Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NBA Preview: Southeast Division

We continue our preview even as the season has begun, with my own defending champion Spurs kicking off the season with a victory last night to go along with their rings. Amy Aimonovitch now finishes up her preview of the weaker of the two conferences with the youngest division in the East, the Southeast Division.

Southeast Division

1. Miami Heat
Last season: After their first round loss in the playoffs last year, it’s obvious that the Heat are getting older. Considering that early on in the season, Miami was 13-19, it’s amazing they finished 5th in the Eastern conference. Key injuries didn’t help Miami at all either. Shaquille O’Neal had to have knee surgery after only 5 games and then went on to miss the next three months. And I think everyone remembers Dwyane Wade’s dislocated shoulder. Even Pat Riley got in on the act, having knee and hip surgeries mid-season. Despite giving up more points than they scored, Miami managed to finish at 44-38. On explanation for this is that Miami went 18-6 in games decided by 5 points or less; some might see this as lucky, but you could also attribute it to experience and knowing how to pull out games. Surprisingly, despite having both Shaq and Wade, Miami’s offense was unimpressive. They shot well from the field, but they finished last in the league in free throw percentage (thanks mostly to Shaq, 42.2% and Antoine Walker, 43.8%). On top of that, Miami, even with Jason Kapono, didn’t shoot well from 3 point range, but they still shot an incredible amount of 3 pointers. Kapono made an amazing 51.4% of his 3 pointers, but at some point, he was offset by Walker (27.5%), Jason Williams (33.9%), and Gary Payton (26%). As a result, Miami shot 34.3% from 3 point range. Defensively, though, the Heat were much better, somewhat making up for their offensive woes.
This season: During the off-season, Miami lost Kapono, Eddie House, and James Posey, which all but decimated their outside shot. Without these three, the rest of the Heat only made 28.9% of their 3 pointers. The only guard the Heat picked up during the off-season, though, was Smush Parker, who isn’t particularly good at 3 pointers or defending. Luckily for Miami, they decided to pull a deal during the preseason and got rid of Antoine Walker, and picked up two players from Minnesota (Ricky Davis and Mark Blount). Walker was a liability last year, jacking up shots constantly and making less than 40% of them, and both his free throw and 3 point percentages were horrible (mentioned above). The biggest concern, of course, for the Heat this year is Wade’s healthy; he’s still out indefinitely after shoulder and knee surgeries, and who knows how many games Shaq will be able to play this season.

Prediction: If the Heat can stay healthy and a couple of players off the bench can help out, the Heat will finish 1st in the division and 4th in conference. Right now, with both Shaq and Wade, I just can’t pick against this team.

2. Orlando Magic
Last season: The Magic had an odd season last year; first they roared out to a 12-4 start, only to fall apart and eventually sink to 7 games under .500. At the end of the season, though, they managed to win six of the last seven games and secure the last playoff berth in the East. Part of the problem for the Magic was that certain players didn’t live up to their expectations. Jameer Nelson field goal percentage dropped by 50 points and his 3 point percentage fell by nearly 90 points. Darko Milicic (who I’m sure all Detroit fans remember) continued to play sluggishly and J.J. Redick missed the first part of the season with back problems. Redick’s injury was a blow to the Magic too, as they were in need of an outside shooter; the Magic didn’t have a dependable 3 point shooter last year, and as a result, didn’t take very many. The only player on the team with more than 3 attempts per game was Hedo Turkoglu. The biggest problem, though, for Orlando was turnovers. Howard was the worst offender here, averaging 3.9 turnovers per game; the Magic threw the ball down deep to Howard a lot and because of their lack of 3 point shooting, opponents were constantly double teaming him. Despite all these turnovers, Orlando still managed to finish fourth in the league in field goal percentage with 47.2%. But their free throws killed the Magic. Orlando only made 70.2% of its free throws, and Howard didn’t help them out, making less than 60% of his shots from the stripe. Defensively, the Magic were a lot better. Though they had a tendency to foul, they also gave up the third lowest field goal percentage, behind only Phoenix and San Antonio.
This season: Orlando’s biggest move this off-season might have been the one that didn’t work out, their attempt to obtain Florida coach Billy Donovan. Thankfully for Orlando, after Donovan backed out, they still managed to hire Stan Van Gundy, who was ousted from Miami by Pat Riley. Otherwise, Orlando had a decent off-season. For the most part, the Magic managed to shed some dead weight (Milicic and Travis Diener, who didn’t play because Orlando has too many guards) and picked up some valuable players. Picking up Rashard Lewis from the Sonics was probably their best move; Lewis is an outside shooter who can help draw double teams away from Howard and his 22.4 points per game will help Orlando’s offense. Unfortunately, Tony Battie will miss a substantial part of the season because of a torn rotator cuff.

Prediction: 2nd in the Southeast and 6th in the Eastern conference.

3. Washington Wizards
Last season: As usual, the Wizards were an amazing offensive team last year and abysmal on the defensive end. Washington gave up nearly 105 points per game and as a result went 41-41. While the Wizards might have the Big 3 of Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, and Caron Butler, none of those players are known for their defense, only their shooting. With all these shooters and no defensive specialist, Washington allowed opponents to shoot 37.7% from 3 point range (second worst in the league beating only Memphis) and 47.3% from the field (good enough for 27th in the league). Offensively, though, the Wizards dazzled. Both Arenas and Butler made the All-Star team and the team averaged 104.3 points per game (which was still slightly less than they gave up per game). The Wizards did excell in forcing turnovers and offensive rebounding. Unfortunately for Washington, though, they didn’t end the season well; Arenas suffered a knee injury and the team finished out the year 2-8 before being swept by Cleveland in the playoffs.
This season: Despite all of this team’s problems on defense, Washington did almost nothing during the off-season; the only player they signed, Oleksiy Pecherov, is just another player who likes to shoot. Otherwise, they simply resigned their free agents, which could be a problem for this team. Arenas is coming off of knee surgery and Jamison is now 31, so it’s hard to imagine that both those players can have outstanding years, although, it’s never good to count them out. If the Big 3 in Washington don’t perform up to expectations, this will be a long season for the Wizards.

Prediction: I just can’t count out Arenas, Butler, and Jamison, so I have the Wizards finishing 3rd in the Southeast and squeezing into the playoffs with the 8th seed.

4. Atlanta Hawks
Last season: The Hawks went only 30-52 last year, much as they usually do. At least last year they actually had an excuse though; all of Atlanta’s key players, except for Sheldon Williams, sat out at least 10 games. The injuries were the worst in the backcourt, specifically at point guard, where Tyroon Lue missed 26 games and Speedy Claxton suffered knee problems that kept him out of 40 games. Those weren’t the only injuries though; Joe Johnson missed the last 21 games with a calf strain, Marvin Williams missed 17, and Josh Childress missed 27 games with foot problems. Because of all of these injuries, Atlanta’s top players could only took the court together 7 times. Worst still is the fact that the Hawks are essentially in the middle of custody battle between their two ownership groups; currently they are trying to resolve whose team it really is. This makes it a lot harder for the Hawks to make moves, since both sides must agree. And the Hawks need help. Offensively, they were one of the worst teams in the league last year. The Hawks made only 32.9% of their 3 pointers, which was the worst in the league. Because Atlanta couldn’t shoot from the outside, it gave opponents the opportunity to double team Johnson and Josh Smith. On the defensive end, the Hawks were also plagued by the 3 pointer, giving up 37.6%. Really, the only thing that the Hawks excelled at on defense was blocks.
This season: The only moves Atlanta made this off-season were drafting Al Horford and Acie Law. Seriously. Amazingly, though, they managed to go 7-1 in the preseason, and now suddenly people are predicting great things for the Hawks. This team was lucky to win 30 games last year and all they’ve added this year are two rookies. They also have to find a steady point guard this year; Lue has suffered injuries the last two years that forced him to miss time, Claxton is getting older and coming off knee problems, and Law is only a rookie, so while he may start, he’s going to have some growing pains. On top of that, there’s still always the legal battle for ownership hanging over this team, considering that both sides must approve any deal. So even if the Hawks want help during the season, it’s going to be incredibly difficult for them to get a deal done.

Prediction: I just don’t see this team turning the corner yet, so I’ve got them 4th in the division.

5. Charlotte Bobcats
Last season: Despite going 33-59 last year, the Bobcats actually finished with the most wins by a 3rd year franchise in the last two decades. Like the Hawks, the Bobcats also suffered through several injuries to key players. Emeka Okafor missed 15 games with a calf strain, Brevin Knight sat out 37 games with abdominal injuries, and Sean May suffered knee problems which caused him to miss 44 games, and this after he missed 59 games as a rookie. But not everything can be blamed on the injuries; for some reason, the Bobcats decided to start Adam Morrison. While he managed to average 11.8 points, his shooting percentages were horrendous. Morrison shot 37.6% from the field and 33.7% from the 3 point line. Overall, offensively, this team was horrible. They finished 25th in the league in field goal percentage, making only 44.6% of their shots. Obviously, Morrison didn’t help bring that up, but then again, neither did Raymond Felton, who shot 38.4% from the field. And, for some reason, the two of them combined took about 25 shots each game. Defensively, the Bobcats were slightly better. While they allowed opponents to shoot 46.5% from the field and had trouble with fouls and rebounding, they did excel in forcing turnovers, though not quite as much as they did the year before.
This season: Not only are the Bobcats looking at a new coach (which can cause enough problems), but they’ve also lost on of their top players, Sean May, to knee surgery. However, the Bobcats also picked up Jason Richardson over the off-season from the Warriors. Richardson may not be an All-Star, but he can score, when he’s not injured; last season, Richardson only played 51 games because of knee issues. Unfortunately, the Bobcats also let Knight go, meaning they just gave up on a backup point guard who can get you over 6 assists a game. The biggest issue for the Bobcats, though, is going to be the frontcourt. Sure they have Okafor, Wallace, and Walter Herrmann (who’s only in his second year) but beyond that they only have Morrison (who was terrible last year), Othella Harrington (who is 33), and rookie Jared Dudley to backup their starters. Essentially, if this team suffers injuries, they will fall apart.

Prediction: 5th in the division.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Basketball Cheerleader

I went to a preseason Packer game on a rainy night in August. By the second half, Brett Favre had been replaced by Aaron Rodgers, Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck were sitting out and I was slightly losing interest. So I turned to critiquing cheerleaders (something I take pride in). And there she was, on the end, an oddity in the cheerleading world. A fat cheerleader. This was compounded by the fact that she looked confused and was always behind. I just couldn’t stop staring at the trainwreck that was the fat cheerleader.

And then me being me, I thought of basketball. Michigan basketball to be more correct. Our basketball team is the fat confused cheerleader of our university’s athletic program. The basketball team in Ann Arbor has the disadvantage of existing at a football school. To overcome such adversity and remain in the spotlight, they would actually have to be successful. You know, kind of like they were with the Fab 5 in the 90s and Cazzie Russell and company in the 60s. But instead we’ve been on the outside looking in. No March Madness appearances in Tommy Amaker’s tenure, although the NIT championship in 2004 was then considered promising. And we haven’t won the Big 10 (officially) since 1986.

Our fat cheerleader had gone on a diet. They’ve shed the weight that was Tommy Amaker, but will that make them relevant again? Although I was not here when Tommy was hired, I hear that there were high expectations. And for what? In his four year coaching record at Seton Hall, the Pirates got to the big boy tournament once, reaching the Sweet 16. They exited the NIT in the first round the other three years. On a positive note, he did end up with a 108-84 record with the Wolverines, well above .500. Another thing he could do well was recruit. Courtney Sims was highly regarded coming out of high school in Boston. But, this brings me to one of his faults; he just couldn’t develop his players’ raw talent or size. Sims, for example, at 6-11 seemed unable to jump for rebounds ending the 2007 season with 6.2 rpg. Compare this to Chris Kaman in his junior season at CMU. At 7-0, he averaged 12.0 rpg, improving each year by about 4 from his freshman campaign. Courtney started at 4.7 rpg in 03-04 and improved his average by .5 each season. You could say it’s not fair to compare a MAC player to a Big 10 one, but Courtney is off in Europe somewhere and Kaman, horrible hair and all, is in the NBA. That’s all that matters. Surely Sims could have shown similar development as Kaman had Tommy made that a priority. Finally, according to someone close to former Wolverine Reed Baker: “With how much they practice, they should be able to dribble.”

John Beilein, our new weight-loss trainer attempting to make us less embarrassing, is trying to bring the success he had at West Virginia here to Michigan. In his 5 years in Morgantown, the Mountaineers went to the NCAA tournament twice and actually got to the Elite 8 in 2005. The next year the team went to the Sweet 16. Last year, exiled to the NIT, Beilein’s team won the thing. Take that Tommy. Supposedly, Amaker put too much stock in seniority, alienating some of the younger players. Beilein has stated that his team will be based on talent. That’s nice to hear. Who knows what will happen this season. Beilein’s system needs a couple years to take hold, so the results may not be much different from last year. The team has lost Kendric Price, Reed Baker, Phil Devries and recruit Alex Legion, but the team’s mentality should change for the better, making this coaching change worthwhile. Maybe, by the time I graduate, we’ll have a successful basketball team again. I just hope I’ll be able to spell the coach’s name by that point.

-Cheryl Friedman

Monday, October 29, 2007

Michigan 34 Minnesota 10

After a slow start which saw Michigan fall behind early, the Wolverines dominated, scoring 34 unanswered points to record their seventh win in a row 34-10. Minnesota jumped out to an early 10-0 lead behind a 29-yard field goal and a 46-yard return for a touchdown off a Ryan Mallet fumble. Michigan bounced back with two K.C. Lopata field goals and a 2-yard touchdown run by Brandon Minor to take a 13-10 lead going into halftime. Michigan scored the only points in the third quarter on a 5-yard Carlos Brown touchdown run that was set up by a 48-yard catch by Mario Manningham. The Michigan scoring continued in the fourth quarter on two long plays, a 40-yard touchdown pass from Mallet to Manningham and an 85-yard touchdown run for Carlos Brown.

Michigan Offense vs Minnesota Defense:

The Michigan offense started sluggishly, falling behind 10-0 before the balanced attack that everyone was expecting kicked in. After being held to just 79 rushing yards in the first half, the ground game exploded for 228 yards on the ground in the second half. Both Michigan running backs, Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown had big games, filling in for Mike Hart who missed his second straight game due to injury, as they each rushed for over 100 yards.

Ryan Mallet put together perhaps his best game of the season completing 11 of 20 passes for 233 yards. Most of that occurred in the first half as Mallet only threw the ball four times in the second half. Minnesota’s defense came in ranked dead last in the nation in pass defense and it showed on Saturday as Manningham was able to fly past his defender at will, catching five passes for a career high 162 yards and a touchdown. Adrian Arrington added four catches for 61 yards, all in the first half.

The Gopher defense actually outscored their offense as Dom Barber returned a Ryan Mallet fumble 46 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to give Minnesota a 10-0 lead. That was really the only highlight defensively for the Gophers as that fumble recovery was the only turnover of the game.

Edge: Michigan

Michigan Defense vs Minnesota Offense:

Minnesota was able to move the ball throughout the first half, but that only lead to three points from the offense. Minnesota did put together a good running game as Duane Bennet carried the ball twenty times for 106 yards. Quarterback Adam Weber added 48 yards on 10 carries (not including sacks).

Michigan was able to contain a spread offense for the second week in a row, holding Weber to just 99 yards in the air and less than a 50% completion percentage. The Michigan defense has really improved from the first two games of the year, especially in the secondary. Shawn Crable led the way for the Wolverines with two sacks and seven tackles in the game. Brandon Graham also recorded a sack to go along with a fumble recovery.

Edge: Michigan

Special Teams:

This unit continues to improve for Michigan as K.C. Lopata remained perfect on the year, knocking in field goals from 26 and 42 yards out. Michigan also put together their best return effort of the season as Carlos Brown returned three kicks for an average of 22 yards and Greg Matthews averaged just under 10 yards per punt return. Joel Monroe was successful on his only field goal attempt from 26 yards for the Gophers

Edge: Michigan

WCBN Co-Players of the Game: Mario Manningham: 5 catches; 162 yards; TD and Brandon Minor: 21 carries; 157 yards; TD

Notable Stats:

  • Brandon Minor: 21 carries; 157 yards; TD; 7.5 ypc
  • Carlos Brown: 13 carries; 132 yards; 2 TD; 10.2 ypc
  • Mario Manningham: 5 catches; 162 yards; TD
  • David Cone: 1-1; 21 yards
  • K.C. Lopata: 2 FG (42, 26)
  • Shawn Crable: 7 tackles; 2 sacks; 2.5 TFL
  • Lloyd Carr recorded his 80th Big 10 win in 101 conference games
  • Mallet’s 48-yard completion to Manningham was his longest career pass
  • Carlos Brown’s 85-yard run was Michigan’s longest play from scrimmage this year and 7th longest in Michigan history
  • Brandon Minor, Carlos Brown, Ryan Mallet, Mario Manningham, and K.C. Lopata all set career highs in yardage (or longest field goal)
  • Terrance Taylor and Donovan Warren tied career highs with 7 tackles
  • This was Manningham’s fourth straight 100-yard
  • Michigan is now 65-22-2 all time in battles for the Little Brown Jug.
    • I wonder what they did when they tied for the Jug. Maybe they kept the Jug halfway between Ann Arbor and Minneapolis?

Press Conference Tidbits:

  • While Carr remained non-committal about the status of Mike Hart and Chad Henne for the Michigan State game, Jake Long seemed a bit more confident that they both would play, “I have no doubt in my mind that they’ll play.”
  • The players had some fun joking about the clock that Michigan State has had counting down the time until Saturday’s kickoff ever since the beginning of camp in the summer. Here are some of the responses when asked about their thoughts on MSU’s countdown clock:
    • Will Johnson: “Well, they can tell time I guess”
    • Morgan Trent: “We know when the game is [without a countdown clock]”
    • Jake Long: “At least they’ll be on time”
    • Lloyd Carr: “When I first heard about that clock, I checked my watch to make sure that’s really when the game is”
  • Game time and TV coverage has been announced for the rest of the season:
    • No more Big 10 Network!!
    • Michigan State: 3:30 ABC
    • Wisconsin: 12:00 ESPN
    • Ohio State: 12:00 ABC

NBA Preview: Atlantic Division

Here is the 2nd installment of the WCBN NBA Preview, by Amy Aimonovitch.

Atlantic Division

1. Boston Celtics

Last season: With the trade for Kevin Garnett, everyone seems to be forgetting just how bad the Celtics were last year. The team won only 28 games and had the worst record in the Eastern conference last year. Boston fans, though, can take solace in the fact that their team suffered some big injuries; Paul Pierce played only 47 games, Wally Szczerbiak only 32 games, and Tony Allen only 33. Despite their record, however, Boston was actually a decent team on defense, doing a good job of preventing 3-pointers, forcing turnovers, and rebounding. Unfortunately, they were also really good at fouling, averaging 24 per game. But defense wasn’t the problem for Boston, it was the offense. The biggest issue was the point guard position; the Celtics started with SebastianTelfair (who incidentally was acquired from Portland for the 7th pick in the draft – Portland picked Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy with the pick) but that didn’t work, then they turned to a combination of Delonte West and Rajon Rondo but that didn’t solve the problem either. On top of this, the Celtics just couldn’t seem to make a basket. The team finished second to last in field goal percentage at 44.3%.

This season: During the off-season, the Celtics definitely made the biggest move by acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Unfortunately they also gutted their team making those trades. Boston traded 7 players and 3 first-round picks for Garnett and Allen, who are 31 and 32 respectively. And Ray Allen had surgery on both his ankles this off-season. To fill their roster, the Celtics signed Eddie House (who is a good 3 point shooter), James Posey, he of the unsportsmanlike conduct, and Scot Pollard. As amazing as the combination of Pierce, Allen, and Garnett may sound, I just can’t get behind this team like everyone else. They have a mediocre bench, Pierce and Allen are both missed a lot of team last year because of injuries, and the Timberwolves still lost 50 games with Garnett.

Prediction: 1st in the Atlantic, mostly because the Atlantic is never that competitive and 4th in the Eastern conference.

2. Toronto Raptors

Last season: After winning only 33 games two years ago, the Raptors had a break out season, going 47-35 and winning the Atlantic division. The beginning of the season didn’t look so promising though. In the beginning, the Raptors tried to play an upbeat style like the Suns do, except, unlike the Suns, they couldn’t pull it off. Luckily for the Raptors, though, GM Bryan Colangelo and Coach Sam Mitchell realized that playing this style was a bad strategy and decided to slow down the tempo. On top of that, both T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon had their best season to date. What helped propel Toronto the most, though, was their improvements on defense; two years ago, Toronto had the second worst defense in the league. With their improved defense, it was easier for Toronto to win games with their offense. Toronto’s offense was decent, but too dependent on the jump shot, so Toronto finished last in the league in offensive rebounding. After starting out slowly, the Raptors went 34-16 after January 1st. Although the Raptors were incredibly unimpressive in the playoffs, they made amazing strides last year.

This season: The Raptors picked up Jason Kapono, or if you prefer Vladimir Kaponovich, and Carlos Delfino this off-season, obviously in an attempt to help their outside shooting. Shooting isn’t really what the Raptors need to worry about though. Their concerns should be focused on their lack of size and the fact that last year they depended on a lot of players who had career years. The big question is whether these career years were a byproduct of Sam Mitchell’s scheme and good chemistry or were they just a fluke. Personally, I think that Ford and Chris Bosh can only get better and that Kapono will play as well as he did last year. If this team can score in the post at all instead of just depending on jumpers, they should be good.

Prediction: 2nd in the Atlantic but 7th in the East because the Atlantic division is notoriously weak.

3. New Jersey Nets

Last season: The Nets, frankly, were a mediocre team last year, going 41-41. Yes, they made it to the playoffs and yes, they beat the Raptors in the first round, but overall this team was simply average. It was only with a late season run that the Nets managed to squeeze into the playoffs. Outside of a handful of players, the Nets bench was horrible (Jason Collins started 78games and only averaged 2.1 points per game, Antoine Wright stared 23 games despite averaging only 4.5 points and 2.8 rebounds, and Cliff Robinson, who is 40, played 50 games and only averaged 4.1 points per game). Thankfully, the Nets let Robinson go during the off-season. On the whole, the Nets were a mediocre team on offense; they were a great assisting team, though some of that might have been because so many players had trouble creating their own shots, and they were a bad at rebounding. Like the Raptors, New Jersey was also dependent on the jumper, but at least they were good at it. The Nets finished in the top ten in the league in 3 point percentage, making 36.3% of their shots. Defensively, though, the Nets had several problems. For one, Jason Kidd was 33 last year and has started losing a step or two and Richard Jefferson was hampered with an ankle injury. As a team, the Nets finished 27th in the league in blocks and were last in steals, which killed their transition game.

This season: New Jersey’s biggest move this off-season, aside from resigning Vince Carter, was picking up Jamaal Magloire. Magloire is almost 30 (Carter is 30 and Jason Kidd is 34) and hasn’t been very productive in recent years; he averaged only 6.5 points per game and 6.1 rebounds, a far cry from the double-double he averaged in 2003-04. However, considering how much this team loves jump shots, maybe Magloire can help provide them with some sort of inside presence. Despite this addition, productive or not, the Nets are not the contender that they used to be in the East. In two of the last three seasons, the team hasn’t finished more than a game over .500. They haven’t won 50 games or more since 2002-03 and that was the last time they made it to the conference finals.

Prediction: 3rd in the Atlantic, but I have them out this year despite the fact that New Jersey has made the playoffs the last 6 season.

4. New York Knicks

Last season: As a Bulls fan, I must say I take a bit too much pleasure out of watching the Knicks fall apart, partially because they gave the Bulls some high picks in the draft the last couple years. Last year was just another crazy season in New York with the team going 33-49. First, Isiah Thomas took over as coach and then got a contract extension despite going 28-35 through the first 63 games. On top of that, the Knicks suffered some odd injuries; Jamal Crawford hurt his ankle and played on it for awhile before it was discovered that it was actually a stress fracture, and when Crawford was out for the season, Steve Francis’s bad knee seemed to heal overnight. David Lee also had an ankle problem that was first labeled a sprained ankle, only to find out that he actually had a bone bruise and had to sit out the end of the season. Offensively, the Knicks were quite decent; essentially their strategy was to get the ball to Curry down low. As a result, the Knicks took a lot of free throws and were very good at offensive rebounding. On the downside, they turned the ball over often; Crawford seemed to be the only player who could deliver the ball to Curry, so there were a lot of deflections and Curry averaged 3.64 turnovers per game. The Knicks also had problems shooting from the outside, making only 36.4% of their 3 pointers, which only encouraged teams to double team Curry down low. Defensively, the Knicks needed work too. New York was second to last in the league in blocks and allowed opponents to make 37.6% of their 3 pointers (27th in the league). The Knicks were also the league’s worse team at forcing turnovers on the defensive end.

This season: Right now, the biggest problem for the Knicks is trimming their roster down from 17 to 15 players. Overall, though, they did fairly well this off-season; obviously the most important acquistion is Zack Randolph. The Knicks definitely got the better end of this trade, getting rid of Steve Francis, who was then bought out by Portland, and getting Randolph, who averaged a double-double last year. Even with this trade, though, the team probably won’t be much better than they were last year. For one, Quentin Richardson is coming off of back surgery and Stephon Marbury is already 30. For another, it’s not really clear how Randolph and Curry are going to work together or in combination.

Prediction: Knicks finish 4th in the Atlantic division.

5. Philadelphia 76ers

Last season: After 10 seasons, Philadelphia finally jumped ship and traded Allen Iverson after starting off the season at 5-12. Not surprisingly, the Sixers had a hard time winning at first after the trade, but amazingly, the finished out the season 17-9 and improved their record to 35-47 (it doesn’t sound like a big improvement, but imagine how much worse it could have been). While their record may not show it, several of the Sixers had great seasons, most notably Andre Iguodala, who averaged 18.2 points per game. Offensively, however, the Sixers were not good. Their outside shooting was sketchy, though luckily they didn’t shoot that many 3 pointers, despite having Kyle Korver. In the end that actually might have been a good thing, because aside from Korver, only Rodney Carney hit more than 33% of his 3 pointers, and he only took 72 attempts. On the defensive end, Philadelphia was a lot better; the Sixers were extremely good at forcing turnovers but below average in defensive rebounding. Samuel Dalembert averaged nearly 2 blocks per game as well.

This season: The Sixers didn’t do a lot over this off-season, but that wasn’t a bad thing, seeing as they’ll cut $29 million from the payroll next year. Their defensive rebounding should improve this season now that they’ve picked up Reggie Evans. The only problem with him is that he’s not really a scorer, so who knows how much he’ll start. While this team is incredibly athletic, it’s hard to see how’ll they score. Korver is still the only threat from outside, so that means opposing teams will double-team Iguodala, and some of the other shooters are not the best at creating their own shots. And Dalembert might be looking at some injury issues, after experiencing some foot problems while playing for Canada this summer. Hopefully for the Sixers, their rookies will step up this season and play a big role.

Prediction: 5th in the Atlantic.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Battle or Cakewalk for the Little Brown Jug?

Michigan passed its toughest test of the season last week after winning at Illinois without star running back and team leader Mike Hart, and without starting quarterback Chad Henne for the majority of the game. Despite Henne’s injury, he came back in the fourth quarter to lead his team to victory and keep Michigan unbeaten in the Big Ten. This week, Michigan will take on a team winless in the Big Ten and with only one win on the season in Minnesota (1-7). Most would say this is close to a bye week for the Wolverines before finishing with three tough opponents, however, with the Little Brown Jug up for grabs and the recent history of Michigan against underdogs (App. State, EMU), Michigan cannot overlook the Gophers.

Michigan’s Offense vs. Minnesota’s Defense

The big story for Michigan’s offense is the health of Mike Hart, Chad Henne, and the entire offensive line. Mike Hart was expected by many to play last week at Illinois, but his ankle injury may have been worse than originally thought as he did not dress for the game. It is still questionable as to whether or not he will suit up tomorrow, but Lloyd Carr did indicate he expects Hart to feel much better this week. Chad Henne’s status is also questionable after suffering a shoulder injury in his throwing arm last week. Despite having the injury, Henne came back to aid his Wolverines to victory towards the end of the third quarter at Illinois when it seemed the Wolverines were starting to lose their grip on the Illini. Coach Carr called Henne’s playing through the pain a courageous performance and one that no one on the team will forget. Despite the fact that he was able to play, the extent of the injury is unknown and Henne also may not play. Then there is the offensive line which has been injured for much of the season. RG Alex Mitchell has been out for the year, his backup Jeremy Ciulla was expected to practice this week after being injured as well. At RT Stephen Schilling had a sub par performance after moving there from RG earlier in the year, and Michigan continues to have troubles under center with lefty Justin Boren sometimes having troubles not fumbling the snaps to the quarterbacks. Regardless, Minnesota’s defense should give the offense a chance to heal for a week as they have had one of the worst defenses in the country. The Gophers have given up 37.5 PPG, 533.6 YPG including 342 YPG through the air and 258 on the ground. This all has come against sub-par competition as the only ranked team they played was Ohio State this year. Even if Mallett and Carlos Brown play a majority of the game, they should still have their way with the Gopher defense and Mallett might be able to air it out more for the first time this season.

Advantage: Michigan

Minnesota’s Offense vs. Michigan’s Defense

Minnesota’s offense has been a little better than their defense, however, and should be a little more competitive on that end. They are averaging about 30 PPG and have a pretty balanced attack with 180 rushing YPG and 260 passing YPG. The Gophers are led by freshman dual threat quarterback Adam Weber who has over 2000 passing yards on the year to go along with 461 yards rushing. In addition to Weber, the Minnesota zone blocking rushing attack is led by Amir Pinnix who has 560 yards and 5 TDs on the season. Most of the scoring has come from Weber however who has thrown for 19 TDs and rushed for 4. When he goes to the air he will mainly look to 6’2” sophomore Eric Decker who leads the team in receiving and 6’5” senior Ernie Wheelwright who leads the team with 8 TD receptions. Certainly the Gophers have plenty of talents at the skill positions which makes one wonder why they have only won one game this year. The answer lies in the offensive line which starts four, yes four freshman. This has forced Weber into bad decisions all year leading to 15 interceptions so far. This is where Michigan should neutralize the skill position talent of the Gophers. The front seven, coming off perhaps its best game of the year shutting down a dual threat quarterback in Illinois’ offense, should get pressure on the Gophers all day forcing turnovers. The linebackers, Graham, Ezeh, and Crable did a great job, overall, containing Juice Williams last week and should have an easier time this week with that young offensive line. So Minnesota has talent, but in the trenches Michigan has, what should be, and insurmountable advantage.

Advantage: Michigan

Special Teams

Neither team has much to brag about when it comes to special teams. Michigan continued to struggle last week on returns with freshman Junior Hemingway taking his turn on the carousel of return men and muffing two kickoffs. Michigan continues to have trouble covering kicks as well leading to good field position for opponents. Also, Illinois came close to blocking a few punts last week. However, the kicking game seems much improved with K.C. Lopata taking over the placekicking duties and remaining a perfect 6-6 on field goals. And, as always, still the lone bright spot for Michigan is Zoltan Mesko who continues to become one of the best punters in the country. This should give an advantage to Michigan in special teams against a Minnesota team that has struggled mightily. The Gophers are a combined 3-8 from field goals this year and only have one dangerous return man Jay Thomas who averages 31.3 yards per return and has scored off a kickoff this year. Still, other than that Minnesota might be the first team to give Michigan an advantage in this category.

Advantage: Michigan

Intangibles

Michigan has won the Little Brown Jug 17 out of the last 18 times the two teams have played for it. And these Wolverines certainly have not forgotten when the Gophers came to Ann Arbor two years ago and took it from them sending Michigan to their first 5 loss season in 20 years. A loss to Minnesota tomorrow could easily result in the same fate as the 2005 squad, but the seniors this season (whether playing or not) will not let this happen to this year’s team. Michigan still has a Big Ten title to play for, while Minnesota could make their season with a win over Michigan. Still, Minnesota is in a transition year with new head coach Tim Brewster and that young offensive line might not be ready to play in the battle for the Little Brown Jug.

Advantage: Michigan

Prediction

Currently the line for this game is Michigan by 24 points. Due to the fact that I must pick against Michigan (superstition, I bleed maize and blue) I will pick Minnesota to cover the spread in this one.

Final Score: Michigan 38 Minnesota 21

Player of the game: Ryan Mallett 12-15 201 yards and 3 TDs. Michigan showed they will open up the playbook last week and against Minnesota’s terrible defense, Mallett should get a safe opportunity to throw the ball for the first time this season. Henne should rest this game to get ready for the last three and I think Mallett gets a chance to torch a terrible secondary.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

WCBN NBA Preview: Central Division

WCBN sports covers everything Michigan in the world of sports, but we also cover national news as we come from all around the nation. So starting today until the start of the NBA season on Tuesday, we will have a preview of the NBA by one of our resident NBA (and Chicago Bulls fans) Amy Aimonovitch, broken down by division. Here's the preview!!

So the NBA season is just around the corner and there are a few here at the station who, like me, can’t wait for this season to start. So, without any further ado, I present to you a preview of the season to come, division by division:

Central Division

Well, since we’re quite close to Detroit, and because we have a Bulls fan and Cavs fan, I'll start with the Central division and the Eastern conference.

1. Detroit Pistons

Last season: The Pistons went 53-29, winning both the division and the conference. They also finished with the only winning road record in the East. As they have in past, Detroit continued running their slow, deliberate offense focusing on passing and manipulating the shot clock and as a result, they averaged only 11.7 turnovers per game, the lowest average in the league. Despite the fact that no one on the team shot better than 39% on 3 pointers and on average the team was out rebounded, the Pistons were a good offense team because of their meticulous style. On top of all this, too, the Pistons were an extremely good defensive team; they lead the league in blocks, averaging 5.76 per game despite the fact that only Rasheed Wallace and Amir Johnson averaged more than 1 block per game (although Johnson only played in 8 games, so he doesn’t particularly count). For the most part, Detroit didn’t really miss Ben Wallace, although they had less defensive rebounds and tend to foul more without him. Miraculously as well, the Pistons managed to avoid any major injuries; every key player on the team played at lest 70 games of the season.

This season: So while I can’t legitimately pick against the Pistons in the central, this team was more weaknesses then people really want to admit too. For one, the Pistons lead the league in technical fouls last year, and even if you take out Rasheed Wallace’s total, the Pistons would still finished third in the league. Rip Hamilton finished right behind Wallace with 15 T’s last year. On top of that, the Pistons have admitted that when they have a lead they have a tendency to back off and lose focus; that’s why they almost lost two years ago in the playoffs to the Cavs, and why they did lose to Cleveland this year. Plus, they are without Chris Webber this year.

Prediction: 1st in the Central until they prove otherwise and, as such, 1st in the Eastern conference.

2. Chicago Bulls

Last season: The Bulls has their best record since the Jordan years last season, going 49-33. It was also the first time since the Jordan years that the Bulls actually won a playoff series. Despite the improvements, though, the Bulls still have a lot to work on. While they get blown out very rarely (they lost by 15 or more only twice), the team has a tendency to play down to some of their opponents (case in point, the last regular season game against New Jersey that cost them the #2 seed in the East. In addition to that, the Bulls would play many of the top tier teams close for most of the game, and then proceed to give the game away at the very end (example: a January 2nd lose to the Suns by only one point). While the Bulls are known mostly as a defensive team, they had the second best 3-point shooting percentage, 38.8%, behind only Phoenix. It’s a good thing that Chicago was so good from behind the line, because they still didn’t have a post presence again this year. Overall, the offense was dependent mostly on jump shots, and therefore, it was the defense that saved the Bulls. They were one of the best teams in the league at forcing turnovers and, luckily for them, opponents only shot 73% from the charity stripe.

This season: Luckily, the Bulls are returning their entire young core instead of trading any of them Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett. This group has played together for three years now and they seem to have excellent chemistry. This team should be better than they were last year, what with the additions of Joakim Noah, JamesOn Curry, and Aaron Gray; if the Bulls can establish any kind of low post threat, they will be an extremely difficult team to beat.

Prediction: Until they can show that they can compete with the top tier teams in the league, I have the Bulls finishing 2nd in the Central and subsequently, because the Central is the best division in the East, 2nd in the conference.

3. Cavaliers

Last season: Despite Cleveland’s record of 50-32, they were frankly lucky to make it as far as they did into the playoffs; the Bulls blew the last game of the season and handed the Cavs the 2nd seed in the East, and in the first series they came up against a battered Wizards team that could barely put up a fight. And despite the perception of Cleveland as an outstanding offensive team, the team was actually anything but; the Cavs were 21st in the league in field goal percentage, 18th in 3-point percentage, and 29th in free throw percentage (Lebron’s 69.8% in the last category didn’t help). Actually the one thing that Cleveland really excelled at on the offense end was offensive rebounding, and this was due mostly to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, Anderson Varejao, and Donyell Marshall. Those four helped make the Cavs the one of the top three offensive rebounding teams in the league. Of course, they were partially really good at offensive rebounding because they missed so many shots. Defensively, however, the team was superb. They forced turnovers and limited their opponent’s attempt from the 3-point line; their opponents shot only 32.9% from the field.

This season: Cleveland should be quite good again; the only off season move that could hurt them is if Anderson Varejao doesn’t return, or if he returns with any resent towards the Cavs. Currently, neither he nor Sasha Pavlovic have reached a deal with the team. The team should improve on offense as well this year, considering that Lebron James, Larry Hughes, and Ilgauskas all had down years last year. James averaged fewer points than he did the year before, and both his free throw and 3-point percentages went down. Ilgauskas average only 11.9 points per game and Hughes shot only 40% from the field and below 70% on free throws for the first time in his career.

Prediction: 3rd in the division and 5th in the conference, despite the fact that they’ll probably have a better record than the winners of the other two divisions in the East.

4. Pacers

Last season: Where to start with the Pacers? They went 35-47 last year, fired their coach, and all this after their season took a downturn with the 8 player trade with Golden State. After a very brief win streak following the trade, the Pacers feel apart in the second half of the season, capped off by a 2-14 record in March. Basically, the trade did in Indiana; for one, both Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy were underperforming in Oakland. Dunleavy, the third pick in the draft in 2002, started only 6 of the 39 games he played in for Golden State and Murphy averaged 8.9 points and 6 rebounds with the Warriors. Neither player excelled in Indiana either, though Dunleavy at least had the excuse that Pacers tried to play him at shooting guard. Despite their obvious lack of a shooting guard (Dunleavy, for the record, is 6’9”), the Pacers didn’t make any moves during the season to try to fill this hole. Relying heavily on Jermaine O’Neal, the Pacers offense was one of the worst in the league; they were last in the league in shooting percentage, at 43.8%. While the offensive was horrendous, the defensive was slightly better, though neither Murphy nor Dunleavy was particularly an assist on this side of the ball.

This season: The Pacers at least attempted to fill the hole at shooting guard this summer, although all they managed to get was Travis Diener (who is a decent 3 point shooter, but is small and has little experience in the NBA, barely playing for the Magic) and Kareem Rush (who wasn’t in the league last year). Either way, though, they’re looking a tough year, what with a new coach, little depth at shooting guard, and a forward who has alienated two of the three coaches he’s played under (yep, that would be Dunleavy again).

Prediction: 4th in the division, simply because I have no faith in Milwaukee to perform better than the Pacers.

5. Bucks

Last season: Last year, for the sixth straight year, the Bucks lost at least 40 games. They went 28-54 last year, good enough to finish next to last in the Eastern conference with the league’s third worse record. Surprisingly, though, the Bucks actually began the season decently, going 16-17, until Michael Redd went down with knee injury. Then Charlie Villanueva suffered an elbow injury and only played 39 games. Several other members of the Bucks missed time as well, and by the end, the team seemed to be throwing in the towel, announcing that Andrew Bogut and Villanueva would sit out the last month of the season. Overall, however, the Bucks were good offensively (they had the 7th best field goal percentage in the league), but they had trouble getting to the line and relied too heavily on jumpers, even the big men. The reason the Bucks were so bad record-wise was their defense; they ranked 29th in the league in field goal percentage allowed. They also had problems blocking the ball and defensive rebounding. And all this after the Bucks got a playoff berth the year before.

This season: First off, it probably doesn’t help the Bucks that this is their third coach in 6 years. Also, aside from finally managing to get their hands on their draft pick (Yi Jianlian), the Bucks didn’t do anything substantial to their roster. But, they will be getting back Bobby Simmons who had off-season heel surgery last summer and Villanueva and Redd will be back and healthy this year. I, however, am not really to write off last season simply because the Bucks had some key injuries. Every team deals with injuries in this league and it isn’t an excuse for a bad performance; if you want to avoid this problem, get a deeper bench, don’t just base your team around 1-2 players who make or break your team.

Prediction: 5th in the division, although they could battle the Pacers down the stretch for this spot.

WCBN Weekly College Football Top 25 (Oct. 24)

The second edition of our top 25 poll returns slightly later than wished, as I have been swamped with work, but it is now compiled and ready to be released. So once again, here is the Top 25 teams in the nation, from the point of view of a bunch of college students (first place votes in parenthesis).
  1. Ohio State (8)
  2. LSU (3)
  3. Boston College (1)
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Oregon
  6. West Virginia
  7. Arizona State
  8. Virginia Tech
  9. South Florida
  10. Florida
  11. Kansas
  12. Missouri
  13. USC
  14. Kentucky
  15. South Carolina
  16. Hawaii
  17. Michigan
  18. California
  19. Virginia
  20. Texas
  21. Georgia
  22. Alabama
  23. Auburn
  24. Rutgers
  25. UCLA
Dropped out: #19 Cincinnati, #20 Texas Tech, #23 Tennessee

Others Receiving Votes: Penn State, UConn, Boise State, Texas Tech, Cincinnati, BYU, Wisconsin, Purdue, Wake Forest, Air Force, Temple, North Dakota St.

Notes: There are two ties in this week's polls, with Virginia Tech and South Florida tied at 8 and South Carolina and Hawaii tied at 15. We had our first vote for a FCS Subdivision (D1-AA) team, with North Dakota State (7-0 overall, 2-0 against D1-A competition) receiving 1 vote.

Until next week, good night and Go Blue!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

WCBN Photo Gallery










These are some pictures we snapped from the sidelines towards the end of the Michigan 27-17 victory over Illinois on Saturday

#25 Michigan 27 Illinois 17

The #25 Michigan Wolverines won their sixth straight game, defeating the Illinois Fighting Illini 27-17 under the lights on Saturday night in Champaign. This was Michigan’s first road test of the year and the Wolverines passed with flying colors. Illinois jumped out to a 14-3 lead early on, but senior quarterback Chad Henne led the Michigan comeback. WCBN was there in Champaign to broadcast the game, so thank you to all who listened to us on the sports stream.

Michigan Offense vs Illinois Defense:

Michigan was without senior running back Michael Hart as his status was questionable coming into the game but he did not even dress. Carlos Brown got the start and did a tremendous job stepping into the big shoes of Mike Hart, rushing for 113 yards on 25 carries. Brandon Minor, who is also dealing with a leg injury, was able to come in and do a great job picking up blitzes on third down passing situations.

Chad Henne battled through an early shoulder injury and really showed his competitiveness in playing through the pain. After watching Ryan Mallet struggle through the third quarter, Henne could be seen arguing with the coaches on the sideline, trying to get back into the game. Henne passed John Navarre as Michigan’s all-time completions leader during the game, going 18-26 for 201 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Mario Manningham tallied his third consecutive 100-yard receiving game hauling in nine passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. The play of the game came in the fourth quarter when Adrian Arrington throwing a touchdown pass to Manningham off an end-around. Arrington added three catches for 58 yards and a touchdown that came after the initial ruling on the field was overturned.

Advantage: Michigan

Michigan Defense vs Illinois Offense:

Michigan fans had to be worried coming into this game knowing that Illinois runs a spread offense with a mobile quarterback. In the Wolverine’s two losses this year, the opposing offense moved the ball at will running a similar style offense. Those worries only intensified when Illinois scored two early touchdowns, but after that the Michigan defense really settled down and held Illinois to just a field goal over the last two and a half quarters of the game.

Juice Williams was held to just 70 yards passing and 17 yards rushing and backup Eddie McGee didn’t fair much better, throwing for just 46 yards. Rashard Mendenhall was limited to just 85 yards on 18 carries, making this the second straight week that he has failed to rush for 100 yards.

Brandent Englemon led the way defensively with 11 tackles. Chris Graham turned in his best game of the year, recording his first career sack, six tackles, and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Also in the career first category, freshman cornerback Donovan Warren intercepted his first pass late in the fourth quarter.

Advantage: Michigan

Special Teams:

Michigan has struggled all year in this category and some of those struggles continued on Saturday. Kick off coverage remains an issue as the Wolverines gave up a big return yet again, this weeks was a 63-yard return by Vontae Davis to start the game. I asked 5th year senior Anton Campbell about this issue at the press conference and he attributed it to poor tackling. There has to be more going on here, because on Davis’s return, there was not a Wolverine within five yards of him to even attempt a tackle until he was finally caught from behind by Morgan Trent.

Kick off returns are another area where Michigan has struggled. A 13 yard average on returns is not where this team should be at this point of the season. Coming into the game, Michigan was ranked 107th nationally in kick off returns and 100th in kick off coverage. Both of those rankings will probably slide after the performance against Illinois.

On the bright side, Michigan seems to have found their kicker as K.C. Lopata was two of two on field goals converting both a 25 and 39-yarder. Zoltan Mesko unleashed his best punt of the year, a career long 67 yarder that pinned the Illini at their own four yard line. Of his four punts, he downed three inside the 20 and two of those three were inside the four.

For the Illini, Jason Reda went 1 of 2, his miss being from 47-yards out. Reda had been perfect coming into the game at 9 of 9. As previously mentioned, Vontae Davis had the big return of the day to start the game for Illinois.

Advantage: Michigan (for the first time all year)

Notable Stats:

Chad Henne: 18-26; 201 yards; 2 TD; 1 INT

Carlos Brown: 25 carries; 113 yards

Mario Manningham: 9 catches; 109 yards; 2 TD

Adrian Arrington: 3 catches; 58 yards; 1 TD; 1-1 passing; 11 yards; 1 TD

Zoltan Mesko: 4 punts; 44.0 avg; 67 yard long; 3 inside the 20, 2 inside the 5

K.C. Lopata: 2-2 Field Goals (25, 39 yards)

Brandent Englemon: 11 tackles

Chris Graham: 1 sack, 2.5 TFL, 6 tackles

Isiah (Juice) Williams: 8-14; 70 yards; 1 TD; 1 INT; 7 carries; 17 yards

Rashard Mendenhall: 18 carries; 85 yards

This was Lloyd Carr’s 100th Big 10 conference game, the win pushed his record up to 79-21

Carr has the third highest Big 10 conference winning percentage (.790), behind two other Michigan coaches – Bo Schembechler (.850) and Fielding Yost (.796)

Co-Player of the Game: Chad Henne: 18-26; 201 yards; 2 TD; 1 INT playing through injury

Carlos Brown: 25 carries; 113 yards filling in for Mike Hart

Press Conference Notes:

  • Mike Hart will practice this week and it sounds like he should be able to play against Minnesota
  • It is unknown if Chad Henne will be able to practice today, or whether if he’ll be able to play against Minnesota
  • Expect to see Steve Schilling fill in at right guard in the event of another injury at that position
  • Jeremy Ciulla could be back at right guard this week
  • Alex Mitchell is still out, his return status for later in the year remains unknown
  • Lloyd Carr likes to sing “Don’t Cry for me, Argentina” to the players to keep them loose in practice. Unfortunately he declined to serenade us at the press conference.

Other College Football Notes:

  • The MAC conference has two of the nations top five rushers
  • Michigan is now ranked 20th in the BCS Poll, 19th in the AP Poll, and 21st in the USA Today Poll
  • Appalachian State lost their second game of the year this week, falling 38-35 to Georgia Southern

WCBN NCAA Player of the Week: Matt Forte (Tulane): 38 carries, 342 yards, 9 YPC, 4 TD

Field Hockey Wins the Big Ten


Although you may not be able to tell from our blog, Michigan does compete in more than just football. Here's a shout out to the University of Michigan field hockey, who clinched the regular season Big Ten title with their 3-2 victory over Northwestern Sunday. Their season began on a low note, as they began 2-4, with all the losses coming against top 5 teams, including an overtime loss at #1 Maryland. Since then Michigan has reeled off 11 straight victories and has climber to #4 in the country. The team heads to California this weekend to finish out the regular season with matches against California and Stanford, before returning to the Midwest to compete in the Big Ten tournament in Columbus November 1-4.

Completely Unrelated Random Fact of the Week: Virginia Tech won the Under Armour College Bass National Championship. First, the Virginia Tech team only found out that college bass fishing existed six months ago. Second, college bass fishing exists, and it's sponsored by Under Armour. Really.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

#25 Michigan 27 Illinois 17

Michigan comes out of Champaign with a huge 27-17 victory over the Fighting Illini. Michigan came over key injuries that kept Mike Hart out and caused Chad Henne to miss time during the game. The Wolverines turned the ball over three times coming away with just one takeaway of their own in the fourth quarter on a muffed punt.

Carlos Brown had a great game, rushing for over 100 yards in his first career start. Mario Manningham also came up with some big catches and turned in his third consecutive 100-yard game. It was another crazy Saturday of college football that should have Michigan shooting up the poll.

We'll have another post further recapping the Michigan win after the press conference on Monday. Thank you to anyone who listened to us on our second WCBN road broadcast. Tune into wcbn.org or 88.3 FM in Ann Arbor to hear us break down the win on Extra Points. We'll also have a photo gallery on the way with pictures we took down on the sideline at the end of the game. Until then, goodnight and GO BLUE!