Friday, December 30, 2011

Michigan Hockey

LISTEN LIVE to the GLI Championship between Michigan and Michigan State. Mike Lewandowski and Andrew Goddeeris on the cal

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Michigan vs. Boston College GLI Semi-Final

Join Adam Brewster and Mike Lewandowski LIVE from the Joe for Michigan vs. Boston College for a trip to the Great Lakes Invitational Final.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

LIVE: Michigan Basketball v. Alabama A&M

LISTEN LIVE at noon as Michigan takes on Alabama A&M at Crisler.

Jeff Turner and Eitan Neumark on the call.

Friday, December 9, 2011

LIVE: Michigan hockey v. FYS

LISTEN LIVE as Michigan takes on Little Brother at 7:35 at Yost. Michigan looks to get back on track in CCHA play and derail an upstart FYS squad.

Michael Lewandowski and Andrew Goddeeris on the call.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Listen LIVE

Basketball v. Iowa State

12:00 pm Saturday, December 3rd 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

LISTEN LIVE as your Michigan Wolverines try to end a five game losing streak against Union. Mike Lewandowski is on the call.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

LIVE: Michigan Football v. Ohio

Listen as the Meeeechigan Wolverines look to end an 8 year losing skid in the great rivalry in sports.

Bill Rothwell, Seth Goldman, and Clarence Stone on the call.

Friday, November 25, 2011

LIVE: Michigan Hockey v. Northeastern

LISTEN LIVE at 7:35 pm as Michigan looks to rebound from CCHA losses to Miami and Ohio State against Hockey East foe Northeastern.

Adam Brewster and Andrew Goddeeris on the call.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

LIVE: Michigan Football v. Nebraska

LISTEN LIVE at noon as Michigan welcomes Nebraska to the Big House for the first time since 1962. Michigan holds a 3-2-1 advantage in the all-time series between these storied programs.

Andrew Goddeeris, Bill Rothwell, Kevin Carpenter, and Seth Goldman on the call.

Friday, November 18, 2011

LISTEN LIVE to Michigan take the Ohio State Buckeyes at 7:35 Mike Lewandowski, Andrew Goddeeris, and Adam Brewster on the call.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Michigan Football vs. Illinois

Listen to the broadcast of the Michigan Illinois game here.

Michigan football vs. University of Illinois (Broadcasting live at)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

LIVE: Michigan Football v. Iowa

LISTEN LIVE at noon eastern as Michigan looks to take down the Hawkeyes in Iowa City.

Andrew Goddeeris, Adam Wilensky, and Iowa's own Sam Kavalier on the call.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

LISTEN: Michigan Football v. Purdue

LISTEN LIVE at noon as Michigan comes off a bye and looks to get back to its winning ways against the Purdue Boilermakers.

Andrew Goddeeris, Bill Rothwell, Jeff Turner, and Michael Fienberg on the call.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

LISTEN LIVE to Michigan hockey vs Ferris State at 7:35 pm. Mike Lewandowski and Jeff Turner on the call.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

LIVE: Michigan Football v. Little Brother

LISTEN LIVE at NOON as 6-0 Michigan takes on the Michigan State Spartans and looks to break a three game losing streak against their rivals to the North.

Andrew Goddeeris, Bill Rothwell, Matt Bernstein, and Seth Goldman on the call.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

LISTEN LIVE to Michigan hockey vs. St. Lawrence. Mike Lewandowski and Kevin Capenter on the call.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

LIVE: Michigan Football v. Minnesota

LISTEN LIVE at noon as Michigan opens Big Ten play against the Minnesota Golden Gophers! Brady Hoke looks to keep the Brown Jug in Ann Arbor in his B1G debut.

Bill Rothwell, Andrew Goddeeris, and Michael Fienberg on the call.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Michigan Hockey Preview 2011

Once the puck didn’t get dumped into the Duluth zone, you knew. Once you saw Chad Langlais scramble to get back into defensive position to continue what was already almost a three-minute shift, you knew. Once Travis Oleksuk threw a pass across the front of the net to Kyle Schmidt and Shawn Hunwick couldn’t quite get back to the far post you really knew. It was over, a run made as the last effort of an impressive, if slightly underperforming, recruiting class ground to a screeching halt just inches from the their ultimate goal.

In what can only be described as a heart-breaking defeat the University of Michigan Wolverines lost 3-2 in overtime to the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul to fall just short of the NCAA Championship in Men’s Ice Hockey. We waved goodbye to Langlais, Carl Hagelin, Louie Caporusso, Scooter Vaughn, Matt Rust, Ben Winnett and the too often street-clothed Bryan Hogan. This was a class that could have, and probably should have, produced more than a loss at all four levels of the NCAA Tournament. The early departures of Aaron Palushaj and Max Pacioretty didn’t help and they did manage to lose each of those games in a different fantastic fashion: an OT almost comeback after pulling a starting goalie for a freshman(Hogan) against Notre Dame; one of the more ridiculous goaltending displays against the Air Force’s Andrew Volkening; a game stolen away and again lost in overtime to Miami(OH), and finally the closest they came to the ultimate prize in a contest that provoked even the most mild mannered of coaches to criticize the officiating. Each of these hurt in its own way mixing together shock, anger, and the emptiness that comes with ending a season without a trophy being held overhead. It has been a very unstable time to be a fan of Red Berenson’s program.

But this is a new season and a new team that will once again be setting their sights on not just another NCAA tournament appearance (they have 21 straight), or a Frozen Four trip (24 of those, the most all time) or even another shot at big one (11 title games played). No the Wolverines will accept nothing less than a tenth National Championship as a successful season, as a program with the tradition of U of M should. Whether or not this is a realistic goal for this specific group remains to be seen, but looking at what Coach Berenson is going put out on the ice there is potential for greatness, but there are also a significant amount of question marks.

The front line of the Wolverines consists of a lot of unproven talent and talent that has yet to live up to expectations. This could be one of the strongest offensive forces Michigan has seen in a long time or it could be a complete bust, we know that little about the Wolverine attack. Of the fourteen forwards on the roster only five were guaranteed to be in the lineup when healthy last season. That is not a lot of experience even for a college team – for example last year’s team had nine. There are also five freshman forwards on the roster, at least three of whom are expected to play regularly. This lack of real experience makes it very difficult to predict what kind of offense we will see at Yost this year but the veteran players have a lot on their shoulders. None more than second-year captain Luke Glendening who will most likely anchor Michigan’s top line. Glendening is certainly the most experienced returning forward if not the most prolific. The senior’s talents are more defensive and he will be the team’s best penalty killer and is the unquestioned leader in the locker room. If there is one player that might want to return to the national title game more than any other it has to be senior alternate captain David Wohlberg, who watched from the stands as his teammates fell to Duluth after suffering a broken collar bone against Bowling Green in the second round of the CCHA Tournament last year. Despite missing the last 7 games of the season, he was still second on the team in goals, so the Wolverines will be depending on him to keep putting the puck in the net. A source of goals that hasn’t seemed to ever find its groove is Chris Brown. The junior scored only nine goals last year while taking the third most shots on the team. Brown will hope to see more of the Texas flag flying in the Michigan student section this season. Other than those three players Coach Berenson will be expecting his forwards to start living up to their potential. Kevin Lynch scored eleven goals last year but was in a deep scoring slump for too much of last year. AJ Treais was fantastic at times last year and provides a spark when Michigan gets sluggish but he was still too undisciplined and needs to have more control over his finesse game if he wants to become a top end scorer. Luke Moffat has the potential to fire a lot of pucks home for the Wolverines as well but as a freshman he sometimes looked lost out on the ice and had a problem regaining composure after a couple bad plays. The rest of the bunch has to see more playing time before any real determination can be made, but look out for freshman Zach Hyman to make a big impact. The Panthers draft pick was a dominant force in the Ontario Junior Hockey League on his way to being named the Canadian Junior A player of the year, an honor he shares with Mike Comrie and Jeff Tambellini. That’s some good company.

The blue line is a little more stable than the front end but still provides a few question marks. At least one freshman will have to play but I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point we saw three new kids suit up in the same game. In any case the blue line will be built on youth, with only one returning senior and one returning junior. Underclassmen will carry the load on this defensive corps. One of the underclassmen happens to be John Merrill who might have been the best defenseman on this team a year ago and now is unquestionably the top defender the Wolverines have. They were lucky to keep him away from the New Jersey Devils and if not for a poor performance in the national title game last year and a lackluster tournament overall, Merrill probably would have made the jump. He certainly looked like an NHL ready defenseman for the majority of last season next to Chad Langlais but now Langlais is gone and Merrill is the guy. Whether or not he has the ability to lead this group and even the whole team remains to be seen. The leadership load should be shared with senior Greg Pateryn who, despite coming into the team as a freshman having already been drafted, has never been able to establish himself firmly in the lineup. Pateryn played in 40 of the Wolverines’ 44 games last year but still was always teetering on the edge of being dropped. That won’t be a problem this year and the most defensive-minded defenseman on this team will be an integral part of the team on the ice and off. Mac Bennett and Lee Moffie could be two of the most exciting defensemen in the CCHA but last year I never wanted to see them on the ice together. Both are fantastic at moving up into the play offensively and can create problems for opposing defenses but also have the tendency to leave the their partner exposed, creating the potential for odd man rushes the other way. If they can play with more discipline they could be fantastic. The freshman to watch in this group has to be Brennan Serville, the Winnipeg Jets pick. He tallied 30 points in 36 games in the OJHL as a defenseman and with his size could be one of Michigan’s top defenseman right out of the gate.

The goaltending situation will look very familiar to any fans of the Wolverines over the last two years. Shawn Hunwick returns to his place between the pipes as a fifth-year senior and for the first time in his career he should be the unquestionable starter. Having to wait until Bryan Hogan got injured two years ago and then battling again with Hogan for playing time last year until the injury bug struck again has given Hunwick a chip on his shoulder. That coupled with his less than average size for a goalie gives him a “me against the world” type of attitude that can be great for a goalie when he is hot. When he has to compete for time however, like he did for the beginning of last season, that confidence can erode quickly. This is why the most important player to Michigan’s goaltending won’t actually be suiting up for the Wolverines this year, former commit John Gibson. Gibson bolted for the OHL after giving fans another false hope that a top Goalie would join the long line that included Al Montoya, Marty Turco, and Steve Shields. Like Jack Campbell before him Gibson could have come in and gotten solid time as a freshman but decided that college wasn’t for him so Hunwick returns to the crease. It is possible that this is the best thing that could have happened when you take just this year into account because now Hunwick doesn’t have to worry about his job and history tells us that he will play better in that situation. The problem for the future is that Hunwick will not be granted a sixth year of eligibility and backup Adam Janecyk has about as much time in competition at Yost as the people who play score-o in between periods.

So what is a realistic goal for this team? It is very difficult to say but I can’t see this team missing out on the NCAA tournament no matter how inexperienced they are. Another trip to the Frozen Four is a legitimate possibility if the right pieces fall into place. But for Wolverine fans, the wait for that tenth national title will, in all likelihood, last at least one more year.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

LISTEN: Michigan v. SDSU

LISTEN LIVE as Michigan takes on SDSU at 12 pm in Brady Hoke's first matchup with his former team. The Wolverines look to stay perfect in September the last three years.

Andrew Goddeeris, Bill Rothwell, Adam Wilensky, and Kevin Carpenter on the call.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Figuring Out The Madness

With the official defections of Pitt and Syracuse from the Big East to the ACC, a new round of re-alignment madness is officially touched off. Everyone expected the Big 12 to be the first domino to fall, but it seems now as if the Big East will be the conference that initiates the armageddon that has seemed certain since Texas A&M announced its intent to leave the Big 12 for the SEC.

Now all that's left is to see how the dominoes will fall. Which conferences will become Super Conferences and which will be enveloped in the madness? Below are my personal predictions for how everything will end up, eventually. Some of these changes will be in effect for the 2012 football season, while some likely won't be finalized for another season or two after that. This is especially true in the Big 10, which may wait until its TV deal runs out to expand.


1. Pitt, Syracuse, UConn, and Rutgers leave the Big East, join the ACC.

This move destroys the Big East as a football conference, something that has seemed inevitable ever since Miami, BC, and Va Tech left the conference in 2005 for the ACC. This move would leave the ACC with 16 teams, 2 divisions of 8. I believe these divisions will be as follows:

North: Boston College, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Syracuse, UConn, Rutgers
South: Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, UNC, NC State, Duke, Georgia Tech

2. Texas A&M and West Virginia leave the Big 12 and Big East, join the SEC.

This move is already in motion, as Texas A&M has already accepted their invitation to join the SEC, while West Virginia is a logical 14th team with the Big East in shambles after Move 1. I see the SEC holding firm with 14 teams rather than moving to 16, as no other teams outside of the ACC make good sense to join the SEC (although I have heard rumbles about some of the Big 12, such as Mizzou). I don't see the SEC divisional alignment changing much, with A&M joining the West division, and West Virginia joining the East division.

3. Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma St leave the Big 12, join the Pac-12

This has been the most heavily publicized and debated move, and with the other pieces in motion, the two big boys in the Big 12 (Texas and Oklahoma) abandon ship and take their little brothers with them to the newly christened Pac-16. This essentially dooms the Big 12, and I see it folding, with the leftovers scrambling to find Major conferences to join. I see the divisions shaping up like this:

Pacific: UCLA, USC, Cal, Stanford, Oregon, Oregon St, Washington, Washington St
Southwest: Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, OK St, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, ASU

Interesting wrinkle here is that the new divisions could be the old Pac-8 teams versus the new additions (the new conference may split up the newcomers for revenue reasons, but this alignment makes the most geographic sense IMO).

4. Missouri and Notre Dame join the Big 10.

Missouri is left on the sinking ship of the Big 12 and is forced into joining the Big 10. Notre Dame finally agrees that it's time to join a conference and picks the obvious choice as well. Here's how I see a 14 team Big 10 looking:

Lakes: Michigan, MSU, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois, Penn State
Plains: OSU, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Wiconsin, Indiana, Purdue

5. Kansas, KSU, Baylor, Iowa St (from Big 12), TCU (from Big East), BYU (Independent), and Nevada, Hawaii, and Fresno State (from WAC) join Mountain West.

With the Big 12 and Big East ceasing to exist (at least as football conferences), the leftovers will be left scrambling. I see the Big 12 remainders ending up in a new, super Mountain West, in addition to some teams that were already scheduled to join (WAC teams) and the re-addition of TCU and BYU, who probably should have never left in the first place. That would leave the new Mountain West with 16 teams, two 8-team divisions that would be as follows:

West: Hawaii, Nevada, Fresno St, BYU, Boise St, UNLV, SD St, Wyoming
East: Colorado St, TCU, Air Force, New Mexico, Kansas, KSU, Baylor, Iowa St

6. Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida (from Big East) and Louisiana Tech(from WAC) join Conference USA.

The Big East leftovers join the C-USA, which is a kind of geographic mash-up, and wouldn't mind adding former members such as Louisville to form a 16 team conference with two 8-team divisions, with La Tech and Louisville going West and Cincinnati and USF going East.

7. WAC, Big East, and Big 12 fold as football conferences, remaining WAC teams go down to FCS level or join Sun Belt.

Most of the WAC plays at a D1-AA level anyway, wouldn't be a huge change for the leftovers of that conference (Idaho, Utah State, SJ State, NM State).

The Final Consequences

2 BCS AQ conferences (Big East and Big 12) would be kaput as football conferences, meaning that their auto-bids would have to go elsewhere. I would vote that one become and at-large bid and the other go to the new Mountain West. That would leave the ACC, Big 10, Mountain West, Pac-16, and SEC as the new AQ conferences. A ton of other issues would still need to be resolved, such as conference scheduling (9 in-conference games for sure, more than 2 BCS bids per conference most likely), but this new alignment works for the most part. It isn't as ideal as the old setup maybe, but the times they are a'changing, and we need the best possible solution.

Comments/questions/other plans are welcome.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

LIVE: Michigan Football v. Eastern Michigan

LISTEN LIVE at noon as Michigan takes on the Eagles of Eastern Michigan in the Battle of Washtenaw County. Brady Hoke looks to move to 3-0 in the 2011 campaign.

Andrew Goddeeris, Bill Rothwell, Jack Warner on the call.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Instant Classic

Wow...what a finish. The Wolverines win one of the wildest games in Big House history in a fantastic way to christen night games here in Ann Arbor. Denard started 2/11, then finished 9/13 to lead a thrilling come-from-behind victory. Denard put up 446 yards of offense, 338 in the air with 4 TDs and 3 INTs and 108 yards rushing with one TD (that's 948 yards alone in the last two games against Notre Dame for Shoelace). Hemingway had a massive 165 yards on three receptions, and one 43 yard TD. Tommy Rees was Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, with 315 yards passing and 3 TDs, but 3 TOs (2 INT, 1 fumble). But the most stunning aspect of the game was the final 1:12: 21 yard TD pass to Vincent Smith for Michigan's first lead of the game, 28-24, then at :30 Notre Dame re-takes the lead with a 29 yard TD pass to Theo Riddick to make it 31-28, before Denard finds Jeremy Gallon for a 64 yard pass to put Michigan on the 16 with 0:09, and then with 0:02 left
finds Roy Roundtree for the 16 yard TD pass to win the game. More to come this week on Extra points and Daily Sports Reports...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

LIVE: Michigan Football v. Notre Dame

Tune in at 8:00 pm as the Michigan Wolverines take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish under the lights in the first ever night game at the University of Michigan.

Bill Rothwell, Chris Kudialis, and Jeff Turner on the call.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Notre Dame starting QB

Just a quick update before the Michigan-Notre Dame game this Saturday night, as Brian Kelly has announced that sophomore QB Tommy Rees will start the game against the Wolverines. Rees was the superior quarterback over Senior QB Dayne Crist in last week's game against South Florida, going 24/34 for 296 yards with 2 TDs and 2 INTs while Crist produced a mediocre line of 7/15 for 95 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT. Rees saw very little action in last year's Denard emergence, going 0/2 with an INT. Much more to come about Michigan Stadium's first night game as the week progresses...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

LIVE: Michigan Football v. Western Michigan

Tune in at 3:30 pm as the Michigan Wolverines take on the Western Michigan Broncos to open the 2011 season and Coach Brady Hoke's tenure.

Andrew Goddeeris, Bill Rothwell, and Kevin Carpenter on the call.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Podcast: 2011 Michigan Schedule Breakdown

The WCBN crew breaks down the 2011 Michigan football schedule. Special guest Tim Rohan, Sports Editor at the Michigan Daily, joins us in studio. Follow him at @TimRohan on Twitter.

Unfortunately we lost the part of the preview in which we broke down the roster, but it may have been for the best. Stay tuned for more podcasts throughout the year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

2011 Michigan Volleyball Preview

After a 23-10 effort and a program-best fourth-place Big Ten finish in 2010, the Michigan volleyball team returns to action ranked #24 in the country in 2011, but with a major hole to fill. The Wolverines lose their all-time greatest player in four-time AVCA All-America setter Lexi Zimmerman, and will have to replace her while turning to senior captains Alex Hunt and Sloane Donhoff to lead the team through the toughest conference in the NCAA.

Senior captain Alex Hunt.

Senior captain Sloane Donhoff.


Lexi Zimmerman, defensive specialist Maggie Busch, and right side hitter Amanda Yerke are gone from the 2010 Wolverines. Zimmerman is clearly the major loss here, as Yerke played sparingly, and while a solid contributor, Maggie Busch can be replaced by Ally Sabol and Brittany Lee.

Michigan has three incoming freshmen in 2011. Walk-on middle blocker Olivia Reed will almost certainly see very limited playing time this season, as the Wolverines are solid at her position. Under Armor All-American Lauren Teknipp, a 6-2 MB from McDonough, GA should have a better chance of seeing the court, and she comes in as one of Michigan's higher rated recruits in recent years. The most important incoming freshman, though, is the confusingly-named Lexi Dannemiller, a 5-11 setter from West Chester, OH. An Under Armor All-American in 2010, she is the odds-on favorite to win the setting job this season, a job she'll compete for with junior Catherine Yager. Expectations are sky-high for Dannemiller, who perhaps cruelly will be asked to live up to the bar set by the Lexi she replaces.

As mentioned, Michigan should be solid up the middle this season. Sophomore Jennifer Cross, a unanimous 2010 All-Big Ten Freshman selection, led the squad with 111 blocks last season, and will also look to improve upon her impressive 2.31 kills/set and .316 hitting percentage marks. Cross' development will be key for the Wolverines this season - she's already in my estimation Michigan's third-best player, and is far from reaching her potential. Cross is joined by 6-3 fifth-year senior Karlee Bruck, who hit an impressive .328% last season. 6-4 senior Courtney Fletcher rounds out a very solid MB stable for Michigan. Fletcher hit .280% last season and registered 68 total blocks.

The outside and right side hitting positions will be critical for Michigan this season. With a new setter in the middle, developing a rhythm and relationship will be crucial, and outside of Alex Hunt, question marks abound. Hunt, a unanimous 2011 All-Big Ten Preseason selection and 2010 All-American, will be once again asked to carry the load from the OH position. She registered 503 kills in 2010, good for 4.41 K/S, and will look to improve upon her .255 hitting percentage. She has the potential to go down as one of Michigan's all-time greats with another big year. On the right side, redshirt junior Claire McElheny needs to have another strong campaign, following up on her 2.25 K/S mark and .262 hitting percentage from last season. How well Michigan performs this year may well turn on the ability of sophomores Molly Toon and Lexi Erwin to make big leaps from last year. Each hit at disappointing low clips, and their development will be something to watch. So much of the success of this season depends on the ability of the new setter to click with her hitters, something we won't really be able to gauge until a few matches into the season.

Senior captain Sloane Donhoff started all 33 games last season at libero for Michigan, and all expectations are that she'll do the same this season. Donhoff is fifth all-time at Michigan in digs, and like Hunt, could end her 2011 campaign amongst Michigan's best ever. Sophomore Ally Sabol will continue to serve as Donhoff's back-up, and will come on as a substitute to serve frequently.

Old Lexi.

New Lexi.


2011 will mark coach Mark Rosen's 13th year behind the helm for Michigan. 239-152 in his career in Ann Arbor, Rosen is Michigan's all-time winningest coach, taking the Wolverine program to new heights during his tenure. Assistant coach Amanda Ault left after last season to take the head coaching position at George Washington University, and she has been replaced by former Cincinnati assistant Erin Virtue, who coached liberos and setters for the Bearcats.


Full schedule lives here.

Michigan's 2010 season was a tale of two teams. 12-1 at Cliff Keen, Michigan struggled to a 5-9 mark away from Ann Arbor, so of course Michigan begins the season with three straight tournaments on the road. The Wolverines will be tested by Morehead State and Cal Poly early on, and a good early season indicator of where the team stands will come at the Dayton Marriott Flyer Classic, with a solid field headlined by #19 Dayton, and rounded out by #26 Pepperdine and #30 Florida State. Michigan returns home to host the Michigan/adidas Invitational September 16-17, and B1G play begins the following weekend in Indiana at the Hoosiers and Boilermakers.

The Big Ten will be stronger than it ever has been before, boasting seven teams ranked in the preseason Top 25, including #1 and four-time defending national champions Penn State, and B1G newcomers in #5 Nebraska. Illinois (#8), Minnesota (#12), Purdue (#13), Ohio State (#21), and Michigan (#24) are also ranked. Last season Michigan went 12-8 in conference for a fourth-place finish, but they'll face an uphill battle to repeat or surpass that mark this season. Marquee games will be Nebraska's first trip to Ann Arbor on October 1, and trips to Illinois, Penn State, and Minnesota.

Nebraska will find Cliff Keen, er, quaint.


Optimism abounds!

Though they lose a heck of a lot with the departure of Lexi Zimmerman, the Wolverines return tons of talent in 2011. The question is how well Coach Rosen and Co. can harness that talent while breaking in a new setter, all the while facing an extremely tough conference slate.

I think Lexi Dannemiller will cement herself as the starting setter for this squad, much like Zimmerman did her freshman year, and while she may not equal the AVCA All-America Honorable Mention the Great One posted in her first year in Ann Arbor, we should expect a very strong showing for the touted frosh. Molly Toon will have a breakout year as a compliment to Alex Hunt, and Jennifer Cross will have an All-Big Ten-type season as a sophomore. My gut says that Michigan will emerge from non-conference play with an 11-1 record - expect a loss somewhere in the Dayton tournament.

Here's where I go out on a massive limb, and maybe's it's because I'm a senior, and maybe it's because I fashion myself as the "Official Voice" of Michigan volleyball and want a fun season ahead, but I'm going to boldly predict that this Michigan team registers its finest Big Ten campaign yet and goes 13-7 in conference. Michigan only plays 5 conference road games against teams ranked higher than them, and I expect the Cliff Keen dominance to continue in 2011. A 13-7 mark won't win them the Big Ten, but it will make for the best B1G regular season finish in program history, and serve as a springboard from which to dive into the NCAA tournament with a 24-8 overall record.

Be sure to get out to Cliff Keen this season and support Michigan volleyball!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Déjà vu sans Goaltender

Fool me once but you won’t fool me twice. Well John, you fooled us twice. The recent de-commitment of incoming freshmen goalie, John Gibson, reminds Michigan fans that an eighteen-year-olds-mind can change in a flash. This is the second straight year Michigan hockey has lost a high profile goalie prospect to the Ontario Hockey League after Jack Campbell went to Windsor last year. Gibson’s de-commitment is even worse because it comes about a month before school starts. When Campbell left to sign elsewhere, it at least left Michigan almost a full season to recruit a new player. Now the coaching staff must scramble if they want to replace Gibson. Most likely Red Berenson will seek a third string goalie (maybe Patrick Summers or someone from the United States Hockey Leagues) then recruit a top prospect for next season. For the time being, Michigan’s NCAA tournament hopes hinge on Hunwick’s health. If that fails, we should hope Adam Janecyk is the second coming of Shawn.

One might (reasonably) ask what is to stop this happening for a third year in a row next year. The reason why is playing time. With Shawn Hunwick graduating at the end of the season, the starting job will be open to any top prospect who wants it. But wouldn’t Gibson get those minutes if he came? Yes, but not until next season. That, and several reasons are why Gibson signed with the Kitchener Rangers. Gibson would have had to fight for playing time with a fifth year senior this year. Kitchener offer more playing time with a better chance of becoming the starter this year. Since being draft by Anaheim in the 2nd round this year’s draft, the NHL dream probably feels closer now. Anaheim probably talked to him about how the OHL has many things to prepare him for the major league: the story of more games, a more NHL-like style of play, more focus on hockey and less on academics, and lastly, he can sign with the Ducks and still play for his junior team, something he couldn’t do in the NCAA.

Gibson should have known all these facts before his commitment to a college program. He knew what Michigan had to offer and what the OHL was all about. He knew he was going to be a high draft choice too. Yes, the USA development program prevents players from signing with an OHL team while they are on the team but his season was over in May. Granted May isn’t much more time to find a replacement but it is better than now. If Gibson thought he wanted to do juniors, he should have de-committed like Campbell back in November before signing day. It is more disheartening that Gibson signed a letter of intent to play for Michigan; a promise to close his recruiting to other colleges and indirectly OHL teams. In the past two weeks 5 players including Gibson have chosen to join OHL teams over their respective college commitments. The alarming part is not the defects; there are a handful of players every year, but the number of top prospects in a short period. It is well over a month past the draft where most de-commitments occur. A player is taken higher than expected, feels the need to fast track to the NHL then jumps to juniors. In all five cases, these players were drafted in their expected range.

The frustrating part: how to stop these poachers. Answer: there really isn't a way yet. The NCAA considers the Canadian junior leagues professional leagues. Athletes playing a second in a OHL game are automatically ineligible to play in the NCAA, but Athletes can leave anytime from the NCAA to join the junior ranks. Once a college loses the recruit, he is lost. Michigan can just sell their school in the best possible way and recruit honest and respectful players. One area college hockey can work on is NHL executives. There is this growing impression that if you are a highly drafted American prospect, you have to play juniors to develop quicker. NHL general managers are encouraging these de-commitments late in the off season. Canadian juniors do not fast track one to the NHL. It just gives an earlier time for NHL teams to sign the player for cheaper, and it gives the young star a nice signing bonus. Very few players, even first rounders make it to the NHL at 18 or 19 years. They are usually signed at age 20 and spend a couple of years in the minor league. Many players are 22 or 23 by the time they are in the NHL full time. An age where college players have or are about to graduate. If you google Josh Unice or Brandon Maxwell, you will find two former American goalies who committed to colleges then backed out to sign with Kitchener. They are no closer to the NHL than John Gibson is. On the other hand, John Gibson is no closer to a world class education than Unice and Maxwell.

by John Zaccardelli

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cherundolo's Absence Destabilizes the U.S. Defense

With the United States men's national soccer team leading Mexico 2-0 in the final of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, getting revenge seemed likely to occur. In fact, with well over half of the match still to be played at the time, it was possible that the Americans would end up equaling the 5-0 score by which Mexico beat the U.S. in the championship match of the 2009 edition of the tournament.

However, the 2011 Gold Cup final turned out to be much closer to a repeat of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup final than a reverse of the 2009 Gold Cup final. Mexico scored the last four goals of the match to win 4-2 and qualify for the 2013 Confederations Cup. In the 2009 Confederations Cup, the U.S. led Brazil 2-0 before losing 3-2.

In this instance against Mexico, a significant substitution that was caused by an injury took place while there was a 1-0 American advantage. Defender Steve Cherundolo's hurt ankle prompted head coach Bob Bradley to substitute Jonathan Bornstein into the match in his place during the 11th minute. As Bornstein entered to play on the left side of the defense, Eric Lichaj moved to the opposite side to take over the right-back position that Cherundolo had been playing very well throughout the Gold Cup. This sequence of moves weakened the U.S. defense prior to the flurry of Mexican goals.

Other players who could have been chosen as the replacement for Cherundolo include Jonathan Spector and Tim Ream. However, either of these changes would have also come with some risk. Spector, like Bornstein, had not previously played in the 2011 Gold Cup at all. Ream entering for the first time since his foul caused a Panamanian penalty kick in the group stage would have involved U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra moving from the center of the defense back to the side of the defense. Taking into account the injury and the choice with which Bradley was faced, it was a problematic situation, and the option to try to repair it that he selected simply did not work out.

Conversely, there were controversial decisions made by Bradley during the tournament that ultimately were enormously successful. Foremost among these is the substitution that brought Freddy Adu into the semifinal match against Panama. Shortly thereafter, Adu made significant progress toward changing the perception of him from someone who had not lived up to a massive amount of hype to someone who might still have a bright future with the national team. 10 minutes after replacing teenage forward Juan Agudelo, Adu made a terrific pass to U.S. star Landon Donovan (another substitute by Bradley in this match), who made one more excellent pass, this one to Clint Dempsey for the only goal of the match that sent the Americans to the final.

So, will we see more of the Bob Bradley who has wonderful strategic judgments or the Bob Bradley who has questionable ones? Moreover, will we see the type of U.S. squad that beat top-ranked and eventual World Cup champion Spain in the Confederations Cup to reach its first-ever final in a FIFA tournament or the type of one that suffered its first-ever Gold Cup group stage loss? Will we see the kind of American team that finished on top of its World Cup group for the first time since 1930 or the kind of one that just surrendered four straight goals to Mexico?

What happens next for the United States men's national soccer team might be shaped by any of these possibilities. Since the U.S. will not be participating in the Confederations Cup for this World Cup cycle, the next big event will be the CONCACAF region's qualification for the 2014 World Cup. For all of the questions surrounding this squad, we do know that the U.S. should be exciting to watch going forward. With a premier goalkeeper like Tim Howard and strong play in the midfield from players such as Dempsey and Donovan, there is reason for optimism. Not consistently defending well is a significant concern. Finally, the development of young forwards Agudelo and Jozy Altidore will affect how formidable the U.S. team is going to be for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Smart Scheduling

How Your Schedule Can Make You A Better Team

As the summer is rolling along, the Michigan hockey team has released its 2011-2012 schedule. Most of the time, people are thinking o.k. that is nice, I do not care who we play and when, all that matters is that we win. However, if one looks a little closer, there are clues in how the coaches think about their team. This is what the 2011-12 schedule shows for the Michigan Wolverines.

Let us start with the non-conference schedule; usually Michigan has one or two early marquee games to show the NCAA committee and RPI they have a tournament quality team. Michigan will be challenged right out the bat with Niagara, St. Lawrence and wait for it… Bentley. Yes, these are not power conference teams fans nor players get excited about. Even later on Union nor Northeastern perk up your ears. It is not until Boston College in the Great Lakes Invitational on Dec. 29th that Michigan plays a legit power house team outside the conference.

From a coach’s perceptive, it is smart scheduling. With the graduation of Carl Hagelin and Matt Rust, this team will be young and unproven. The trio of A.J. Treais, Chris Brown, and Kevin Lynch will need to break out and become scoring leaders on this team. The seemingly soft early schedule will give confidence to these juniors and incoming freshmen Zach Hyman, Alex Guptill, and Brennan Serville in the scoring department. The team will only leave Yost ice arena twice in the first two months. The toughest match up in the first half will be going down to Oxford to play a pair with Miami in early November. Michigan could build up enough wins in the first half to roll into January and still be in good position even with tough games against Notre Dame and Miami in back to back weekends. Michigan closes the regular season with a pair against Northern Michigan at home and a pair on the road against lowly Bowling Green. When it comes to selection Sunday, the NCAA committee will be looking for marquee wins outside the conference as well as total wins, play down the stretch, and recent tournament history to determine Michigan's destiny. This schedule, combined with Michigan's tournament hisotory (21 straight tournament appearances) will hopefully put Michigan in a favorable light. Clearly, that is Red's and the rest of the coaching staff's plans. Hey, even if you are not satisfied with Michigan’s opponents, at least you will enjoy Yost’s brand new scoreboard!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Let's Talk Baseball Realignment

With the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals now both in the books, and college football still 12 weeks away, I'd say it's high time for our sports focus to shift to the only sport still in season, baseball. The issue I'd like to deal with today is one that has gotten some recent press and will likely be settled in the off-season: realignment. But how will baseball shake up the 6-division format that it's used for the past 18 seasons? I've compiled the 3 best plans (in my opinion) that correct the biggest complaints about modern baseball: uneven divisions (6 teams in NL Central vs. 4 teams in AL West), unbalanced schedules (Orioles play the Yanks 19 times a year), and the small playoffs (which I personally don't mind but it's a given that Selig will add a 5th playoff team to each league)

With these problems in mind, let's look at 3 possible plans for baseball realignment:

Plan A: Keep It Simple

Change: Houston Astros move from the NL Central to the AL West, where they would join the only other Texan team in baseball, the Rangers.

Scheduling: Unbalanced as it is now, with each team playing their division opponents 19 times each (76 total), inter-division opponents 6 or 7 times each (68 total), and 6 series versus inter-league opponents (18 total). For teams with inter-league geographical rivals: (Mets-Yankees, Dodgers-Angels, A's-Giants, Orioles-Nats, Cubs-White Sox, Marlins-Rays, Cardinals-Royals, Indians-Reds), they are guaranteed to play each other 2 series per year (home and home), which will leave them their rivals + 4 other inter-league opponents. For teams without inter-league rivals, they will play 6 different inter-league opponents. There would always have to be one inter-league series happening, meaning that the 6 series for each team would be spread out, averaging about one per month for the entire season.

Playoffs: 5 per league, with each division winner earning a bye and the two wild-card teams playing a best-of-3 series.

Plan B: Balanced Schedule

Change: Houston Astros move from NL Central to AL West.

Scheduling: Balanced (at least more so) . 12 games against division opponents (48 total), 9 or 10 games against inter-division opponents (99 total), 5 series against inter-league opponents (15 games total). For the inter-league scheduling, no rivalries will be taken into account. Each team will play 5 inter-league teams spread out among the 3 divisions, with each team playing a different set of 5 teams each year for a 3 year rotation, so that each team will have played all 15 inter-league opponents over the course of 3 seasons.

Playoffs: Same as A. One variation that could be applied to the plan though would be to play the best-of-3 series entirely at the higher seeded wild-card team's park, giving a bigger advantage for finishing 4th rather than 5th.

Plan C: Party Like It's 1968

Eliminate divisions. Move Arizona Diamondbacks from National League to American League.

Scheduling: Balanced. For the 14 league opponents, play half of them 12 games each and the other half 9 games each (147 games total). This would rotate, so that over 2 years each team would play all of their league rivals 21 times total and over 4 years have 21 home games against each team. For inter-league opponents, play five teams one series each (15 games total), with each team playing all15 inter-league opponents at least once over the course of 3 seasons.

Playoffs: Top 5 teams in each league qualify, with the top 3 getting a first-round bye and the bottom two qualifiers facing off in a best-of-3 play-in series.

So there we have it, 3 ideas for how to change baseball for next season (and beyond!). Note that I included 5 playoff teams in all 3 plans as baseball seems set on it, but any of the three would work just as well with the current 4-team per league format. My personal favorite is plan B, although I think that people may gripe about losing their inter-league rivalry home and home every year.

I'd love to hear other suggestions or thoughts on these three plans.

Change is definitely coming to baseball, and I'm excited to see what form it takes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Jim Tressel OUT at OSU

It's official. On this Memorial day morning, Jim Tressel handed in his letter of resignation to school President E. Gordon Gee. This is a complete reversal from March 8, when Tressel said he never considered resigning. However, it had to happen. Tressel knew of his players selling memorabilia and autographs for tattoos before the 2010-11 season. Yet he allowed them to play the whole season, even though he knew their eligibility had been compromised. Then, when asked about it by the NCAA in December whether he knew of these actions, he lied and said no. The cover-up was the final nail in the coffin. How does this impact Michigan? Well, obviously Tressel meant a lot to the Buckeyes, as he was 9-1 against the Wolverines in "The Game." It will be interesting to see where OSU goes from here. They've already said that they will search for a new replacement after the upcoming 2011-12 season, where current assistant coach Luke Fickell will lead the program. No one knows what this season will bring for the Buckeyes, as they will be without their starting QB and RB, as well as some others, for the first five games of the season (admittedly, the very weak non-conference slate. They return when the Big Ten season begins). Will there be players who transfer? Will any other revelations come out? And what will the NCAA meeting in August do to OSU? OSU could very well have wins vacated, be put on probation, and lose scholarships. Or, none of that could happen. But either way, an era has ended in Columbus, and now no one knows what will happen next.

The Director's Seat - Andy's Blog

I figured this could last at least two weeks. The next few Mondays I'll be traveling, so this is the last you'll hear from me for a while. Maybe somebody else will pick up the slack and throw something on the blog while I'm gone.


Arctic Monkeys - Library Pictures

The new Arctic Monkeys album is really good - certainly better than their last album, and in my estimation, better than their sophomore effort as well. This is one of the shorter, faster paced tracks on the LP, but the whole thing is worth a listen. It's streaming online here.

I've listened to a lot of other new music recently, including efforts from Bon Iver, The Vaccines, Givers, and Battles, but nothing has really captivated me, besides perhaps the new Bon Iver. It's not so easy finding new music you love every week.

The big buzz this past weekend was about the release of the Hangover II. I wasn't particularly blown away by the first edition, but it was funny enough, and so I watched the second installment with moderately high expectations. II is, and you'll hear this 100 times, the exact same movie in a different setting, and how you interact with this fact will color your viewing experience. Accept that it's the same movie again, remember that you enjoyed it the first time, and you'll have a pleasant enough time with the second. There are some classic Alan lines, and I laughed out loud more frequently than I did during the first movie, so there's that. All in all, worth a look.

The summer means your favorite shows are going on hiatus, but one you should be watching that will kick off a new season on June 23 is Louie, on FX. I don't know how it took me so long to get around to watching Louis C.K.'s show, but I watched the first season in a couple days, and it's really good. C.K. is hilarious, and a good third of each episode is just him doing standup, which is what he's known for and best at. The rest of the show plays on a down and out Dad theme, and as a sucker for self-deprecating humor, I'm a fan. You've got three weeks to watch the first season before the premiere of the second.

(Inter)national Sports

I hope everyone watched the UEFA Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United on Saturday afternoon (evening for me). Because it was dazzling. Barcelona dominated much of the first half but saw the score level at 1 after a glorious strike from Wayne Rooney. Barca came out and completely dominated the second half, and we were treated to some Lionel Messi magic. This will be at least the third place I say it, but it has been a privilege to watch Lionel Messi play football, and I will not soon forget this Barcelona team. After they shredded Arsenal in a much-mocked match in an earlier leg of the Champions League, I have to say I was rather pleased to see United suffer a similar, albeit less embarrassing fate. This Barcelona side will go down as one of the all-time great teams Europe has ever seen, and it's pretty special that we get to watch them. Highlights here, but sure to disappear soon.

The big story yesterday was the FINAL TURN collapse of rookie J.R. Hildebrand at the Indianapolis 500. I didn't see it live, so I know I've missed out on that special quality of watching it as it happened, but it's one of the most incredible things you'll ever see in sports.

There's just something special about live sports, and the sense that ANYTHING can happen and you could be witnessing history. I remember watching a bowling event earlier this year, and one guy had the championship all but sewn up, but inexplicably CRATERED on the last throw and lost. It was bowling, but my jaw was on the floor. Through the magic of the internet, here it is. Relevant portion around 9:20.

The NBA finals start tomorrow night, pitting Dirk and the Mavericks against the Miami Heat and its trio of stars. Better people than myself will preview this somewhere else, I'm sure. I just cannot get into the NBA playoffs. Dirk is a compelling story with his playoff feats, but I don't understand how anyone could be genuinely interested in the Heat. I don't like any of their larger than life superstars, and could not care less about whether or not they win rings. The nature of basketball - that one player can completely dominate a game - turns me off to it, especially in the star-driven league that is the NBA. Spare me the egos and theatrics, please.

Wednesday, however, brings us the Stanley Cup finals, pitting the Vancouver Canucks against the Boston Bruins. I'll be shocked if Lord Stanley's Cup doesn't belong to Vancouver at the end of this series - the Sedins are too good, and the Canucks roll too much depth for the Bruins to handle. Tim Thomas will have to be huge for the Bruins to have any chance, and I suspect Roberto Luongo will be equal to the task in net for Vancouver. This should be a fun one to watch on NBC, as long as Pierre's time is as limited as possible.

Michigan Sports

The biggest news of the past week was perhaps the worst kept secret in the Michigan sports world - that Michigan men's lacrosse would be making the jump to D-1 next season, with women's lacrosse to follow in 2012-13. Details here in the MGoBlue roundup. It's extremely exciting to be the first team in 30 years to make the jump to D-1 lacrosse, and Michigan's dominant varsity club side finally moves up to the top level. The next couple seasons expect Michigan to play in a hodgepodge of venues, but you can be sure that Dave Brandon is crafting a plan for a dedicated lacrosse facility to compete with the best in the nation. For an introduction to the team, watch this series of video blogs.

WCBN hopes to broadcast Michigan men's lacrosse next season when the facilities afford us a steady internet connection and power source.

That's going to do it for now. Thanks for reading, hope to see you again soon!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Director's Seat - Andy's Blog

This is probably a one-off that I'm passing off as the start of something grander to legitimize not studying for my last exam of 2011 over here in the Netherlands, but it's fun to dream. I'm well aware that the field of sports + pop culture combo blogging is quite crowded, but its crowded because it's kind of fun. This will almost certainly be a summer-only feature, and we'll switch back to a sports-only format once we have Michigan athletics to broadcast again. For now, bookmark this right next to your Simmons and Deadspin tabs.


Summer is either upon us or right around the corner, and there has always been a distinct "summer" style of music that I really enjoy. It's light, breezy, and jangly, and two new releases from hotly tipped bands have finally hit the interwebs.

First up is Cults' eponymously titled debut album, due May 31st, streaming exclusively via NPR. You can find it here. I just caught Cults in Amsterdam and they were really good, and this album starts as strong as any I've listened to all year. It's pleasant pop music for a pleasant summer. Here's the third track, "You Know What I Mean," which was a stunner live.

The much anticipated new album from Atlanta punks Black Lips, Arabia Mountain, has made its way to the internet ahead of its June 7 release date, and on first listen it sounds like all the concerns fans had about new producer Mark Ronson were unfounded. Perhaps slightly more sedate than their past albums, Arabia Mountain is still sure to be one of the most talked about albums of 2011. Here's a sample.

The only band whose album has actually already come out, Explosions in the Sky returned in 2011 with Take Care, Take Care, Take Care. The album is more of the same from the Austin-based band, which is to say atmospheric, soaring rock void of vocals. The result can be chilling if you're patient enough with the songs.

If that sound is familiar, it's because EITS provided much of the music for both the movie and TV versions of Friday Night Lights, which leads me to my next segment...

Everyone is watching Friday Night Lights on NBC, right? Because it's an incredible show, and in basically every way the best. Much more than a football drama (it doesn't hurt to be a football fan), this show captures human relationships better than any show I've ever watched, and it is a wholly engrossing viewing experience. The fifth (and final) season aired last fall on DirecTV, and NBC is in the middle of the fifth season now (Friday nights, 8 pm ET). Seriously, if you haven't already, do yourself the favor and start from the beginning and grow with this series. You couldn't ask for a better series. You'll find yourself wishing Michigan could hire Coach Eric Taylor to be a QB coach or something, I promise. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose. Here's an introduction for the uninitiated.

I won't get into more TV for now, as most shows I watch have wrapped up their seasons, but everyone should be doing their best to stay up to date with Parks and Recreation.

Finally, Vulture brings us a handy guide to summer movies in a form most of you should find familiar: F, Marry, Kill: The Summer Movie Edition. It's full of great looking movies to be released this Summer, but perhaps the most important revelation is that there is going to be a 4th Spy Kids movie! I loved the first one, when I was 11, but the last two weren't worth watching. I won't bother posting all the trailers that look good, but suffice it to say I will certainly be seeing Harry Potter, The Debt, and 30 Minutes or Less in theaters.

Here's the trailer for 30 Minutes or Less, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, and Danny McBride - a dream team of sorts. Be warned the trailer is NSFW.

There are some really great looking documentaries included in that lineup, which should serve as a reminder to take full advantage of the Michigan Theater's summer documentary series running June-August! Their Facebook page has all the details. A personal suggestion? Blood Into Wine, a documentary about Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan's winery operation, featuring a whole slew of comedians, musicians, and actors.

(Inter)national Sports

Novak Djokovic's amazing start to 2011 continues as the French Open gets underway at Roland Garros. Djoko is now 38-0 to start the year and chasing all kinds of history. Rafael Nadal has owned the clay in Paris for quite some time now, but Djokovic could be on target to knock Nadal off and claim his first French Open title. S.L. Price wrote a great piece in the latest Sports Illustrated that's worth your time. Find it here.

Michigan alum and benefactor Fred Wilpon is in the news again, this time for criticizing stars Jose Reyes, David Wright, and Carlos Beltran in the midst of the Mets' on and off the field struggles. He doesn't say anything particularly wrong, but the candor is unusual. It appears that all three stars are in play for moves elsewhere.

Last night Joakim Noah became the second high profile player caught on TV dropping a homophobic slur, and while he quickly apologized, it will always come off as hollow. The NBA will almost certainly levy a fine like they did against Kobe Bryant, but none of this addresses the larger problem that homophobic slurs are a popular component of jock culture. With the recent news that Suns CEO Rick Welts is openly gay, the issue of homophobia in the NBA and in sports culture at large has been brought to the forefront, where it should be addressed candidly. It's time to hold athletes to a standard of basic human decency, and Steve Nash appears to be leading the pack.

Though Lance Armstrong has been dogged by doping allegations his entire career in a sport notorious for widespread doping, some of the strongest allegations yet have emerged from former teammates Tyler Hamilton and George Hincappie. 60 Minutes has the video report. Lance has always enjoyed a strong defense from sports fans and the American media, and it will be interesting to see whether these overwhelmingly damning allegations can finally tarnish his record-setting image. I've always found myself rooting for Armstrong and dismissing doping rumors as the work of the jealous French, but now we're forced to confront whether former American teammates would lie about Armstrong using illegal substances.

Chelsea F.C. fired respected manager Carlo Ancelotti yesterday, despite finishing second in the English Premier League, and winning the league in 2009-10. Roman Abramovich is a madman. Meanwhile, my Arsenal limped to a pathetic finish in the EPL, going from in the running for four trophies to fourth place in the EPL in a mere couple of months. So is the wild world of international football.


Revenue sports are done for the year, and football recruiting will be the subject of dedicated posts throughout the summer. If you've been paying attention at all you should know that Brady Hoke and Co. are absolutely destroying it on the recruiting trail, and are on pace for Michigan's best recruiting class in recent memory. So that's fun.

In more somber news, Michigan was eliminated from the NCAA softball tournament yesterday after a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Kentucky that featured a 7th-inning collapse. The loss not only ends the season for Coach Hutch, but also marks the end of the historic careers of Jordan Taylor and Dorian Shaw. Big, big holes to fill next season. Recap on

Lion Kim continues to be awesome, and Michigan surged to a win at their NCAA regional to earn a place in the NCAA championships in Oklahoma. Kim shot a career-best 65 to pace Michigan. He'll go down as one of Michigan's all-time greats, and treated M fans everywhere to quite a thrill following him at the Masters. The season is far from over for Michigan, which will be looking to pull the massive upset and take down #1 Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Recap on

That's going to do it for now. Please leave feedback here, or hit me up on Twitter , and we'll see about making this a regular summer feature if people like it.

Most importantly, this thing needs a proper name if it's going to continue. Suggestions appreciated and acknowledged!

Darius Morris' correct call

Look, we were all disappointed when Darius Morris decided to venture forth into the NBA. We all knew what a great team we would've had last year. However, this is not like Manny Harris' decision to leave early. Everyone predicted Manny to be a second rounder at best, and then he ended up undrafted. However, Morris has clearly received different information. Sporting News and each have Morris all the way up to the seventeenth pick of the draft, to the New York Knicks. Meanwhile, the Hoops Report has Morris going 21st to the Trailblazers. While there are still some big mock drafts leaving Morris out of the first round (Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick for example) but the general consensus is that Morris is a first-round pick. There's still a lot of time for his stock to rise or fall, but based on the information he had come deadline time (to stay in the draft or pull out) he made the right decision based on the information available to him.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Semester Wrap Up

As I'm sure you can tell from a lack of activity over the last couple weeks, the 2010-11 WCBN Sports season has drawn to a close. We're done with official programming for the summer (though we may pop up here and there with a spring sport or a podcast), and it's been one heck of a year for the department. From the Denarding in South Bend and the Lexi Zimmerman show at Cliff Keen to the Big Chill and Big Dance, we've been there for some of the greatest Michigan moments ever. Hell, WCBN even got to broadcast a hockey national championship game. Sure there have been some lows, namely that debacle in Columbus, the Indiana Hoosier traffic management team, and flag football team Gus' Johnson's playoff loss, but on a whole we've made it to the end of another great year and have plenty to add to WCBN Sports lore.

Rest assured that we'll be discussing new ways to grow and improve the product WCBN Sports puts out, and we're hoping to come back in the Fall stronger than ever. Nothing makes us happier than knowing people are listening and enjoying our broadcasts and sports talk, and we'd all like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who supported us this past year. If you like what we do, your job now is to spread the word about WCBN Sports! This blog will be periodically updated throughout the summer, our Twitter account @WCBNSports will remain active, and we'll keep everybody informed about upcoming events, programming, etc. We love our listeners, and not only do we hope you return next season, but we also hope you bring a new listener or two into the fold. Thank you so much for all your support!

Go Blue!

WCBN Sports

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Listen: Baseball v. Illinois

Listen live as Jeff Turner covers game two of the double header against Illinois at 2:30pm EST.

Questions/Comments about the Spring Game

1. How did Rich Rodriguez completely ignore Tony Anderson for 3 years?
- I don't know what everybody else saw, but I saw somebody who (based on admittedly flimsy evidence) should have at least been given a chance last year.

2. Is the underwhelming performance by Devin Gardner a good thing?
- I don't doubt DG's ability, but one of our monster quarterback recruits watching on TV might...which could be a good thing?

3. Had the spring game referees ever seen Denard Robinson run?
- I know they're trying to protect the quarterback, but some of the times that they blew plays dead I am certain that Denard had at least 5 yards left in him.

4. It's nice to see Mattison mix up packages and move around his best player.
- Mike Martin rushing off the outside like a linebacker and forcing running backs to try to pick him up on their own was refreshing to see.

5. More Mike Cox please.
- Give that MAN the damn ball.

6. No wide receiver deserves the #1 jersey.
- Too many drops yesterday and in years past.

7. It was nice to see the shotgun.
- Yes, Michigan liked to run a lot of sets out of the Power-I on offense, but every once in a while coach Hoke catered to the talents of Denard (such as the first play of the practice) and I appreciated that.

8. Should we be worried about the fact that the first team offense looked pretty lackluster as a unit?
- I don't think so. My mathematical reasoning:
Offense that ranks 9th in yards- Steve Schilling+ new system = Probably still pretty good

9. Was the defense that good, or was the offense that bad?
- There was compromise on behalf of both parties, but I do think that this defense looked worlds better than last year.

10. Is the spring game really an accurate way to determine anything?
- No, but it sure is fun to watch.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

NCAA Hockey National Championship Michigan-Minnesota Duluth

Michigan is skating for its 10th national title in program history. The broadcast starts at 6:50 EASTERN time. Adam Brewster and Peter Saul have the call.

(Broadcasting live at )

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Michigan-North Dakota in The Frozen Four

Listen live to Adam Brewster and Peter Saul from the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Michigan takes on North Dakota at 8:20 Eastern.

Michigan-North Dakota in the Frozen Four. Broadcast starts 8:20 Eastern. (Broadcasting live at )

Saturday, March 26, 2011

LISTEN LIVE to Michigan take on Colorado College in the West Regional Championship of the NCAA Tournament. Adam Brewster and Mike Lewandowski on the call.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NCAA Hockey Tournament Preview

Ok here we go, Michigan hockey is moving on to their version of the big dance and from this point on it’s win or go home. So as I’m sure you all are way past tearing up your NCAA hoops brackets, lets see if we can’t do a little better out on the ice.

East Regional – Bridgeport, CT

Yale (1) vs. Air Force (4) – Yale managed to grab the number one overall seed, which is a little bit ridiculous to me. They dominated the ECAC this season and ran through their conference tournament outscoring opponents 22-6 and 10-0 in the ECAC final four, but the ECAC is nowhere near as deep, or maybe even as strong at the top, as the other four major conferences in college hockey and Miami, BC, and North Dakota probably would have had an even better conference record. That being said, Yale is a very good hockey team. They score over four goals per game and give up less than two. Air Force looks to be yet again overmatched, as they seem to be every time they enter the tournament, but that doesn’t necessarily count them out (see Air Force 2 Michigan 0, March 27, 2009). While Air Force has given teams some good games in the past, I don’t see it this year. Prediction: Yale 5-1

Union (2) vs. Minnesota-Duluth (3) – Union also has played very good hockey out in the ECAC, which doesn’t impress me as much as it did the committee, but they did ride an 11 game unbeaten streak to the end of the regular season and only lost twice in 2011, until Colgate. Union managed to drop the Saturday and Sunday games in their ECAC quarterfinal series to the Raiders who went 11-28-3 this year. That would have been the equivalent of Michigan losing to BGSU in our CCHA quarters. Union is still a good team but a lapse like that does not bode well having to face an opponent like Duluth. These Bulldogs have had a heart-stopping season in the WCHA going to overtime 14 times overall, 13 in conference including their last loss in the WCHA tournament to Bemidji State. The NCAA tournament fosters close games and in those that required extra time UMD went 6-2-6, a pretty good OT record. I think the experience will help them in a big game situation and that will give them the edge over Union. Prediction: UMD 4-3 in OT of course

Northeast Regional – Manchester, NH

Miami (1) vs. New Hampshire (4) – Miami is on fire. They are unbeaten since January 21 and have won their last 6 by 3 goals or more. Andy Meile is playing like a man possessed and only will lose the Hobey Baker if the college hockey conspiracy the always seems to benefit the eastern half of the sport gives it to Boston College’s Cam Atkinson, or Barry Melrose gets to pick and North Dakota’s Matt Frattin steals it. But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a one man show, Carter Camper is another Hobey Baker finalist, Riley Smith was all CCHA and the depth through the forward lines can provide scoring from everywhere. Miami is also a very physical team and at this point in the year, when players are on their last legs, the physical battle becomes a bigger factor. UNH is not necessarily a bad team either, they went 21-10-6 including a 17-6-4 mark in Hockey East and split an early season series with the Redhawks. But that was before Miami had their goaltending situation figured out. The only advantage UNH has in this game is that it is being played in their back yard. Prediction: Miami 5-1

Merrimack (2) vs. Notre Dame (3) – This is a very tough one to call. Before last weekend when Notre Dame showed its youth against Miami and looked frustrated in the third place game against the Wolverines, Merrimack looked like a great matchup for the Irish. Then at the same time Notre Dame was having an off weekend Merrimack beat UNH and made it to the Hockey East final only losing to Boston College by two and sticking with them for the whole game. Notre Dame has a lot of potential and Jeff Jackson is a fantastic hockey coach but there are a few too many kids who don’t have enough big game experience for me to trust them once they get to this point. Merrimack is in the tournament for the first time since 1988 and they will certainly be motivated to avoid the upset to the lower seeded Irish. They have shown that they can play well in the big games and won’t be going into the matchup doubting themselves after two poor performances in a conference final four. It will be a close one but I don’t think Notre Dame has it this year. Prediction: Merrimack 4-2

West Regional – St. Louis

Boston College (1) vs. Colorado College (4) – So the Eagles lost a fair bit of firepower from last year’s national championship squad but they still boast one of the best offensive records in the country at just under four goals per game. Hobey Baker candidate Cam Atkinson and his assist machine partner in crime Brian Gibbons are a one-two punch bested only by Miele and Camper. BC, as always, is all about speed. They are almost surely the fastest team in the tournament and will create so many mismatches in the offensive zone that teams will be forced to take penalties. And once you have to start trying to keep up with this team they will destroy you. CC on the other side of the ice has been up and down against high quality opponents this year, losing to Denver 4-1 before crushing them 9-2 and beating number 1 seed North Dakota 4-2 before going down 6-0 the next night to the Sioux. The Tigers are also a very big team, which does not bode well for trying to chase the Eagles up and down the ice. In short CC is just overmatched. Prediction: Boston College 5-0

Michigan (2) vs. Nebraska-Omaha (3) – The one that we all care about. Michigan is coming off a disappointing weekend at the Joe that saw them play what had to be their worst hockey of the season in a 5-2 loss at the hands of tournament bound Western Michigan, and a comforting but not overly impressive 4-2 win over Notre Dame. Shawn Hunwick didn’t play terribly in the loss but could certainly have been better and really seemed to lose his composure towards the end. It was reassuring to see him bounce back and make 42 saves against the Irish, which is his second most ever and his most in a game that didn’t go to overtime. The other major positive that the Wolverines got out of the Notre Dame game was that Louie Caporusso and Carl Hagelin each scored only 15 seconds apart; if those two players can get hot and work together well they become a scoring threat whenever they are on the ice. UNO spent a successful first season in the WCHA after leaving the CCHA last year at 21-15-2 including going 2-2 against one-seed North Dakota. Michigan split a series with the Mavericks early in the season and the two teams are within a tenth of a goal of each other in both goals against and goals for. However if you look at recent play Michigan only has one loss, albeit a bad one, in their last 10 whereas UNO are 5-5 in the same span including a sweep at the hands of Bemidji State in their first WCHA tournament series. Unless Michigan plays as poorly as they did against the Broncos, they are still the more talented team by a long shot. Prediction: Michigan 3-1

Midwest Regional – Green Bay

North Dakota (1) vs. Rensselaer (4) - In my opinion North Dakota deserved the number one overall seed in this tournament but Yale got that honor and the Sioux will have to deal with ECAC foe Rensselaer who only finished 5th in one of the weaker conferences in college hockey and were only 2-3-2 against other tournament teams, in fact the U.S. Junior team took the Engineers (yes, the Engineers) to a shootout which RPI won. North Dakota, on the other hand, did nothing but win the WCHA regular season and tournament on the back of the leading goal scorer in the NCAA, Matt Frattin. UND has the second most prolific offense in the country at 4.05 goals per game and when Frattin is on the ice there will be no one on the Rensselaer team who will be able to handle him. This should be a breeze for the Fighting Sioux. Prediction: North Dakota 5-0

Denver (2) vs. Western Michigan (3) – The most cut and dried of the 2-3 games, Western played incredibly well against Michigan and not terribly against Miami but to be honest, they benefited from a horrible Michigan performance and Miami falling asleep for a few minutes before Andy Meile felt like winning. The Broncos also had to go to a third game against Ferris State and only won that one in overtime to even get to the Joe. Denver, on the other hand, ran through their conference tournament until they ran into UND and took them to overtime in a tough loss so close to the WCHA title. How Western managed a 3 seed over New Hampshire is a little baffling to me. Prediction: Denver 4-1

So that does it for the first round, the last eight match up like this:

East Final – Yale vs. Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Final – Miami vs. Merrimack

West Final – Boston College vs. Michigan

Midwest Final – North Dakota vs. Denver

Yale (1) vs. Minnesota-Duluth (3) – This ECAC team will be a bit of a different animal for UMD. The battle of the Bulldogs favors Yale who lead the NCAA in goals for and goals against, and Duluth will most likely not get to take advantage of their wealth of close game experience. As much as I think ECAC teams are overrated, Yale will be just too strong for UMD. Prediction: Yale 4-1

Miami (1) vs. Merrimack (2) – Miami has been in the last two Frozen Fours for a reason, and when push comes to shove they know how to get it done in the big games. As long as Goalie Cody Reichard doesn’t have a major meltdown, the offensive firepower that Miami can put out will be too much for Merrimack who will be playing in their second NCAA game since the first Bush Administration. At a certain point Merrimack just won’t have it. Prediction: Miami 4-2

Boston College (1) vs. Michigan (2) – The speed of BC is what gives them an advantage over almost every team in the country, almost. Michigan’s defensive corps is probably the fastest the Eagles will have encountered and Chad Langlais, Lee Moffie, and hopefully a healthy Brandon Burlon will have to be at the top of their games; but if they are Michigan will be able to neutralize, for the most part, the BC offense. On the other half of the ice, the Wolverines will need to take advantage of the size of Chris Brown and Kevin Lynch who should be able to win any physical battle they get into. Call me a homer but for some reason I see some stellar play by Shawn Hunwick stealing this one. Prediction: Michigan 3-2

North Dakota (1) vs. Denver (2) – This is a rematch of the WCHA final which UND managed to take in double overtime on a goal from who else but Matt Frattin. That game ended 3-2, which was probably caused by both teams playing conservatively. I don’t see the tournament game going the same way. North Dakota has a very high-powered offense but Denver has already showed that they can stay with the Fighting Sioux and in this case I think it will be a race to the last goal which will be scored, once again, by Matt Frattin. Prediction: North Dakota 6-5 in OT

That gives us a Frozen Four of:

Yale vs. Miami

North Dakota vs. Michigan

Yale (1) vs. Miami (1) – This is where we find out how sub-par the ECAC really is, Yale will come into this game without having faced a real challenge in the tournament which can sometimes lead a team to come out flat in the early parts of a game, Miami won’t need anything else. That’s not to say this will be an easy win for the Redhawks, no Frozen Four games are, but if they get a lead early in this game Yale will be chasing them around the ice for the rest of the night. Camper and Miele will have been scoring all tournament, but this is when players like Pat Cannone, Alden Hirschfeld, and Justin Vaive will come up huge. Two straight Frozen Fours for these guys will give them yet another edge over the Yale squad and Miami will battle one out into the title game. Prediction: Miami 5-3

North Dakota (1) vs. Michigan (2) – Is just getting to the Frozen Four good enough for either of these teams? No. Do both teams have enough depth and leadership to handle the pressure that college hockey’s biggest stage brings? Yes. So who has the advantage? Games like this are often decided by an amazing individual effort, but in this case I think it will be decided by a lack of one. North Dakota is a very good hockey team that puts an incredible amount of emphasis on a single player in Frattin, and up until this point he has always stepped up and delivered performances that have earned him a shot at the Hobey Baker. But at some point it wears out. Coach Berenson will have a game plan ready that will totally shut down the nation’s leading goal scorer and force the Sioux to beat Michigan from other spots. I don’t think they can do it. I will admit that there is an overwhelming bias towards Michigan in these predictions but this team has a senior class that has put together a career deserving of a shot at the national title. Prediction: Michigan 2-1

So here it is, the national title coming down to two CCHA rivals that have been battling for supremacy in the Midwest for years.

Miami (1) vs. Michigan (2) – Last year’s heartbreaking loss to the Redhawks in the regional final has left a bad taste in the mouths of Michigan hockey fans for almost a year, and whether or not the Wolverines were wronged in that game is irrelevant at this point. We just want another shot at them. But take a step back and try to look at this situation through lenses that aren’t tinted with maize and blue. Two years ago Miami fans watched as one of the most epic collapses in college hockey was capped off by a shot from the point deflecting off of one of their own players pants and fluttering like a chip-shot over then-freshman Cody Reichard. The loss, in overtime, snatched away what would have been the school’s first national title. In anything. If that wasn’t enough, look at last year, when the Redhawks made an emotional run to the Frozen four yet again, fueled by the passing of their student manager Brendan Burke, only to get hit by the unstoppable force that was the BC Eagles. Now the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul is not Goggin in Oxford and Michigan fans would certainly equal the Miami faithful at the very least. And the Wolverines would certainly put up a much better performance then either of the two that they produced when being swept earlier this year. But at what point do we finally admit that as much as we hate Miami, as much as we want to hang another national title banner up at Yost, Carter Camper, Andy Miele, and Miami have earned the right to have one. It will be close, nationally title games always, but in the end Michigan will leave the ice with another year to try to get rid of a bad taste and karma will finally swing Miami’s way. Prediction: Miami 4-3 in OT

And I get to hear about it all summer from my Redhawk brother.