- Representing Michigan in the 2010 Winter Olympics are Jack Johnson, playing hockey for Team USA, and two pairs of American ice dancers.
- Johnson made quite the journey to be at the opening ceremony on Friday night.
- Cameron Gordon is switching to safety this spring.
- Vincent Smith is on the road to recovering from his ACL injury.
- Lloyd Carr is enjoying the retired life.
- Brandon Minor, Brandon Graham, Donovan Warren, and Zoltan Mesko have been invited to the NFL Combine.
- UM Hoops talked with David Merritt about the basketball team, which plays at Iowa tonight (9:05 p.m. ET on the BTN).
- The Big Ten hasn’t talked to any schools yet about joining the conference.
- Mock Rock is being held tonight at the Hill Auditorium.
- Florida defensive tackle Richard Ash has decommitted from West Virginia and committed to Michigan. Ash is from Pahokee, as are current players Martavious Odoms, Vincent Smith, and Brandin Hawthorne. Ash is a 4-star on Rivals and a 3-star on Scout and ESPN. He has a pretty impressive offer list that includes Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma State, Rutgers, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee, UCLA, and USC, among others. Ash is Michigan’s 23rd commit of the 2010 recruiting class, and another one could be on the way on Saturday when Maryland linebacker/safety Josh Furman announces his decision (he will choose either Michigan or Virginia Tech).
- Brandon Graham and Zoltan Mesko were named to the AP All-America second team.
- Roy Roundtree said yesterday that Brandon Smith missed a recent team meeting and is probably going to transfer.
- The Big Ten released a statement earlier this week saying that during the course of the next 12-18 months it will look into expansion. I really don’t think anything will come of it, but the debate about expansion has certainly been reignited this week. My personal opinion on the matter is that the Big Ten shouldn’t expand just for the sake of expanding. Some possible 12th teams that have been tossed around include Missouri, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Rutgers, among many others. Out of the list of schools that would realistically consider jumping to the Big Ten, none really excite me. I wouldn’t have a problem with adding a school like Missouri or Pittsburgh (I don’t think Syracuse would leave the Big East), but Rutgers, for example, just isn’t all that appealing. Obviously the best case scenario would be to finally add Notre Dame, but the chances of that happening are beyond slim.
I guess what it will boil down to are these things: 1) Is there a team out there willing to join the Big Ten that also fits the conference’s criteria? 2) Is expanding going to be a smart business decision? 3) Can the Big Ten fairly divide up the teams if a 12th team does join the conference? The Big Ten will spend the next 12-18 months trying to answer those questions, and once this “evaluation” is complete, there will either be an invitation sent to a possible 12th school or nothing at all will happen. My guess is the result of this evaluation will be the latter, but anything could happen I suppose.
- Both mgoblog and Crimson Quarry took a look at what schools would be realistic candidates to join the Big Ten.
- Missouri’s chancellor actually released a statement basically saying that if the Big Ten were to contact MU, it would be willing to listen. I don’t know if that is mainly just a bargaining move with the Big 12 regarding issues with revenue sharing and bowl selection, but Missouri is the only school to actually go ahead and release a statement about the Big Ten’s statement.
- Bill Martin said that Michigan is “open-minded” about the issue of expansion.
- Former Michigan defensive line coach Steve Stripling has been named Central Michigan’s interim coach, replacing Butch Jones, who left for Cincinnati.
- Illinois’ Arrelious Benn is going to leave school a year early to enter the NFL Draft.
- ESPN has apparently made the Michigan-Kansas matchup on Saturday its “green game.” What that means is that rather than simply watch a basketball game, we will get this stupid promotion shoved down our throat by ESPN.
- Zack Novak’s trip to Utah last week really sucked.
- UM Hoops did another Q&A with David Merritt to get his thoughts on what the team has done since the Old Spice Classic.
- Boston College’s top scorer, Joe Trapani, will likely play tomorrow against Michigan, but he is still recovering from the flu.
- Tomorrow’s game can be seen on ESPN2 starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.
- UM Hoops did a Q&A with David Merritt to get his take on the Old Spice Classic and how Michigan has played so far this season.
- Steve Kampfer was named the CCHA Defenseman of the Week and Bryan Hogan received CCHA Goalie of the Week honors.
- Steve Hutchinson hosted a Thanksgiving meal at Mott Children’s Hospital.
- Brandon Graham and Brandon Minor sought out help from a couple Michigan students to pick their agents.
- Ten Michigan football players were named to the Academic All-Big Ten team.
- Bobby Bowden has retired.
- Eight Michigan State football players have been suspended for their part in a brawl that happened on November 22. Two players already were kicked off the team, meaning ten players have now been disciplined for the incident. Supposedly as many as 15-20 players may have been involved, so who knows if there will be more suspensions handed out.
Michigan Madness was held last Friday to help kick off the start of basketball practice and to help get fans ready for the upcoming season. This was the first time that there has been a “basketball season-opening event” at Michigan since 1996, according to the Michigan Daily, and hopefully this is just the first of many more to come. There was a decent crowd of around 3,500 people in attendance for the event, and it would have been bigger had it not been fall break at U-M. Either way, I’m sure that as time goes by, this will become a bigger and bigger event that every Michigan basketball fan looks forward to.
After having a BBQ for students that included some great food, the festivities moved inside Crisler Arena for the Greek Shootout. It was a comical event for the students in the crowd, as most players weren’t very good, but more than anything it was an event to kill some time before the teams were announced. The best part was getting to see David Merritt again, as he hosted this particular event. (He and C.J. Lee sat courtside for the rest of the night.)
Right around 9 p.m. is when the lights dimmed and the team introductions began. One player from the men’s team and one player from the women’s team were introduced together, and they came down to the floor from the crowd. The most memorable moment from the team intros happened when Stu Douglass and Courtney Boylan made their way to the court. Those two are dating, and the person in charge of the music was aware of that, changing their entrance music to the wedding song just as they hit the floor. It got a big laugh from the crowd and their teammates, though that probably wasn’t quite as funny as watching the coaches dance when they were introduced. Some of the coaches were really getting into it and dancing quite well, such as Jerry Dunn. For others it was more awkward than anything, like with Kevin Borseth, but it was all in good fun. John Beilein came out last and ran around the court, pumping up the crowd and dancing a little bit himself.
After each of the coaches spoke to the crowd, the skills competition took place. Each group in the competition was made up of a member from the men’s and women’s teams and a fan from the Maize Rage. Each member had to dribble two basketballs from a baseline to near half court and pass one of them away, and then came the tricky part for almost everybody who participated in the competition. The challenge was to bounce a ball through a rim that was propped up on a chair, and nearly everybody had trouble doing that. It was quite funny to watch the actual basketball players struggle with it. After they finally got the ball through the rim, the end of the competition was a bit easier, as the course finished with a layup, dribbling through some cones, passing the ball off of a pitch-back type of thing, and then doing another layup. In the end, Blake McLimans’ team won the competition, edging out Ben Cronin’s team by one second.
The next event was the three-point contest. I thought it would be like the usual three-point contests where you shoot a rack of five balls at five different stations, but it ended up being a team competition. One member of the men’s and women’s teams competed together and the contest was to see who could make a shot at the most stations in a minute. The stations were the same five as a usual three-point contest, and the two players rotated on each shot. To move on to the next station, someone had to make a shot. For this event, there was a tie for first between Anthony Wright/Dayeesha Hollins and Stu Douglass/Courtney Boylan with one pair remaining. Manny Harris and Carmen Reynolds needed to make 11 shots to win the event, and just as time expired, Reynolds hit their 11th three-pointer to move into first place.
The most anticipated event of the night — the dunk contest — was up next. Darius Morris got things started by throwing the ball off the shot clock, catching it, and dunking it, good for a score of 39 out of 40. Zack Novak got the same score by throwing the ball up in the air, catching it, and doing a windmill dunk. Laval Lucas-Perry and DeShawn Sims were the other two competitors, but it was Morris and Novak who were headed to the finals. It looked like Morris had the event wrapped up after he caught a pass from Matt Vogrich, who was 10 or so rows up in the crowd, and dunked it for a perfect score. Novak had other ideas, though, and he made the crowd explode by tossing the ball to himself on the baseline and doing a perfect through-the-legs dunk. It was a given that he got a perfect score, as the four judges from the women’s team threw all of the score cards into the air and went crazy with the rest of the people who saw Novak pull off that dunk. Although Novak technically tied Darius Morris with a score of 40, John Beilein declared Novak the winner for obvious reasons.
Following a short break, each team finished off the night with an 8-minute scrimmage. There isn’t much to say about the scrimmages, but it was nice to see them play some actual basketball at the end of the night. Afterward, the teams gathered at center court and sang The Victors with the crowd to close out the first ever Michigan Madness. It was an entertaining event for sure, and I can’t wait for it to become even bigger in the future.
For more on Michigan Madness check out:
- Brandon Minor has practiced more this week than he did last week, which hopefully means he will be able to play on Saturday.
- MGoBlue did a feature on Zoltan Mesko’s banner mishap. Zoltan laughed it off and described what went wrong.
- Scouts from three NFL teams were at practice yesterday.
- AnnArbor.com has a couple videos from yesterday’s practice.
- Denard Robinson’s touchdown run can now be seen in HD.
- Sean McDonough and Matt Millen are going to be the announcers for Saturday’s game.
- There is an in-depth story about Ricardo Miller on ESPN.com.
- With the eighth anniversary of 9/11 being tomorrow, John Ferrara and his family talked about their memories from that day (Ferrara is from Staten Island).
- Elliott Mealer is going to be featured on E:60 next month.
- Eso Akunne, who came to Michigan as a preferred walk-on, will be on scholarship this season.
- UM Hoops interviewed David Merritt.
- MVictors has a recap of what associate athletic director Joe Parker had to say about the Big House renovation during an appearance on WTKA. Something mentioned during the interview that I hadn’t heard about is MichiganStadiumProject.com, where people can actually view which new seats/suites are still available.
- The Pat Maloy Scholarship auction is now underway. The scholarship goes to Michigan students who are battling cancer, and it is a great cause, so check it out.
- Microsoft Paint drawings are becoming the latest fad in the Michigan blogosphere. The detail of some of the drawings is unbelievable (like this one of Denard Robinson, Tate Forcier, and Rich Rodriguez), whereas the hilarity provided by others is just awesome. (HT: mgoblog)
- Quarterbacks are going to be fair game when the pads go on in a few days. That doesn’t necessarily mean defenders will be able to go after a QB and hit him as hard as they want, as Rich Rodriguez doesn’t want any injuries to happen, but it does sound like they will be taking some hits just like the rest of their offensive teammates.
- Even if J.T. Turner and Adrian Witty are made eligible, if they don’t have at least two weeks of practice, their chances of contributing in the secondary for the season opener are slim, according to Rodriguez.
- Bill Martin thinks the whole Justin Feagin situation is a good learning opportunity.
- David Merritt launched his new apparel company with a video that features cameos by John Beilein and Steve Breaston.
- Lloyd Carr went to a Browns practice this morning. That should be the main focus of the article, but I couldn’t get past the fact that this line was in the third paragraph: “Carr was forced out as coach of the Wolverines after the 2007 season.” That’s some excellent journalism right there. I guess the writer of this article felt like it was common knowledge that Carr was “forced out,” as he basically mentioned it in passing. My Internet must not have been working the day that news originally broke, because I certainly don’t remember ever hearing about Carr being forced out.
- Dave Birkett has video of an interview with equipment manager Jon Falk, who talked about the evolution of Michigan’s facilities.
- WolverineHistorian uploaded highlights of the 1997 Ohio State game in two parts.
- Surprisingly, Alabama-Huntsville’s bid to join the CCHA has been rejected. That means the CCHA is going to have 11 teams when the 2010-11 season gets underway unless something changes from now until then.
- Ricardo Miller is going to attend Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, setting up a matchup against Devin Gardner and Inkster on August 29 at Eastern Michigan.
- Zoltan Mesko tried to hit the roof in the new practice facility, showing just how tall it is compared to Oosterbaan.
- Rich Rodriguez’s likes bringing in walk-ons.
- AnnArbor.com has a recap of the hockey alumni games.
- Also at AnnArbor.com is an update on David Merritt and his business venture.
- Lloyd Carr wants a playoff.
- The Motor City Bowl is now going to be called the Little Caesar’s Pizza, Pizza Bowl.
- Michigan second baseman and captain Kevin Cislo may be out for the season with a shoulder injury.
- Two of Michigan’s senior basketball players from last season are moving on to a life without basketball. David Merritt is hoping to launch a business venture in Ann Arbor this fall, and C.J. Lee has another year left in school and is doing an internship this summer.
- Larry Foote was released by the Steelers on Monday and is going to visit the Lions tomorrow. He has expressed interest in signing with the Lions, so let’s hope he gets a contract done tomorrow. Detroit needs a middle linebacker, and it’s rare that a free agent from a Super Bowl team wants to play for the Lions.
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