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October 31, 2014 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-31

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8A - Friday, October 31, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

BA - Friday, October 31, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Focus shifts to last week of prep

Daily SportsEditor
Michigan men's basketball
coach John Beilein spent the
summer and most of the fall
growing his team and preparing
* it for the season overall.
r He said it in June at his first
offseason press conference. He
- said it in August, right before
the team left for a 10-day trip
to Italy. And he said it Oct. 16
at Big Ten Media Day, that his
team was simply getting better at
There were five months,
three months and one month,
respectively until the season
opener from those dates. The
goal was merely to get the young
Wolverines better.
Now there are 10 days until the
exhibition and 15 until the opener,
and the goal is clearer: get ready
to play Wayne State and Hillsdale,
and - down the line - Oregon, No.
2 Arizona and No. 24 Syracuse.
"The intensity has begun to
ramp up, and the attention to
detail, things like that," said
junior guard Spike Albrecht on
Thursday at the team's media
day. "Just making sure that the
guys know how serious this is,
and they've got to pick it up a
little bit."
As the calendar turns, the goal
shifts from getting stronger and
quicker to installing offensive
and defensive sets.
"We have a list of so many
things to do to still improve that
we haven't even touched that
we could see in our first game,"
Beilein said.
It helps that the first game is an
exhibition, and the next is against
Division II Hillsdale College, and
the next two are home games
against Bucknell and Detroit
But at Thursday's practice,
the volume was higher, pace
faster and intensity higher than

Michigan coachJohn Beilein has faced the questions of expectations all summer but he's worried ais

'M' to experiment
with new lineup
By KELLY HALL then we have a bunch of (small
Daily Sports Writer players), and that concerns us
at the rebounding spot," Barnes
The Wolverines will finally be Arico said. "If we go with a Jil-
able to face opponents other than lian-and-Nicole lineup, now we
themselves. have more rebounders, and we're
Sunday's exhibition game bigger, but we're not shooting the
against Davenport will be the first ball as well."
time the Michigan women's bas- Flaherty's craftiness will chal-
ketball team competes against an lenge the returning guards, and
opponent, and more importantly, it there's a possibility the freshman
will give the Wolverines their ear- will wind up in the starting lineup,
liest look at how their new lineup meaning Smith would move up
fares against an actual opponent. to small forward. Not only does
"It's the beginning of the Flaherty's presence add to an
season, so we'regoingtolearnalot already-productive duo of lights-
from the first game," said senior out shooting guards, butit will also
guard Shannon Smith. "We're hold players more accountable.
going to learn how hard we need "We definitely have more depth
to play every single possession, than we had," Barnes Arico said. "I
and also how well everyone is tell them all the time, 'Shannon, if
going to know their role." you're not going as hard as you're
Michigan coach Kim Barnes capable of going, or if you're
Arico's biggest task this offseason throwing up some crazy shots, the
was compensating for the loss of whistle can blow and you'll come
6-foot-4 Val Driscoll. out.' Last year, we didn't have that
Senior forward Nicole Elmbald flexibility as much."
will switch to the power forward Dunston has also been working
position after playing small hard from the get-go. Barnes
forward for the past two seasons. Arico calls her a "gym rat," and
Power forward is Elmblad's stated that in all 16 practices
original position, and one Barnes they've had so far, the 6-foot-I
Arico says the veteran captain freshman is one of the hardest
has looked more comfortable at workers on the court.
in practices. Now one of the few The contest on Sunday should
questionsthat remains is who will be an interesting challenge for
start alongside Elmblad. the Wolverines. Michigan will be
The Wolverinesenter theseason focused on setting its lineup, but
with four returning starters: the Panthers won't bea pushover
Elmblad, Smith, senior center either. Davenport is in the small
Cyesha Goree and sophomore Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Con-
guard Siera Thompson. ference, but proved it had some
But freshmen Katelynn Fla- talent when the Panthers went
herty and Jillian Dunston will vie 34-2 last season and outscored
for playing time early on. As the their opponents 3,022 to 2,129.
season progresses, the lineup will While the Wolverines won't be
evolve with it. taking the result for granted, their
"If we go with the lineup of main focus this weekend will be
Siera (Thompson), Shannon on their lineup adjustments and
(Smith) and Katelynn (Flaherty), preparing for the regular season.

before the team left for Europe
in August.
This year's Michigan team
will need players to grow into
roles just as last year's did. But
for now, despite its youth, the
teamhas a core ofupperclassmen
leading the way.
That includes junior guard
Caris LeVert, the Wolverines' top
returning scorer.
"There's guys that if they're
not comfortable beingvocal, they
may not help us," Beilein said. "I
would say he's not comfortable.
He's just not going to be the
Zack Novak, not going to be a
guy that's going to really jump in
somebody's face, which Zack was
very happy to do several times.
"But you can still get it across.
His attitude of being coachable
and his effort every day speak
volumes for who he is. He's
always been that way, but now,
as one of the veteran players, our
guys are watching him."

Another is Albrecht, who
noted that small mistakes such
as traveling while pivoting and
catching the ball with one hand
are startingto be corrected.
The third upperclassman is
the lone senior, forward Max
Bielfeldt, who, despite playing
a limited role over the summer
with a hip injury, is one of the
most experienced players on
the team.
"The sophomores and juniors
on this team, we are the veteran
leaders, which is scary to think
of," Bielfeldt said. "But I'm the
oldest kid on the team, so I have
to go out there, have to hold
people accountable and push
them to the best they can be."
The Wolverines will also rely
on a group of six freshmen, most
prominently, forward Kameron
Chatman. As a big, athletic wing,
the former four-star recruit
appears to be the favorite to step
into Glenn Robinson III's former

role at the '4' position.
"It comes and goes, and I
won't single people out right
now, but there's a couple of them
right now that are exceptional
at taking the task and applying
it," Beilein said. "Then there are
some other ones that are very
typical. I don't think anybody
has been, 'Oh my goodness, this
isgoing to be atwo- or three-year
Beilein said several different
wrinkles are on the table down
the road. With a longer team,
he could afford to play more
zone defense and try to create
turnovers. On offense, he wants
to see Albrecht and junior guard
Derrick Walton shoot more.
But for now, Michigan has
to get ready to play 40 minutes,
twice a week. Once five months
away, the season starts in 10 days.
As sophomore guard Sean
Lonergan said with a smile: "It
went quick."

Wolverines make first trip to Houghton since 1983

DailySports Writer
Last year, the Michigan hockey
team entered a home series
against Michigan Tech boasting
a 4-1-1 record that included wins
over three opponents in the top 15.
They weren't scoring much,
but the Wolverines were allowing
fewer than two goals per game
and were no stranger to late-
game, dramatic victories.
This month alone, the
15th-ranked Wolverines have
allowed 16 goals in five contests
and have one scored more than
two goals once. At 2-3, Michigan
will need to sweep a road series
against No. 17 Michigan Tech to
edge above .500 for the first time
this season.
And that's going to be a
The Huskies enter this
weekend's series without a loss

the road last weekend. In doing
so, Michigan Tech's defense,
in front of goaltender Jamie
Phillips, allowed only one goal in
120 minutes. Phillips boasts a 1.25
goals allowed average.
If the Wolverines want to
walk away with a road sweep of
their own, they'll have to start by
keeping the goals againstdownto
a minimum.
"To go into Ferris and sweep in
Ferris is pretty hard to do," said
senior forward Zach Hyman. "We
know how hard it is to play Ferris
at Ferris, obviously... Goals are
going to be hard to come by, but
that just means we have to play
better defensively."
Added Michigan coach Red
Berenson: "We've got to cut down
on the goals against. That's the
That's not to say the offense is
in a position to remain stagnant.
Last year, with 1:34 remaining

Tech, junior forward Andrew
Copp drove a puck into the
top-left corner to secure the
Wolverines' second overtime
victory of the season.
Copp's score kicked offa stellar
November in which the captain
led the team in scoring with 13
points, including two overtime
Alongside sophomore JT
Compher - who moved over
to left wing from center before
the season - and freshman
Dexter Dancs, Copp's line has
been overshadowed early by
the second. Though they've had
enough chances, the trio has
combined for just eight points.
Compher and Copp
- Michigan's top two scorers
from last season - are without a
goal. And it appears Berenson is
ready to end the experiment, as
he plans to put Compher back in
his comfort zone at center this

"You look at JT and Andrew,
they're proven scorers," Hyman
said. "It's just a matter of time
before they get going. I think that
they're doing all the right things."
Michigan is making its first
trip to Houghton, Michigan under
Berenson. The Wolverines haven't
played at Michigan Tech since
November 1983 after meeting last
year at Yost Ice Arena.
That's not to say this Huskies
team is unfamiliar.
Michigan Tech coach Mel
Pearson spent the duration of
his 23-year tenure in Ann Arbor
as an assistant under Berenson,
and while he was charged with
scheduling opponents, he never
slated a road trip to Michigan
The Wolverines will also see
a face from their 1998 national
championship run in Huskies
assistant coach Bill Muckalt. In

tallied 226 points - god for
seventh all-time in program
history - and was a first-team
All-American in 1998.
Freshman forward Dexter
Dancs, who played for the Vernon
Vipers of the British Columbia
Hockey League, looks forward
to skating against former BCHL
competition. Michigan Tech lists
10 BCHL products on its roster,
including five freshmen. Dancs
will skate against a familiar face
in forward Alex Gillies, who
is among the team leaders in
scoring, with three points.
"I haven't been (to Michigan
Tech)," Dancs said. "I have a lot of
buddies up there from the BCHL,
so I'm excited to play them."
For the second straight series,
Michigan will be without key
pieces of its lineup, another
challenge as the Wolverines
maneuver through the last of its
nonconference matchups.
Berenson canceled practice

Wednesday because a sizable
portion of his team was "banged
up" or sick at some point during
the week.
Senior forward Andrew Sinelli
(shoulder/groin), freshman
defenseman Niko Porikos (sports
hernia) and junior forward Justin
Selman will not make the trip to
the Upper Peninsula.
The defense will be under
all the more pressure without
Sinelli, who's seen time at both
forward and defense this season,
and Porikos available.
"I think it's going to be a
defensive battle," said freshman
defenseman Zach Werenski. "I'm
confident going into the weekend.
It's going to be a tough building
with their home opener, so it's
going to be a good test for us."

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