here's one vote for "John Beilein's head in a Futurama jar"
Michigan softball team 37 saw their first action over the weekend, breezing through an exhibition tournament in Traverse City 5-0, racking up 29 runs while allowing only 4 against CMU, WMU, and Oakland.
It sounds like Hutch was pretty happy with the team overall. I am especially encouraged by her comments regarding the pitching, as she noted that Wagner "looks strong, she looks fitter and better" and that freshman Megan Betsa looked like an immediate contributor. I stand by my view from last year that Wagner's sophmore slump was just a factor of the nagging injury, and that now that she's had time to heal from that, she'll be back to the high level of play she showed as a freshman.
There is a lot for this team to work on of course, and it will be one of the youngest teams we've seen in a while, but I think there's is tremendous potential here. With talented freshmen coming in, two returning pitchers, and a whole pile of offense including the landslide Big Ten Player of the Year award winner, we should have a great season ahead of us.
Hutch's full comments available here: http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/100113aad.html
Just a couple weeks after wrapping up another successful season (51 wins, B10 title, WCWS appearance, #6 ranking in final polls), some more good news for the softball team. Two players who will be joining the Wolverines this coming season were honored as the Gatorade Player of the Year in their respective states (Illinois & Georgia). One looks like a complete hitter, hitting for power & average very impressively, while the other looks to be another great pitcher. I'm especially excited about that, because if she produces immediately, we'll be the rare team that can throw 3 different pitchers successfully, and if it takes her a bit, she's got time to come along & play understudy to Driesenga & Wagner. The future remains bright under Carol Hutchins' guidance!
According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Michigan ranks at the top of the Big Ten for conference standings for 2012-13 (average conference finish). Minnesota's high ranking surprised me, as did MSU's low ranking (although they did not win a conference championship this year).
The author does not define "average B1G finish" but it seems to be a simple arithmetic mean. In any event, congratulations to our student athletes on their fine overall finish. Conference results below.
The tally: 1. Michigan 4.04; 2. Minnesota 4.43; 3. Ohio State 4.64; 4. Penn State 4.92; 5. Illinois 5.24; 6. Nebraska 5.57; 7. Wisconsin 6.10; 8. Indiana 6.22; 9. Northwestern 6.29; 10. Michigan State 6.83; 11. Purdue 7.35; 12. Iowa 7.58.
Today Michigan is playing Cal in the Regional Final of the Ann Arbor Regional. If Michigan wins this game, Michigan advances to the Super Regionals. If Michigan loses, Michigan and Cal play another game immediately afterwards. The game is on ESPN3.
Michigan has a chance to win as many as 4 separate conference championships on Sunday.
Men's Tennis: #23 ranked Michigan (16-8) takes on #4 ranked Ohio State (30-2) in Columbus at noon in the finals of the Big Ten tournament. Ohio State won the Big Ten regular season championship and Michigan placed third. Michigan upset second seed Minnesota Saturday, 4-3, to reach the final. Ohio State beat Michigan 4-0 last week in their only meeting this season.
Women's Tennis: #6 Michigan (21-4) takes on #15 Northwestern (17-8) in Bloomington, Indiana, also at noon in the finals of the Big Ten tournament. Michigan won the Big Ten regular season championship, Northwestern was third. Michigan beat Northwestern 4-3 in their regular season match.
Softball: #9 Michigan (40-8) takes on #20 Nebraska (35-11) in Lincoln in a regular-season matchup with the chance to clinch the Big Ten regular season championship. If Michigan wins one of its four remaining games, Michigan will clinch their 5th consecutive Big Ten regular season championship and the #1 seed in the Big Ten tournament. This game is on the Big Ten Network at 3:00 pm (tape delayed).
Water Polo: #18 Michigan (20-13) hosts #11 Princeton (25-5) in the championship of the CWPA Eastern Conference at Canham Natatorium at 4:30 pm, with an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament (and at least 25 points in the Directors Cup) at stake. #4 seed Michigan upset #1 seed Indiana 6-5 on Saturday to reach the championship. #2 seed Princeton is the defending CWPA Eastern champion. Tickets are $10 for the general public and are free for students with a valid M Card.
Down two going into the 6th the ladies score 3 to take the lead. Sparty comes back with 4 in their half. Two HRs in the seventh tie it up and a run in the 8th gives the Wolverines the sweep.