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February 14, 2013 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-14

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8A - Thursday, February 14, 2013 S orts

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Michigan needs a
leader, not a shirt

n the corner of Harrison
Road and Kalamazoo
Street, $10 could've
bought you the state's most
talked about T-shirt on Tuesday
night. The "YOU OFF" shirts
were actually priced at $15, but
the street vendors*selling them
putup as much of a fight about
holding to
the listing
price as
Michigan
put up
against
Michigan
State at
the Bres- DANIEL
lin Center
across the WASSERMAN
street.
WE ON.
The moniker, nothing but irrel-
evant semantics, originated when
someone from the basketball
team stumbled upon Adidas shirts
that bore the phrase - entirely
unrelated to Michigan untilithe
* Wolverines donned the shirts at
Madison Square Garden and won
' the NIT Preseason Tip-Off.
The phrase could've stopped
there, until someone decided to
give the tagline a meaning: When
Everyone Operates N*Sync (you
know, like the boy band).
Michigan would go on to claim
the No.1 ranking, and all was
well, until a tough loss at Indiana
turned into another road loss at
Wisconsin and then spiraled out
of control in East Lansing.
ack Novak was in the
building, enjoying part of
his midseason week off
from his professional team in the
Netherlands.
Walking to and from his seat
nestled inside the student sec-

tion, Novak condescendingly
smiled, waved and even yapped
back at each Izzone member who
screamed obscenities at him. He
didnt just embrace the vulgarity
thrown at him, he invited it.
"I beat you guys all by myself
two years ago," he chirped at a
group of students sitting behind
him before even settling into his
own seat.
The game he was referring P
to, an upset over the Spartans in
2011, cemented Novak's legend in
Michigan history when he went
on a screamingtirade at his team- %
mates in a second-half timeout.
But Tuesday, sitting just a
mere five or six feet from where
he laid out the tongue-lashing,
he watched silently as time and
time again, Michigan coach John r j
Beilein called timeouts, onlyto
be met by dazed players, who
seemed more infatuated with
shakingtheir heads or pointing
fingers than showing resiliency.
"I thought our guys were dis-
tracted coming out of the huddlea Junior forward Tim Hardaway Jr. (topI
couple of times," Beilein admitted. (right) had no answers for Torn Izzo an
Hardaway had the worst has worn off, and Michigan can't
shootingnight of his career. sleepwalk its way to 20-point
Burke gotin foul trouble for the wins, an underlying issue is
first time in amonth. McGary, emerging.
in his firstcareer start, turned Standing in the bowels of the
the ball over four times. Those Breslin Center, a despondent Jor-
are each correctable issues, if not dan Morgan hinted at something
isolated flukes. But even ifa few more, his mumbles doing nothing
of Hardaway's 10 misses go in, to drown out the muffled sounds
or if McGary makes one or two of music still being pumped inside
smarter passes, it wouldn't have the arena where the'game had
been enough to mask Michigan's ended just minutes earlier.
mental shortcomings Tuesday. "I hope they realize," Morgan
Maybe Novak's presence said, pausing to catch himself. "I
behind the bench, and not on hope we realize what happened
it, magnified Michigan's lack of today - that's just not okay."
toughness and void of leadership Burke, too, was asked if anyone
in East Lansing. But now that the * needs to question their effort.
Wolverines' honeymoon period "Uhh," he paused. "I think
atop the college basketball world that's something the coaches will

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left) is a skilled shooter and a hard competitor, but doesn't show the intensity of Zack Novak. Michigan coach Jon Beilein
d Michigan State on Tuesday, leaving a raucus Michigan State fan section, known as the Izzone, happy.

obviously look at in the film, but
we win together, lose together."
Not necessarily a glowing
endorsement.
The issue with effort,
or toughness, or what-
ever you want to call it -
which Tim Hardaway Jr. said has
"been going on for the last couple
of games" - almost necessitated
someone getting in someone's
face.
By all accounts, senior captain
Josh Bartelstein is a great leader,
but did anyone expect him to
turn in a Novak-esque moment on
Tuesday night?
Hardaway and Burke, both
hard workers who lead by exam-

ple, probably aren't the type to -
either.
And is there anyone on this
year's squad with enough guts to
return to the Breslin Center in
two years and smuglytaunt the
Izzone?
Michigan doesn't have a
tough-as-nails leader like Novak,
and now it's becoming more of a
stretch to even call the Wolver-
ines anything other than timid
and soft when they're onthe road.
Michigan earned the No.1
ranking based on its talent, now
it'll have to earn its respect back
with something more than skill,
talent on paper or off-the-court
hype.
"We've got to look at ourselves

and ask how much we really want
it," Morgan said. "We want to
win championships, we say that
everyday, but at the end of the day,
we've got to make a commitment
to do our job.
"It's going to come down to just
makinga decision how good we
want to be."
Right now, theyoff. The Wol-
verines have the talent to get back
ON, but do they have the tough-
ness?
That question is worth a lot
more than the price of those
t-shirts.
Daniel Wasserman can be
reached at dwass@umich.edu,
or on'Twitter Ed_wasserman

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