PTA part: Abbr. a as 9 505152
59 tke a five-star
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61 Spanish surrealist
tchip maker 61 62
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65"With Reagan" y .B
memoirist (e)22riune Media services, inc. 03/14/12

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