- Michigan opens its Super Regional series against Tennessee tonight at Alumni Field in Ann Arbor. Tonight’s game begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be shown on ESPN. Tomorrow’s first game begins at 4:30 p.m., and if a third game is necessary it will start at 7 p.m. Friday’s first game will be shown on ESPNU, whereas the third game will be on ESPN2.
- Desmond Howard has been elected to the College Football of Hall of Fame.
- Michigan’s hockey captains next season will be Carl Hagelin and Luke Glendening. The alternate captains will be Matt Rust and Louie Caporusso.
- The women’s basketball team opened the Big Ten Tournament with a 67-54 win over Northwestern. Tomorrow Michigan will play Michigan State, the No. 2-seeded team in the conference.
- Just this week alone former Michigan hockey players Danny Richmond, Aaron Palushaj, Aaron Ward, Kevin Porter, and Chad Kolarik have been traded and current players Steve Kampfer and Matt Rust both have had their rights traded. To see where they are all headed you can check out the hockey team’s Twitter feed.
- Linebacker Lawrence Thomas has cut his list to 10 schools and Michigan isn’t one of them. The chances of him coming here were beyond slim to begin with given that he goes to Detroit Renaissance, but I’m a little surprised Michigan didn’t even make his top 10.
- TomVH recently caught up with Craig Roh’s father.
- Jay Feely has faith in Dave Brandon.
- Daniel Horton was playing basketball in France, but he was recently cut by his team.
- The Big Ten reportedly had an investment firm investigate expansion by looking at Missouri, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Rutgers and was told that it would be worth it to add another team or teams. Assuming Notre Dame doesn’t change its mind about joining the conference, Rutgers is apparently the school that would do the most for the conference if it joined the Big Ten, followed next by Missouri and Pittsburgh. Personally I’m not a fan of Rutgers joining the conference at all, because I just think some of the benefits of adding the Scarlet Knights are being overstated. I would much rather have Missouri or Pittsburgh join the conference, but I guess for now the new front-runner resides in New Jersey.
- Northwestern and Illinois are hoping to play each other in football at Wrigley Field this season.
- West Virginia is now going after Mike Barwis’ $50,000 buyout that hasn’t been paid yet. I get that $50,000 is $50,000, but is it that hard to pick up the phone and call Barwis or his agent about the buyout? It probably wouldn’t be too tough to work the issue out in private. Then again, what fun would that be? WVU isn’t going to miss a chance to send more negative publicity Michigan’s way.
- Michigan should have both Matt Rust and Chris Summers for its series against Michigan State this weekend. Rust was suffering from flu-like symptoms and didn’t play against Bowling Green on Saturday, and Summers left that game after taking a hard check at the very start of the first period.
- Rick Leach is one of six former Michigan athletes that will be inducted into U-M’s Hall of Honor.
- Morgan Trent and Tim Jamison are going to play in the Senior Bowl on Saturday night.
- Despite the majority of college coaches being in favor of an early signing period, “numerous” conference commissioners shot down the proposal that would have created one in late December.
- Northwestern, Michigan’s opponent on Saturday, went into East Lansing and beat Michigan State 70-63 last night. NU’s Kevin Coble got hot and dropped 31 points on the Spartans, and Michael Thompson added 20 of his own. Craig Moore also scored in double-digits with 11 points. Outside of those three players, the rest of the team only scored 8 points, which is a pretty remarkable stat.
I’m definitely more concerned about Saturday’s game than I was before NU’s big victory, but two things to take away from the NU-MSU contest are that Michigan has to contain Coble and has to limit its turnovers. MSU turned the ball over 18 times and had trouble establishing any flow with its offense. Michigan must take care of the ball if they want to win on Saturday.
- Also in the Big Ten last night, Wisconsin lost to Iowa 73-69 in overtime. Wisconsin has now lost three straight games (the last two were both in OT).
- Brandon Graham was named Michigan’s MVP for this past season. The award was voted on by Michigan players. Will Johnson, Mike Massey, Tim Jamison, Obi Ezeh, and Stephen Schilling also won awards.
- Steve Kampfer is making great progress, and suddenly it doesn’t seem so unlikely that he will return to the ice in a game later this season. That is remarkable considering he injured his skull and neck in an off-ice incident in October.
- Matt Rust and Aaron Palushaj will play for Team USA in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. The event takes place from late December to early January and conflicts with the Great Lakes Invitational, meaning neither will play for Michigan during the GLI.
- A couple of Maize Rage members organized a camp out for the Duke game. Even though tip off isn’t until 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, some people are planning on braving the cold by camping out tonight in order to get the best seats in Crisler for the game.
- Although MGoBlue is claiming that the Duke game is a sellout, some tickets are still available for students. According to an e-mail sent by the athletic department, the first 100 students who go to the women’s basketball game against North Carolina State tonight (starts at 6:30 p.m.), sit in the section 9 bleachers, and stay for the entire game will receive free tickets to the Duke game on Saturday.
- The athletic department recently launched a photo store.
- 66 Michigan athletes were named to the fall Big Ten all-academic team.
- Donovan Tate, a football and baseball recruit, committed to North Carolina earlier this week. Tate is a very talented baseball player who may be a top 10 pick in next year’s MLB draft. It isn’t a guarantee that he will even go to college, but if he does UNC will be getting a great player in two sports. Tate had shown some interest in Michigan before committing to UNC.
- Taylor Hill, who left the football team at the start of this past season, is going to transfer to Kent State or Youngstown State. He will go to Kent State if he is allowed to play starting next year. If the NCAA doesn’t grant him eligibility for 2009, he will probably go to Youngstown State, which is a I-AA school. If he transfers to YSU, he could play immediately.
- The Week 14 BlogPoll is out.
- Notre Dame’s athletic director confirmed that Charlie Weis will return next season.
- Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville resigned on Wednesday. Even though Auburn’s athletic director claims otherwise, it sure seems like he was forced out. Auburn went 5-7 this past season and was beat by Alabama for the first time since 2001.
- Toledo hired Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman to be the team’s new head coach.
Michigan’s season is over as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish stunned the Wolverines in overtime by a score of 5-4 to advance to the national championship game. From the very start things were in ND’s favor, and although they ended up blowing a couple of leads, in the end they proved to be the team that wanted to win more.
Going into this game, Michigan had to have many things going their way if they were to win. Perhaps the most important, though, was Billy Sauer. Despite having an amazing season, we all still remember his performance in the NCAA Tournament last year that sent Michigan home after only one game. Unfortunately, that Billy Sauer showed up in Denver Thursday night, digging Michigan a very large hole after only one period.
Early on in the first period, Sauer got beat on two fairly weak goals. The first one seemed like a fluke, but the second one showed that Sauer simply didn’t bring his “A” game. The defense didn’t do him any favors as they seemed overmatched early on as well, but the fault definitely goes to Sauer for those first two goals.
Once the game started to get settled in, Michigan was looking to get on the scoreboard before things really got out of hand. After all, in Michigan’s first win over Notre Dame this season, they fell behind by 2 goals quickly before fighting back to win 3-2. Would this game provide a similar result? Well, not so much. Notre Dame scored a shorthanded goal as the first period was coming to a close to go on top 3-0.
A stunned Michigan team retook the ice to get the second period started, and shockingly Billy Sauer wasn’t in net. Instead, freshman Bryan Hogan set up shop in the Michigan goal as Sauer’s poor play got him benched. I don’t know what it is about Sauer, but in the NCAA Tournament he seems like he is trying to be the Todd Jones of goalies. One game he is lights out, and then in the next he looks clueless.
The goalie change did work in Michigan’s favor as it seemed to wake up the rest of the team. I wish my screaming at the TV would’ve done so after the first, second, and third goals, but it took this surprising move to pump some life into the team. Although the deficit was 3 goals, there were still 40 minutes of hockey to be played, and as Michigan would prove, goals can be scored quickly.
Nearly 9 minutes into the second period, Michigan finally got on the board when Chad Kolarik put a shot by Notre Dame goalie Jordan Pearce to cut the lead down to 2 goals. Riding off of that wave of momentum, Matt Rust scored another Michigan goal only 15 seconds later, making things very interesting. In only 15 seconds, Michigan went from being down and out to right back in the game, and they weren’t done just yet.
Just over 2 minutes of the third period elapsed before the score became tied at 3-3. While on the power play, Chad Kolarik knocked the puck in for the Wolverines from behind the net to even the score. Notre Dame fans looked just as shocked as Michigan fans were after the first period. Despite trailing 3-0 at one point and having an inexperienced goalie playing, Michigan fought back to tie the game.
As nice as the comeback was, Michigan fell behind again 9 or so minutes later when the Wolverines’ defense totally collapsed. Notre Dame’s Kevin Deeth simply skated by defenders with ease and put the puck past Bryan Hogan to give the Fighting Irish a 1-goal lead. The pressure was on again.
3 or so minutes after ND’s latest goal, Michigan got lucky and somehow scored from a very tough angle. The puck was dumped into ND’s zone and bounced off the boards. Michigan’s Carl Hagelin was moving down the ice quickly and shot the puck at the net from what looked to be an angle of 90 degrees. Despite Jordan Pearce hugging the goalpost, the puck snuck past him and into the net to even things up once again. I still don’t know how Hagelin scored that goal, but thankfully he did to send the game to overtime.
As the puck was about to drop to begin overtime, I thought to myself that I probably won’t have to wait very long for this game to be done. I felt that way because Michigan’s Bryan Hogan just didn’t have the experience in a situation like this, and although he was playing better than Billy Sauer did, my confidence in a freshman goalie wasn’t exactly sky high. On the flipside, Notre Dame’s Jordan Pearce was really having trouble keeping the puck out of the net. It’s not like they were bad goals, but nonetheless, the puck was going in.
My initial thoughts turned about to be correct as Notre Dame ended the game just under 6 minutes into the overtime period. Calle Ridderwall scored the game-winner on what was a weak goal in my opinion, but I can’t really fault Hogan very much as he had pathetic defense around him. Notre Dame was on the attack for almost all of the overtime, and in reality, Michigan was lucky to have survived that long after a few great scoring chances the Fighting Irish had.
The final score in Denver was 5-4, and now we all unfortunately have to think about what could’ve been rather than about Michigan possibly winning a national title on Saturday. There is a lot of blame to go around for this loss, and no, it’s not all Billy Sauer’s fault. He played a big role in Michigan losing by giving up a couple of easy goals, but the intensity of the entire team seemed to be nonexistent for the first 20 minutes of this game. From the instant the puck dropped to start play, Notre Dame seemed hungrier, like they wanted it more. I don’t know if this was a result of being overconfident or simply looking ahead to Saturday, but whatever it was, Michigan just didn’t seem ready for a game.
It will be hard to look past this loss as it will likely overshadow this team’s great season, but let’s not forget that Kevin Porter will probably win the Hobey Baker Award later today. I imagine it will be bittersweet for him considering that’s the only hardware he now has a shot at taking home to Ann Arbor, but I guess it’s better than nothing. Regardless, Porter and fellow senior Chad Kolarik have to be thanked for playing such great hockey this past year. They both will be missed next season. Although this young team will return many of its important players, filling the skates of Porter and Kolarik is no easy task.
I know the end result sucked, especially since Notre Dame now advances to the national title game, but I would like to thank the hockey team for a great season. We got to see a GLI title for the first time in a long time, and Michigan won the CCHA regular season and tournament titles. Not winning a national championship certainly is disappointing, but at least they did some great things this past season.
- Michigan’s game against Nebraska-Omaha tonight is not going to be on TV. Instead, you will have to watch it online (click here). Tomorrow night’s game will be on Comcast, and I’m guessing the exact channel is the one that used to be Comcast Local.
- Scooter Vaughan will probably not play tonight or even the rest of the weekend as his jaw is still sore after having surgery on it Monday. Ditto for Matt Rust, who has a hairline fracture after colliding with a teammate in practice earlier in the week. On the bright side, Chad Kolarik likely will start tonight, so that is some great news.
- Michigan’s junior day was held yesterday and surprisingly resulted in zero new commitments.
- Sam Webb talks recruiting in The Detroit News.
- NFL scouts and coaches are in Ann Arbor today for Michigan’s Pro Day.
- Michigan Stadium is making noise for a change. Unfortunately for some residents of Ann Arbor that live near the Big House, it is an annoying kind of noise.
- Some former West Virginia football players talked with a reporter yesterday and had some very interesting things to say. Specifically, they talked a lot about Rich Rodriguez and also mentioned that some of them already have or will be going to Ann Arbor to train with Mike Barwis.
FINDER: Who all went to Michigan to work with former West Virginia strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis?
RIVERS: Antonio [Lewis] and I went up there for about a month. Last week, Owen [Schmitt] and Ryan Mundy got there. They got a nice setup. Spent a lot of money.
SLATON: I’m going up there. I don’t know when. See what my schedule is, who else calls.
- An Ohio State coach met with a couple South Florida coaches to get the skinny on the Rich Rodriguez offense.
- Terrelle Pryor will likely take an official visit to Penn State this weekend as he will be in State College for the Pennsylvania basketball title game. (His team advanced to the finals after taking an anger management class for a fight last week)