ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS OF EDITORIAL FREEDOM
Monday, April 2, 2018
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Michigan advances to national championship
incredible. Tough to guard. And their big man does an incredible job down there as a freshman. So we had to cover that somehow defensively. “And I tried to do my job, tried not to foul and stay solid, build walls and grab rebounds. And it worked out.” The second half began as a mirror opposite to the previous half. Michigan and Loyola exchanged baskets, with the Wolverines unable to carve into the deficit. Then Wagner went to work. He continued his impressive play with a dunk to open Michigan’s scoring and two steals from telegraphed passes that led to baskets. But this time, Wagner was no longer the only life raft in the Wolverines’ 17-2 run. Fifth-year senior point guard Jaaron Simmons hit a corner trey — his first since the first round matchup against Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament. Then freshman guard Jordan Poole, who played just two minutes against Florida State in the Elite Eight, drove to the hoop for an unexpected two points. Fifth-year senior forward Duncan Robinson followed with a long 3-pointer. The Wolverines were down just three points with building momentum. “I just knew it, it had that feeling,” AbdurRahkman said. “One of these times down we were gonna get a stop, turn it into offense and keep going and going. We just needed that spark plug.” And the run that Michigan needed so badly became legitimate. Down 47-44 with 6:05 remaining, Wagner calmly corralled a low-post pass, dribbled to the corner and knocked down a triple. Tie game. Wagner’s villainy wasn’t finished, of course. He had his and-one putback and his flex — an exclamation point on the best game of his life. “I mean, 24 and 15 — If I need to explain anything more than that, it’s a problem,” Simpson said. “That’s what a leader does.” A poster reading “Bye Bye Sista” — a dig at Loyola’s team chaplain and media sensation, Sister Jean — flashed to the camera. The Wolverines’ stout defense made sure it really was goodbye. “They did what great teams do,” said Ramblers coach Porter Moser. “They capitalized on that run where we made six turnovers in a row.” It was enough to put Cinderella — or whoever they are, if you’re Beilein — to bed and secure a spot in the championship. Maybe you could go back to March 17 and credit Poole’s buzzer-beater against Houston to Michigan’s success. But when the Wolverines had to show up, they did. It’s equally plausible that they were meant to be here the whole time. “I feel like we’ve kinda controlled the games we’ve played in,” Robinson said. “I don’t think it’s an accident that we’re here. We’re playing well at the right time.” But it doesn’t matter how it happened — they made it to the biggest stage in college basketball. You don’t get there with just luck.
ETHAN WOLFE Daily Sports Editor SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Down 10 with 14 minutes to go, John Beilein scooped his jawline and paced the sidelines with his head down, overlooking his bench. What happened to his team? He knew not to take No. 11-seeded LoyolaChicago lightly. In his eyes, the Ramblers weren’t a Cinderella anymore after they made it to the Sweet Sixteen two weeks ago. But his Wolverines? After all they’d been through, they weren’t supposed to be down double-digits, struggling to buy a bucket in the Final Four. “We’re not like that where we can go and just school anybody,” Beilein said. “We’ve got really good players, don’t get me wrong, but every team that’s playing right now is playing because they play great defense.” It wasn’t until eight minutes later that Moritz Wagner converted a putback and-one and flexed his muscles towards his bench that Beilein griped at. What happened to his team? Wagner’s and-one — three of his 24 total points, and one of his 15 total rebounds — was the nightcap to a 17-2 run and a 53-47 lead. It was as good of a spurt as they’ve had all year. That is what a Beilein-led, March team looks like. It’s a resiliency that found its footing and persisted. Michigan (33-7 overall) willed its way over Loyola (32-6) in front of nearly 70,000 people at the Alamodome, 69-57. What once seemed an impossibility is now reality — the Wolverines are playing in the National Championship against Villanova on Monday. The high stakes of the contest — and the nerves coupled with it — were evident from the get-go. By the under-eight media timeout in the first half, sophomore point guard Zavier Simpson, who has a 2.69 assist-turnover ratio, coughed it up three times without scoring. Abdur-Rahkman — who finished 2-for-11 — also felt the pressure, forcing up seven errant, unfruitful attempts in the first half. Their efforts headlined one of the Wolverines worst first half outputs of the season. “We had eight turnovers in the first half. We were one (assist) and eight,” Beilein said. “I don’t think you’ve ever seen one of our teams ever be one assist to eight turnovers. … We had to adjust to how quickly they were rotating to some of our action, because they were switching so much.” Wagner and redshirt sophomore Charles Matthews were the lone Wolverines to impress in the first 20 minutes. Wagner was nearly unstoppable on the boards, collecting a double-double at the 3:08 mark of the first frame. Matthews’ eight points and four rebounds also made up for an otherwiseabysmal 9-for-31 first-half display by Michigan. The Ramblers were able to capitalize marginally through center Cameron Krutwig, who met Wagner in kind. Krutwig bullied his way for eight of his 17 total points in the paint in the first half. His performance highlighted the Ramblers’ quiet 10-for-24 first-half shooting performance from the field, as well as 9-for-10 from the free throw line. The defensive dogfight, a 29-22 halftime advantage for Loyola, was a snoozer with a Final Four sticker slapped on top of it. “I knew they were trying to punch us,” Wagner said. “First of all, you’ve got to give them a lot of credit; their set plays are
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NEWS.........................2 OPINION.....................4 ARTS......................6
SUDOKU.....................2 CLASSIFIEDS...............6 SPORTS....................1B
2A — Monday, April 2, 2018
MONDAY: On The Daily
TUESDAY: By Design
WEDNESDAY: This Week in History
describes a scene of mass rejoicing and unity as students and fans gathered to chant U-M sayings such as, “Who’s got it better than us?” and, “It’s great to be a Wolverine!” “All the cars were honking, people were just running, people were screaming one thing or another,” Finkel said. “On the corner of South U. and Church, right under the street light, there must have been maybe 300, 400 students chanting the usual chants.” According to a Detroit News article, there were four arrests for disorderly conduct as well as a trashcan and couch fire, which prompted the arrival of the Ann Arbor Fire Department. However, on-duty Ann Arbor Police officers said the couch fire was extinguished before the fire department arrived. Despite the several arrests and brief fires, the Ann Arbor Police Department sent a tweet out around 10:30 p.m. Saturday night thanking the Ann Arbor community for
THURSDAY: Twitter Talk
FRIDAY: Behind the Story
W O LV E R I N E W E L C O M E
ON THE DAILY: WILD YET MILD In the immediate minutes after the Michigan men’s basketball team claimed its spot in the NCAA Championship game after beating Loyola University Chicago Saturday night, hundreds of University of Michigan students and fans flooded the intersection of South University Avenue and Church Street to celebrate. LSA junior Mikayla Easley was at Garage Bar watching the game with friends when the Wolverines won. After the game ended, she and her friends, along with many patrons of Garage Bar and other nearby bars, headed to the streets to celebrate. “After we won, everybody at Garage Bar poured out of Garage and just into the streets, and everyone from Rick’s was pouring out, Charley’s, Cantina was pouring out and just running to the center where Church (St.) is,” Easley said. LSA sophomore Jack Finkel was headed to Pizza House on Church St. to celebrate after watching the game at home with his friends. He
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celebrating responsibly. Easley said the gathering was very orderly and after most of the fans had left the area, she saw people picking up trash from the streets. “It was very much a celebrating thing — no one was angry at anybody,” Easley said. LSA sophomore Taylor King echoed Easley’s statements and described how proud she felt to be a Wolverine on Saturday night. King was present during the celebrations in the streets, but she said despite the excitement and moments of chaos, fans knew how to celebrate but remain in control at the same time. “I was expecting people to be a lot crazier than they were,” King said. “Like I know people were climbing light poles and other people’s shoulders, but compared to how other schools have done it, I think we did a pretty good job. We know how to rage, but not destroy the whole town.”
MAX KUANG/Daily Tariq Mekkaoui, Abbas Alhassan, Sally Kafelghazal, Arwa Gayar, Reema Kaakarli, Miretti Habib speak on a panel at Arab and Latinx Wolverine Day Friday.
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MomentUM appeals Central Student Judiciary Decision, delays certification of election results on the grounds that the UEC really any case,” Allen said. issued its decision outside “But the ability to drop has Daily News Editor the 36-hour time frame been taken out of our hands, following a hearing. Koziara and at this point the election said MomentUM argued the director is defending his own Incoming Central Student Government representatives 36 hours should have begun decision.” Representatives of at 9:15 p.m. on March 26, after may not be able to officially declined to the UEC heard MVision vs. MomentUM gather until a week or more Nwansi. But Koziara argued provide comment before the after their intended first the 36 hours began at 1:00 a.m. case was resolved. meeting April 3 due to pending Incoming CSG President on March 27, after all cases election litigation that had been heard. MomentUM Daniel Greene, a Public prevents the certification of election results. is also challenging the UEC’s Policy junior and member issuance of a preliminary of MVision, said while he The case in question order ahead of a full opinion, respected MomentUM’s and is MVision’s allegations against Engineering junior which Koziara said they had Nwansi’s right to due process, Michael Nwansi, the elected to do because they also had to he was concerned about the MomentUM Engineering rule on a number of “frivolous” consequences of not being able to convene the new assembly cases. representative. MVision “MomentUM was one of the until April 10 or later. reportedly observed and “It’s now a weird –– I don’t parties that brought a lot of photographed Nwansi want to say unprecedented, cases right before the deadline, inf luencing a student while Sudoku Syndication http://sudokusyndication.com/sudoku/generator/print/ so it’s funny that they’re but an abnormal situation voting in the CSG election, complaining that we didn’t because the seventh assembly, a violation of CSG’s election get them their full opinion or the individuals who served within 36 hours when all this past semester, were told of their complaints that that last Tuesday was their they brought were part last meeting,” Greene said. of the reason we were so “So what’s really happening HARD swamped with work,” is that this case pending will likely result in CSG not having Koziara said. In an email to several quorum on Tuesday, rendering members of the current it ineffective and unable to CSG executive board, take any actions.” Greene said the appeal Koziara emphasized MomentUM was “free to delays his official confirmation withdraw their appeal at along with the nomination and any time,” which would confirmation of other CSG allow the UEC to certify executives, meaning he can’t election results and meaningfully reach out to expedite the transition student organizations. “Unfortunately, the student process for the next CSG buy-in and willingness to assembly. Law student Tom Allen, meet, considering upcoming who is serving as counsel finals, is different from just to MVision, said because the candidate who won versus the case has been appealed Central Student Government to the CSJ, MVision no formally reaching out to longer had the option to student organizations, and I’d prefer to use CSG executive drop the case themselves. “Although we definitely resources in terms of the stand by the decision, listserv information and the just in terms of getting contact people, which I can’t © sudokusolver.com. For personal use only. GO BLUE puzzle by sudokusyndication.com the assembly in as soon get until the official transition as possible is of a much begins,” he said. higher interest to us than Generate and solve Sudoku, Super Sudoku and Godoku puzzles at sudokusyndication.com! ANDREW HIYAMA
code. In a written decision dated March 28, the University Elections Commission ruled against Nwansi and MomentUM, issuing Nwansi four demerits and the MomentUM party one demerit, reducing Nwansi’s vote count by 12 percent and MomentUM’s vote count by three percent. According to CSG Election Director Brian Koziara, a law student, the demerits would cost Nwansi the seat he won, though the runner-up is also a member of MomentUM. Koziara said the one demerit issued to MomentUM would not affect any other representatives. MomentUM is now appealing the decision to the Central Student Judiciary
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Combating the Monolith: Part III PRIYA JUDGE
Assistant MiC Editor
This is part three of a series showcasing underrepresented narratives within the Asian/ Pacific Islander-American community. Kai Mason is a junior majoring in English on a pre-law track. On campus, she is the president of the University of Michigan Slam Poetry and creative director of ROGUE, a fashion publication working to bring social, economic and environmental consciousness into fashion. Follow ROGUE on Instagram (@reallyrogue) or contact Kai at kaimason@umich. edu. The Michigan Daily: Tell me a little about your family history. Mason: My mom and dad are both immigrants. My mom came here from Japan for graduate school. My dad came here from Jamaica when he was six. They met at a café. I grew up with a really strong influence by my mom, who was a Japanese teach er at both American and Japanese schools. She really pressed our Japanese side on us, and we went to Japanese school every Saturday and school in Japan every summer. We didn’t really get a chance to learn about Jamaican culture from my dad. I still identify as both Black and Asian, though, because I was always the “other” wherever I was. I was very aware of the fact that I didn’t look like everyone else or live like everybody else. So I identify as both; I usually tell people that I’m half-Japanese and half-Jamaican. TMD: How has your perception of your identity as an A/PIA shifted over the course of your life? Mason: I grew up in very white environments, so until about first grade, I really believed I was white. In first grade, though, we were learning about Martin Luther King Jr. and someone said, “If it weren’t for MLK, Kai wouldn’t be here.” I was so confused, because even though I knew that I was a different color than everyone else, I didn’t think
anyone else noticed. It was also around this time that whenever I went to Japan, people would ask me if I was (a Black person). I didn’t know what this word meant at the time, so I would say that I didn’t know. In middle school, my school’s friend groups were very segregated by race. The white kids hung out with each other, and the Black kids hung out with each other. There weren’t many Asian kids, but the ones we had were absorbed into the white kids. I started feeling really conflicted about where to go — was I more Black, or more Asian? I ended up hanging out with white people, because that’s who I felt the most at home with.w One day, I just had a random epiphany: I wasn’t more of one thing than another — I was both at the same time. I could create my identity, and I could be whatever I wanted to be. I was reading a lot of books by mixed authors at this time — my mom had this book called “Half and Half”, which was an anthology of short stories by mixed writers. I was also reading “The Color of Water”. I think this really helped me, because until then, I had never read anything by mixed people about being mixed. I didn’t know that other people could relate to my experiences. TMD: Among these experiences of grappling with your identity, how have you found ways to celebrate who you are? Mason: I can get caught up in the social justice aspect of my identity sometimes, but it has been so cool to be able to live multiple cultures. Who gets all of the opportunities that I have? Who has my mom and my dad? That’s the first thing that people usually say, like, “Wow, that’s so cool,” and it is! It’s really easy to forget how fun it has been. I’m also so thankful for how close these experiences have made me to my brother. He’s the person I can most closely identify with, since we grew up experiencing the same things in (and in-between) the same communities. We talk a lot about our identities, and I’m so glad to
have him. If I were alone in this, it would be a lot tougher. It’s also really cool how close you get with people who understand you. I’m so close with the mixed people in JSA (Japan Student Organization) because we get it. Yeah, I’m just really thankful for how cool life has been. TMD: Earlier, you mentioned being asked about your identity in Japan. As you move about the world, how do you feel like other people might label you at first glance? Mason: It really depends on the person — everyone but Black people think I’m just Black. They’re not wrong — I am Black, but I’m also Asian. They’re both huge parts of my identity that you can’t factor out, and I especially can never factor out. But I think a lot of Black people know that I’m mixed. They’re like, “Oh, are you mixed Asian?” TMD: Do you think that has affected your relationship with the larger A/PIA community on campus? Mason: I don’t really know, actually. I know that it has definitely affected the way that I perceive myself and others, but I don’t know if it really affects my relationship with the community because that’s always been my relationship with the community. It’s really exhausting, but I’m so used to Asian people being like, “Oh, why are you so good at Japanese?” Every time I meet a new Japanese person, I have to give them my whole life story, like, “So, I actually am Japanese.” I grew up speaking Japanese — it’s my first language — but every time I meet a new person, I have to explain myself. I don’t think that has happened as much here as it does in Japan. The U.S. is a lot less homogeneous than Japan, so people understand more quickly and are more open to the idea of multiculturalism. In Japan, I could tell people my entire life story and they still could reply to me in English, because they cannot get over the fact that
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Boricua con tinta de gringa NATALIA SANCHEZ MiC Contributorw
Báñame en acetona y píntame trigueña porque con mi apariencia parezco todo menos puertorriqueña. Tengo el cabello lacio y la piel tan blanca que no importa cuánto me queme el sol, se nota en mis entrañas. No me criaron en el campo
y he tenido el privilegio de ser privilegiada, pero solo porque no hablo como el jíbaro no significa que no amo a mi patria. Pero esa es la magia, ¿no crees? De la raza más diversa del mundo. Aquí todos somos diferentes, de Condado hasta más allá del jurutungo. Lo que nos une es el amor, La furia, el fuego, la pasión, Que nos hace cantar como el ruiseñor Cuando hablamos de nuestro Borinquen encantador.
Monday, April 2, 2018 — 3A
Show love to America’s immigrants NADA ELDAWY MiC Contributor
I knew the Pledge of Allegiance before I knew my own parents’ names. In fact, I have a distinct memory of a smug kindergartener testing me, asking what their names were. She snickered when I bashfully replied, “Mommy and Daddy?” I’m sure if it was capable, my tan face would have turned bright red. Despite my embarrassing lack of knowledge about my family, you could ask me to recite the preamble of the U.S. Constitution and I would chant it verbatim to the tune of a Schoolhouse Rock song. When I was in first grade, my sister was the only third grader moved to tears during our school play while singing “This Land is My Land” to a montage of veterans’ homecomings. I knew then nobody loved this country as much as we, as immigrants, did. Then we moved to Florida, and it was abundantly clearer to me this love was unrequited. In second grade, my sister and I were on the bus to the YMCA after school when we were asked if we were Christian. When we replied that we were Muslim, my classmate conspiratorially informed us that we were going — here he paused dramatically, so I will too — “down there,” whispering and pointing to the ground like the fact that we were going to hell was the world’s most obvious truth. In third grade, I was delighted to be in with the cool kids. The most popular boy in class even graced me with an inside joke. We would bond over our shared love of Harry Potter, and he would greet me with a, “Look out, she’s got an AK-47 in her pocket!” and a boisterous laugh. I had no idea what an AK-47
was and at the time I only had the vaguest concept of 9/11, so I would giggle along with him, thinking nothing of it. In fourth grade, a new girl joined our class, and from the second I saw her, we had a connection. I saw her tan skin like black tea in a sea of milk and I latched onto this girl whose darkness mirrored mine. We were delighted when people asked if we were twins, and it didn’t even occur to us this question was rooted in a racist veil that couldn’t distinguish between our different ethnicities, features and colorations and instead only saw “Brown.” In fifth grade, I was on my way home from Egypt with my mom and my sister, running to get through customs to catch our connecting flight. At this point, I was unfazed by the disgusted gaze of onlookers as my mom frantically directed us in Arabic because I had experienced the same look in grocery stores as she walked silently, shoppers grimacing at the sight of her hijab alone. However, up until that point, I truly had more faith in authority figures. My mom walked up to one of the TSA agents in charge and made our case that we had less than an hour to get to our gate, asking if there was anything he could do — just as we had seen another family ask. He had given her an obvious onceover and promptly directed us to another line leading into a separate room. Our relief at the five-person line was short lived as we noticed that there was an obvious demographic in this alternate room of other Brown people in turbans and cultural identifiers. The TSA agent forcefully told my mother not to touch the bags, saying my scrawny sister and I could carry the bags from our monthlong trip onto a table almost as
tall as I was. Our bag had been thoroughly examined, each article of clothing scrutinized and our souvenirs confiscated. We left the room later than people behind us in the first line, and my fifth-grade self felt naked, violated and close to tears. I could go through every year of my life with a traumatic incident, concluding how I came to terms with racism and learned to not let it affect me. I could say I learned to laugh in the face of ignorance and racist people around me were rendered speechless by the American confidence that oozed red, white and blue with every step I took and word I spoke. But that isn’t the truth. I was so scared of becoming the scary Arab-Muslim everyone feared that I lost myself, retreating into a shell of a person who hid her culture and religion and felt the constant need to reaffirm her Americanness, to prove her patriotism. I’m here now to say that I am an angry Arab. I’m angry my best friend in elementary school recommended a skin lightening cream to me, and I’m angry I begged my mom to buy it for me. I’m angry I was so obsessed with being fully American that I never had the chance to speak to my grandmother in Arabic before she passed. I’m angry a woman in our small town took off her head scarf because she didn’t want her kid to be bullied at school. I’m angry I was never taught to feel beautiful with my dark skin and darker body hair. Most of all, I’m angry I felt the need to prove myself to a country that I never made prove itself to me. I was taught as the daughter of immigrants to love America, and I think it’s about time America showed love to its immigrants.
4A — Monday, April 2, 2018
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A few words on crosswords
his year I started doing the New York Times Daily Crossword puzzle. Little did I know, this game would become a huge part of my everyday routine. If you would’ve asked me what a crossword was a year ago, I probably wouldn’t have been able to give you a concise answer. I would have told you that my dad completes them wearing his reading glasses, sitting at the kitchen table, pen held high, fixated on clues at hand. But now, my daily crossword elicits the same kind of excitement as seeing a puppy on the Diag. This sounds like the nerdiest thing, right? If you answered yes, you are definitely correct. But crosswords, like most activities that become central in one’s life, have allowed me to embrace the nontraditional aspects of passion. In defense of crosswords, they are extremely applicable to current events. Clues range from categories like politicians to animals to sports. The diverse range of questions expose me to a much wider base of knowledge. I have a theory that every time you are presented with a new piece of information, you become a smarter and more wellrounded individual. Solving the answer to one clue might not seem like you are on track to become a genius. But over time, this new information becomes extremely valuable. On Mondays, the puzzles are the shortest and easiest. As the week progresses, the clues get increasingly longer and more difficult. As a very, very untalented — but motivated — crossword solver, it takes me hours to get through the Monday crossword (compared to my dad, for example, who usually solves the puzzle in 15 minutes). Tuesday and Wednesday usually offer me a 50 percent success rate, but after that it is a lost cause. Nonetheless, perseverance is the name of the crossword
game: There is always value in an attempt to solve the hardest puzzles. One of the most rewarding experiences is opening the extremely daunting Sunday crossword puzzle and being able to solve a few of the clues. I may spend 30 minutes scanning the clues, willing my mind to pull out phrases and names buried in my mental archive. When you finally reach a eureka moment, not only do you feel like a puzzle genius, but you are able to complete something that represents an underlying challenge and test of mental application.
Crosswords offer the opportunity to engage with and accept help from others. In addition to the pure enjoyment I take in solving crossword puzzles, I have beg un to recognize how they represent my freshman-year experience at the University. I have encountered difficulty and reward. I have challenged my abilities as a critical thinker, grown as a learner and, most importantly, embraced my passions. Economics 101 presents itself as an obstacle, but perseverance got me through the semester. I have had the opportunity to engage and learn from my peers, who either challenge or support my beliefs. And I recognize that as unconventional as solving a crossword for pleasure may appear, life is about embracing what makes you happy. Crosswords offer the opportunity to engage with and accept help from others. My roommate, for example, always knows the science
questions. My friends from political science class can help with the political questions, and my parents are always willing to give me answers with old movie and song titles. This is a nontraditional mindset to the crossword: using those around you to answer specific questions. But it has beg un to help me engage and connect with groups of people and their specialized knowledge bases. Getting an answer is even more rewarding when you are able to work with your incredibly smart peers. In the beginning of my crossword experience, I was often met with a chuckle and sly smile from my friends: Was I an 80-year-old who had nothing else to do? But as I remained committed to my activity, these reactions were transformed into mild interest and eventual engagement in the crossword world. Passions and interests are f luid—they are subjective and often situational. I don’t deny the fact that I am a quirky person, but it has taken time to embrace these characteristics. In college, I have been able to grow and accept the fact that I enjoy a pastime that could be considered a little peculiar. But my outward passion and engagement with crosswords has spread to those around me. I am no longer met with eyerolls from my friends, and instead they turn to me for help on their Sunday crosswords, too. Life is about discovering your passions and sticking to them. Hearing others talk about what they love can empower you to recognize what you truly care about. And now I know at the end of a long day, when I am still unable to remember the answer to “What is the powerhouse of the cell,” my roommate will always be there to respond “Mitochondria.”
NATALIE BROWN | CONTACT CARTOONIST AT NGBROWN@UMICH.EDU
Julia Cohn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Busy and blessed
t is Wednesday night and I am crawling into bed after yet another busy day. I have class from 11am to 7pm with a lunch break in the middle and practice shortly after, which then lasts until 11pm. I come home, shower, find some food, finish (or start) my homework and before I know it, it’s 3 a.m. again. I look at my schedule for tomorrow and it isn’t any better. Between classes, different meetings, a doctor’s appointment and lifting times, I’m not entirely sure if I will even have time to eat, so I jump out of bed and throw a couple extra granola bars and a fruit pack into my backpack. As I lay back down in bed, I think. I think of the four different papers I have due this week and about how I’m going to write them. I think about how badly I need to vacuum and how I’m down to my last pair of clean socks. I think about writing this article. And I think about how lucky I am to be so terrifically busy. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a common thought. Usually I go to bed thinking about how much I hate school and doing chores and just general adulting. I tell myself the same “poor me” story, hoping to find comfort in my excuses. But tonight I have this foreign sense of optimism and I think I like it. I think I need to go to bed less often with that “poor me” attitude and more often with the knowledge that I am blessed beyond compare. Every day, I am able to eat all the food I need and sleep
just enough (I haven’t quite succumbed to sleep deprivation yet). I am currently receiving one of the best educations in the world. I have many good friends by my side and man’s best friend curled up at my feet. I have a family who loves me
We fail to acknowledge how lucky we all are in our own right. and a roof over my head. Meanwhile, every day, people are dying from starvation, about 21,000 to be exact. Most of the world’s population is unable to even attend college and, in fact, in 2010 only 6.7 percent actually hold a degree of any kind. As I sit in bed with the furnace on (set to 63 degrees Fahrenheit because I don’t like paying bills), more than 100 million people are sleeping outside because they don’t have a place to call home. Yes, I do indeed have a good life. I don’t have a nice car—mine is actually held together by duct tape,—but I do have a car. I don’t have a nice house, my living room floor is caving in and there is a wonderful draft through the whole house, but I do have a place to live. I don’t go to the single best school in the world but it’s pretty damn close
and there is no other school I’d rather attend. When I am done with school, I will be joining a rather elite 7 percent of the world’s populace. Because I am just too damn lucky. Some say, “You aren’t lucky, you make lucky.” I love and agree with this saying, but only to an extent. Yes, I had to work hard and continue to do so every day. Yes, I have had to make many sacrifices to get where I am, but none of this would be possible without all the good fortune and blessings I have had so far. I was lucky enough to be born in the United States (or any developed country), to start. I was lucky enough to have access to every person and program that was able and willing to help take care of me when I needed it. And I was lucky enough to have friends and family that support me through own journey of adulthood. Too often, we get too caught up in our own lives, too caught up in the daily race to the top. We are too busy trying to satisfy our own selfish wants and needs that we never stop to appreciate where we are and how far we have come. We fail to acknowledge how lucky we all are in our own right. I’m not saying we should cease to be hungry for more and stop reaching for greater heights, I’m only saying we should stop to realize how truly blessed each and every one of us really is. Lucas Dean can be reached at email@example.com.
MOHAMED ADAM MOHAMED AZLAN | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
earning a new language is not easy, and as a consequence neither are its courses. Mathematics and the sciences are also languages, and language is something that one can never be fully fluent in, even for native speakers, who occasionally err orthographically and grammatically. As a math major who speaks six languages and is fluent in four out of six, I may easily assert that with learning a language comes an expectation to put in a considerable and consistent amount of time and effort into gaining something fruitful out of it. Having taken the entire French sequence at the University of Michigan with only a year of studying the
language before college, I used to perceive the grading for these French courses as stringent, and the workload only exacerbated my anguish. However, upon taking Asian language and German courses I realized how erroneous I was. Language courses are difficult, though there are certain aspects of the language (such as pronunciation, three genders for nouns, or a completely different character system) that differentiates difficulty. Additionally, points are deducted for seemingly trivial faults, but with good intention and the end goal of facilitating a strong language foundation, which I now greatly appreciate. The rigor of these and other courses make quotidian college
life hard. However, we consent to the schedules that we construct and should be accountable and responsible to meet them. As already mentioned by language instructors at the beginning of the semester, course expectations should be taken with a grain of salt since the required time to finish an assignment and learn a new concept is relative for each student. The “A” grade that a student receives is thus not contingent upon whether the student is “better” at French but upon the amount of effort and determination put in to make as few errors as possible
Mohamed Adam Mohamed Azlan is an LSA Senior
SABEEN KHAN | OP-ED
Confessions of an MVision rep
few weeks ago, when I was sitting in bed and I recieved the email from MVision offering me a position to run as a representative candidate with them, I was truly overjoyed. I felt that everything that I had worked so hard on this year was building and that good things would be coming my way. I was proud to be a part of something that was not only a campaign, but also a message to the people on this campus. I am so glad I accepted that offer and that I am writing now as an elected representative. I want nothing more than what Daniel and Izzy want: to bring communities together to solve common ground issues. However, the criticism, backlash and negativity surrounding the campaign and my identity as a Pakistani-Muslim has left me shattered. I have been called a token and have become both the ammunition and the target for people in their never-ending fight against the winners of the CSG election. I am not a token. Calling me a token de-legitimizes all of the work I did on this campaign. My achievements have been invalidated as a person of color. On this campaign, my identity was never used to promote the platform or target voters. I was treated just as every other person on this team was, and I worked hard to win my seat in this assembly. I was asked to join this party because I am highly qualified, extremely passionate, and very hard working. That is also why our
message resonated with the student body andI won my seat. I am not a diversion. I am a woman with thoughts and opinions. Claiming that my purpose on this campaign was to assuage concerns of Muslim representation in CSG diverts attention from important causes we need to talk about, like building bridges between communities that haven’t found compromises and providing more access to mental health and survivor resources. We should always strive to have diverse representation in CSG and this party has only attempted to begin achieving this goal by creating a team
Calling me a token de-legitimizes all of the work I did on this campaign.
both predominantly diverse and comprised of powerful women representing many visible and invisible identities. While CSG has a long way to go, as does the community, my election is a start, but I can assure you it is not the end. I will always fight for more representation and support of those of all communities and backgrounds because all of our voices deserve to be heard. As a woman and a person of color I
can understand how frustrating it is to feel underrepresented, especially after making strides in a community. I applaud those who stand up for their communities and continue to promote inclusivity and representation. I am not going to back down. In dealing with criticism from both sides I have been attacked and tormented by strangers and peers. I encourage people to use their voices not only critically but effectively. Daniel, Izzy, and I have been elected, and we promise to serve you and work with you to enact the change you wish to see on campus. As one of your elected representatives, I want to work with you to act to make productive change. We concede that, like every other campaign that ran in this election, there are things MVision could have done better. However, we were voted into office because students believed in us and our message. Nothing can change the results of the election, but we can change the culture on campus into one that ensures every person is heard and supported. I invite you to criticize. I invite you to complain. But I invite you to do it in a way that pushes us forward. In a way that works with us, and not against us. As a constituent you are responsible for what happens next in our community. I can assure you that our MVision family wants to help you make it a better one.
Sabeen Khan is an LSA Freshman
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
Monday, April 2, 2018 — 5A
The absurdism in ‘The Death of Abbie Hoffman’ ANDREA PÈREZ Daily Arts Writer
Picture a Friday night on North Campus. It is early spring, not yet warm enough to have an enjoyable walk from one place to another. I see two couples running late to the show. The men take advantage of their longer legs to make swift, long strides in the direction of the auditorium. The women, following close behind, visibly let out a breath of relief when they entered the building. The doors to the studio where the play was to take place were still closed due to technical difficulties. They were not late after all. The studio was small, and the set up was unusual. Instead of encountering the elevated stage and staggered, ascending seating typical of theatre, the two couples were met by a semi-empty room with a few platforms of various heights in the middle, more resembling a dance studio than anything else. Based on Indian street theatre and written by an Indian playwright, Rana Bose, “The Death of Abbie Hoffman” is supposed to evoke a feeling of inclusiveness and informality between the audience and the actors by breaking the stereotypical roles in which they both normally reside. Having expected something else when they entered the room, the couples looked confused when the ushers quickly directed them to sit on the platforms, which were already partly filled by actors. Soon after, the lights unexpectedly went off and the actors stood and started speedily
walking around the platforms. “Consensus,” they yelled. “Consensus. Consensus. Consensus,” and nothing else. Someone died in the play, and nobody noticed. “She dies every day,” the actors said. “A girl named Nina dies every day, and nobody notices.” As for the couples and the rest of the audience, myself included, it was hard to keep up with the action of the play. Heads were turning as fast as possible, but the actors never stopped. They ran, they danced, they screamed, they stood. The platforms were not comfortable to sit on, and there was a constant awareness of the actors, as well as an inevitable and natural reluctance to make eye contact with them. What will they do next? Where are they? Why did they just hand me a water bottle? Minds were racing as the audience tried to decipher the connections between characters and scenes. The platforms we sat on were getting more and more uncomfortable by the minute, but the frustration kept anyone from moving. This was not the experience we were expecting. We could see the actors’ calloused feet and feel their breath as they ran past us on the stage. This unorthodox setting made some of the audience members feel uncomfortable, as it wasn’t what they had encoded in their minds for a night at the theatre. Everyone expected to be a passive member of the audience, but this wasn’t the case. The actors never stop dancing, singing or running while looking to or engaging with the audience
in some way. However, every song or line they recited, even though unrecognizable, had a hint of familiarity within it. At one point, they broke into a song, which the audience recognized as “Hey Jude,” but we looked at each other, puzzled. The words weren’t correct. They sang about Donald Trump and campus climate. “Hey Jude” sounded more like, “Hey dude, have you read the news lately?” All the actors did was take something familiar and turn it upside down. There were hints of familiarity in all of the lines, but no line ultimately formed a coherent sentence, no scene formed a coherent plot and no character formed a coherent relationship. However, themes of social change, revolutions, generational conflicts and activism were present throughout the play. Roles of actor and audience were broken, as well as expectations for a play. Rising action, climax and resolution were replaced by nonsensical songs and lines that ultimately added up to a bigger theme. The ’60s are dead. Protests are dead. We go to plays to be entertained. We read the news to be validated. We are deaf. Nobody is murdered. Nobody disagrees. Theatre can be used for change, but it is used for assimilation. “This is the end, folks. Have a nice weekend,” the actors said as they clapped for themselves. The actors stood up and walked away from the room, leaving the audience wide-eyed and silent. Nothing had ever been more unclear. Who is Abbie Hoffman anyway?
Poetry Playlist: Winning the Big Game In the middle of spring celebrations — religious, athletic or otherwise — poetry brings multitudinous notes of happiness A lot of people spent this past weekend celebrating something. There was Passover and then Easter, either of which you might have gone home for if you’re lucky enough to live close to Ann Arbor. Either way, and even if you don’t observe these holidays, there was one event this weekend that swept the entire University as cause for celebration: We beat Loyola! The basketball team is now on its way to the national championship, so since we’re due for a new Poetry Playlist, this one is going to follow the theme of celebration. I tried to track down some poems that feature outpourings of positive emotion and some that involve a quieter sense of happiness, so there should be a little something for everybody. And if you’re not celebrating basketball or Easter or Passover, then you can either take this moment to celebrate something else (You exist! School is nearly out! It’s springtime and soon you’ll be able to walk around outside in a tee shirt!) or you can skip this list altogether and find something sadder to read. “Song,” by Muriel Rukeyser If this poem doesn’t make you want to read every single thing Muriel Rukeyser has ever written, then I don’t know what will. “Make and be eaten. Lie in the arms of nightlong fire.” Rukeyser was known for her poetry and her political activism, both of which often
centered on themes of feminism, social justice and Judaism. This is one of those poems where the diction itself is so electric that it demands the reader’s attention right out of the gate. “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude,” by Ross Gay Ross Gay, one of the biggest names in current Midwestern
LAURA DZUBAY poetry, is probably the king of poetic celebration. It would have been impossible to make a list like this without him. Once, a group of friends and I spent a night at a remote cabin for a makeshift writers’ retreat, and one friend read this poem aloud to the whole table over breakfast the next morning. There are few better ways to start the day, and I’d recommend trying it out, particularly on a day when there’s something extra to celebrate. “What Is,” by Jeffrey Yang Understated and peaceful, this one is a bit of a palate-
cleanser after Ross Gay, but still well worth the read. It takes several themes commonly associated with serenity — community, nature, love, children — and condenses them all into several short but impactful phrases and lines. “More than Enough,” by Marge Piercy This poem is about June, so it might be just a little premature, but I couldn’t help it. It’s a beautiful account of nature and a welcome to the “season of joy for the bee.” Like Rukeyser, Piercy was also a social activist, plus she wrote a lot of poetry about Judaism — including this lovely one about the Seder, which you can check out in the spirit of Passover, if you’re so inclined! “Odes,” by Fernando Pessoa This one is kind of framed as a love poem, but it does feel like it’s in the spirit of a bigger kind of celebration, especially toward the end. I’m placing it at the end of this list because it’s soft and thoughtful, but also intent upon a kind of closure. The best lines come in the final stanza: “Nothing that’s you / Should you exaggerate or exclude. / In each thing, be all. Give all you are / In the least you ever do.” It’s a poem about appreciating moments, and people, for all that they are — and celebration is a kind of appreciation, after all, for the moment that you’re in and for the people you get to share it with.
Revisiting TV: ‘The Wire’ Classifieds MAITREYI ANANTHARAMAN Daily Arts Writer
Toward the end of “All the Pieces Matter,” Jonathan Abrams’s fabulous new oral history of “The Wire,” Chris Bauer (“The Deuce”), who played stubborn union leader Frank Sobotka in the second season, remarks that “the show asked a lot of anyone who watched it.” You couldn’t, he says, “make a casserole and watch ‘The Wire’ in the background.” That’s precisely what makes “The Wire” so striking to revisit in 2018 — a time when streaming platforms have made passive television watching easier than ever, and about a million things are competing for our limited attention. It takes a certain amount of self-confidence to make a show like “The Wire,” which threw all the rules for “watchable television” out the window. The pacing could be glacial, details easy to miss, dialogue peppered with slang and undeciphered police jargon, but “The Wire” wouldn’t dumb itself down or explain itself or clean itself up because it didn’t have to. It’s just that good. The show’s brilliance, rather infamously, was never recognized by Emmy voters. And creator David Simon (“Treme”) admits that every season of “The Wire” was close to being its last, given the unimpressive ratings. Somehow, though, its legacy has endured. Years after it left the air, it has rightfully carved a place for itself as one of the best television shows — maybe the best — of all time. Why? It’s a show that has — save some pagers and boxy computers — aged unbelievably well. Just a few themes it managed to cover in its fiveseason run: the futility of the war on drugs, the decline of American manufacturing, political corruption, underinvesting in schools, modern media consumption. Sound familiar? “The Wire” speaks to our current political moment in a way no other show from that era could ever
come close to. Who, after all, can bear to watch “The West Wing” anymore? Who can look at that world, with its starry-eyed idealists and orchestral grandeur, without it all feeling painfully naive? If “The West Wing” was institutions at their purest, guided and evolved by people dedicated to service, “The Wire” is the opposite — institutions at their worst, crippling, corrupt and stagnant. Anyone who tried to reform them,
It takes a certain amount of selfconfidence to make a show like ‘The Wire,’ which threw all the rules for “watchable television” out the window
or find some agency in them was embarking on a Sisyphean task. To quote the thoughtful drug dealer D’Angelo Barksdale (Lawrence Gilliard Jr., “The Walking Dead”), “The king stay the king.” You could try to change things in Baltimore, but you sure as hell weren’t going to succeed. Strangely, it’s Barack Obama’s favorite show, an odd pick for someone whose presidency was characterized by an almost frustrating belief in the fundamental goodness of American institutions. Obama told David Simon he liked the show for its empathy. Every season of “The Wire” focused on different institutions
in the city — the first season on the drug trade, the second on stevedores at the Port of Baltimore, the third on local politicians, the fourth on public schools and the fifth on the media. The transitions could be jarring, but by the end of the show, we see so much of a city and so much of its people. It makes “The Wire” one of the most fascinating character studies on television. Everyone on the show, no matter how morally corrupt, is also so deeply, strangely human. WeeBey (Hassan Johnson, “ER”), an enforcer for the Barksdale crime organization, has no qualms about killing people, but he’s also a doting owner of several pet fish. Stringer Bell (Idris Elba, “Luther”), the Barksdale organization’s stoic second-incommand, audits econ classes at City College. When Detective Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West, “The Affair”) searches through Stringer’s apartment, he finds a copy of Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” on a bookshelf and asks, “Who in the fuck was I chasing?” It wasn’t a warm show, but there’s a real affection for each character that shines throughout. “The Wire,” with its narrative elegance and careful rhythms, has sometimes been thought of as a work of literature. Dickens is the easy parallel here — the street urchins of West Baltimore in all their squalor, with names to rival Pip and the Artful Dodger, made palatable to the bourgeois audiences of HBO. But Simon doesn’t think the show was Dickensian; he thinks Tolstoy a more appropriate comparison, and that certainly rings true in the sweeping canvas of characters, the soul of a nation told through the people who inhabit it. There’s even a hint of inner-city Steinbeck to the “The Wire” with its lucidity and reverence for the downtrodden. In so many ways, the show functions as a rich, sprawling novel.
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RELEASE DATE– Monday, April 2, 2018
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS 1 Smallest chess piece 5 Intl. alliance with a phonetic alphabet 9 Test for fit 14 Where to find Columbus 15 Surrounded by 16 Like a wolfman 17 Made it possible (for) 20 Bit of campaign ugliness 21 In a jittery way 22 Food storage cover 24 Big pic from a small neg. 25 Reason for “Fahrenheit 451” fires 31 Yr.’s dozen 34 Smoothie berry 35 Pet store cry 36 Resell exorbitantly, as tickets 38 Iowa crop 39 Extreme fear 41 First website page 42 Last Greek letter 44 Lucy’s sitcom partner 45 Neighborhood 46 Stark in “Game of Thrones” 47 Achieved desired results 50 Math basics: Abbr. 51 Tweeter’s titter 52 White ursine critter 58 Hand prettifiers 62 It’s designed to elicit a certain answer ... or where the end of 17-, 25- and 47Across may be found 64 Dickens’ Drood 65 Garage goop 66 Opponent 67 Hit __: ran into trouble 68 Wise, as advice 69 Twice-monthly 7-Down DOWN 1 Seasoned senators, say
2 “If I may say something ... ” 3 Edith, to Archie 4 Teacher’s “Shh!” 5 “Uh-uh” 6 Confirmation from the congregation 7 Ocean phenomenon 8 Reason for a diaper change 9 Big crowds 10 Phantom’s rival, in “The Phantom of the Opera” 11 Pet store cries 12 Baseball’s Hershiser 13 Big Apple address letters 18 Chicago paper, for short 19 Toaster __ 23 Dilapidated joint 25 Breakfast partner of 55-Down 26 “__, all ye faithful ... ” 27 Rowed 28 Verify, as totals 29 Octet plus one 30 “If only” 31 New Zealand native
32 Early Mesoamerican 33 “Bark, Bowser!” 37 Phony 40 Sky over Paris 43 Loving and devoted, as fans 48 Library vol. ID 49 Gobbling guys? 50 Gymnast Comaneci 52 Ardent request
53 Voluminous syn. and etym. sources 54 Mowed expanse 55 See 25-Down 56 Water color 57 Ladder step 59 29-Down count 60 Kappa preceder 61 Barbershop sound 63 Barely make, with “out”
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6A — Monday, April 2, 2018
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‘The Death of Stalin’ is a ‘Barry’ is Bill Hader at his terrifyingly funny satire hilarious and lethal best MAX MICHALSKY Daily Arts Writer
I don’t know about you, but I think political satire has lost some of its edge. Maybe that’s a reflection of the changing times, or maybe the current presidential administration has simply made it too easy. Regardless, as iteration after iteration of the dumb, tactless attempts at commentary brought to us by such offerings as Showtime’s “Our Cartoon President” manage to hold our societal attention, one can’t help but feel disappointed in the state of modern satire. That’s not to say the genre has completely declined — Alec Baldwin and co. of Saturday Night Live remain as savvy as ever — however it feels as if our societal supply of fresh insights on the American political landscape is dwindling. Enter “The Death of Stalin,” the latest release from writer and director Armando Iannucci. The film centers around the Soviet Council of Ministers — including appearances from the likes of Steve Buscemi (“Leo”) as Nikita Kruschev and Jeffrey Tambor (“55 Steps”) as Georgy Malenkov — as they frantically try to make sense of the chaos that follows the death of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. The world of “The Death of Stalin” is one where the political is inextricably tied to the personal, where an impulsive despot presides over a nation, and where everything is taken to the most extreme degree. There’s no better illustration of the type of world the film occupies than in the opening sequence, where Stalin requests a recording of a concerto being performed in Moscow, but there’s only one problem: The performance has just ended.
Fearing grim consequences, the employees of the concert hall frantically scramble to get the audience to return to their seats and for the orchestra to start over from the beginning. It’s gut-bustingly hilarious, but it’s also a grave reminder of
“The Death of Stalin” Michigan Theater Quad Productions how the world quakes beneath the boots of tyrants with every action they make. The film spends its entire runtime performing this very balancing act, never letting the audience forget the gravity
‘The Death of Stalin’ toys with this dark streak in human nature, as if playing jump rope with it
of its own ridiculousness, while simultaneously never letting itself stray too far from its absurdity. Many other aspects of the film carry this duplicitous nature, such as how a film can offer biting satire of American politics while being set in a different country during a different time period. In some ways, this dichotomy is crucial; the Soviet
Union and communism stand as the supposed antitheses to Trumpist Republicanism, and yet one can’t help but draw parallels. The brash, reactionary nature of Stalin’s rule conjures images of the reported culture of “fear and intimidation” in the White House today. Despite these parallels, Iannucci’s satire never feels heavy handed. The film makes no direct comparisons to the Trump administration, or even to American politics in general, because that’s not quite the point of the film. Iannucci isn’t trying to say that Donald Trump is a tyrant, or responsible for anywhere near the level of horror that Stalin inflicted upon his people; rather, watching the film is like looking in a funhouse mirror at an absurd and vaguely horrifying image in which we can’t help but see vestiges of our reality. The film does less to harpoon any specific administration than it does to draw attention to the insanity of an entire branch of political development, one centered around despotism, fear and the cult of personality. Throughout the film’s runtime, this omnipresent sense of foreboding never fully lets the audience go. As fits of laughter turn to sickened gasps, we are reminded again and again of how shockingly human — that is to say, how shockingly cruel and illogical — governance can be. Iannucci poses greater questions concerning why and how man seeks power, and what it turns him into when he obtains it. “The Death of Stalin” toys with this dark streak in human nature, as if playing jump rope with it. It’s in this way that Iannucci masterfully paints a vivid — and often uproariously funny — picture of the insanity of despotism.
SAYAN GHOSH Daily Arts Writer
Barry Berkman (Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”) is just your average guy, perhaps worryingly so. Literally, he ticks all the boxes. He’s presumably middle-aged, lives in the Midwest and is going through a crisis of sorts. You know, the typical daily onset of existential dread and general dissatisfaction with, well, everything. Furthermore, his past as a Marine continues to play a role in his life, haunting him in the process. To put it quite frankly, his life simply sucks. You can even probably guess his occupation. Accountant? Tax attorney? Disgruntled engineer? Nope — hitman. As he explains towards the end of episode one of HBO’s titular show, he was approached by a close family friend, Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root, “Get Out”), to continue doing what he was always good at doing: killing people. To shake things up a bit, Fuches assigns Barry to travel to L.A. to carry out a job for the (gulp) Chechen mob — a group he calls one of the scariest he’s ever worked with. Once in
L.A., he unwittingly walks into an acting class while stalking his prey, and like thousands who flock to the city every year, he develops a slow realization that no, he doesn’t want to be a hitman. He wants to be an actor.
“Barry” Series Premiere Sundays @ 10:30 p.m. HBO Just one episode in, I think that this show can be summarized by one sentence: Bill Hader is an all-star. Channeling his inner Orson Welles, he steps into the role of executive producer, writer and lead actor, but in a role that feels strikingly different from what we’ve come to expect from him. He is tightlipped and convincingly plays a man who is just sick of his life. Rather than expressing his skill in more flamboyant ways, his acting as Barry is subtle and understated. Killing for him is just a job. There’s no glamour, no excitement, nor the danger
one would expect from such a profession. He doesn’t actually relish any kills and takes a nonchalant, passive view to his job. Compounding everything, he is completely alone, which is why his life changes as he finds a community in the group of actors he meets. Taught by the brilliant Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler, “Better Late Than Never”), the group consists of several out-oftowners who come to L.A. to pursue their dreams. Most work during the day as bartenders or personal trainers rather than hitmen, but Barry finds himself drawn to them nonetheless, regaining some sort of spark in his humdrum life. Despite this massive change, Hader’s acting makes this surprisingly believable. Barry’s stonefaced, robotic nature makes him quite an effective hitman, but it’s not quite clear how he will eventually open up to become an actor, especially one that Cousineau will come to respect. Nonetheless, “Barry”’s mix of violence and comedy already prevalent in the season premiere are encouraging and make this show one to keep your eye on.
With new ‘Virtue’ Julian Casablancas looks back MADELEINE GAUDIN Managing Arts Editor
I was fooled by “Leave it In My Dreams,” the first single off The Voidz’s sophomore effort, Virtue. I thought this was going to be a Strokes album. The muted riffs and sharp lyrics sound like an Angles bonus track. But this is not a Strokes album, and it’s not exactly an album either. Virtue feels, instead, like a collection of everything frontman Julian Casablancas couldn’t do with that aforementioned band. It’s an outpouring of musical frustration. It’s a mess, one that isn’t well served by determinations of “good” or “bad.” Some tracks excel, others confuse, but Virtue isn’t the sum of its unbalanced parts. And Casablancas would probably love that designation. After his bonkers interview with Vulture, we know he’s a
man whose steadfast ideologies are all but completely removed from reality. He’s easy to confuse with a certain love interest from a certain Best Picture Nominee. Yes, that’s
Virtue The Voidz Cult Records right. L’Enfance Nue is older, but in no way grown up. And the Julian/Kyle parallel has never been more apparent than on Virtue. “I was soon sent off to school / Where the teachers gave me poison / And I drank it like a fool,” Casablancas sings on “Think Before You Drink, ” a track sonically reminiscent of “I’ll Try Anything Once.” He’s rightfully preoccupied with the world’s suffering and decay, but hasn’t yet grown out of seeing himself at its center. On “Lazy Boy” — a song that lyrically could’ve been
written by that one band from your high school (see previous “Lady Bird” reference) — Casablancas sings: “Jackets are the eyes to the soul,” proving he can actually be self ref lective. Casablanca’s rebranding of a specific downtown cool for the new millennium cemented The Strokes in the visual cultural memory. He seems, here, to be trying to reconcile his desire for musical recognition and his whole-hearted condemnation of music the world deems “popular.” It’s a true Catch-22 for Julian: Fame is for frauds and obsolescence is for the untalented. For brief moments — “Leave it in My Dreams” and “All Wordz Are Made Up” — Virtue sees The Voidz letting go, leaning wholeheartedly into a kind of joyful existentialism. Nothing matters! Isn’t that sort of fun? “No one will care about this in 10 years,” he sings on “All Wordz Are Made Up,” in another moment of
self awareness. He seems to understand the shelf life of
In many ways, Virtue feels like a last ditch effort — one final shot to get all the things in his head into an album
his specific celebrity brand, and his precarious position
in popular culture. But these tracks lack the selflamentation found in other corners of the album. They’re, even if only momentarily, carefree in their nihilism. Virtue is an operation in nostalgia that tries to front as forward thinking. Casablancas got slammed for rewriting the ’70s with The Strokes. With The Voidz, he’s moved his musical homage a decade into the future — mining the ’80s in all their synth-filled, vocally distorted glory. In that sense, Virtue is progressive for an artist obsessed with the past. But it’s not progressive for 2018, not really. Casablancas isn’t looking into the future at all. In many ways, Virtue feels like a last ditch effort — one final shot to get all the things in his head into an album. In a move that leans more towards a mixtape than a cohesive album, The Voidz bounce from art rock to synth pop to a weird attempt at metal (the aptly titled
“Pyramid of Bones”). It’s as disjointed as it is unbalanced. But, as we know, when Casablancas is on, he’s on and when he’s not, he’s so earnest in his attempt that you can’t help but applaud it. For moments he feels jaded in his surrender to middle age. While his primary business has always been nostalgia, Casablancas seems to be looking back on his own life: his youth, his angst, his glory. And it’s hard to blame him, The Strokes rocked. So we can revel in this mess of an album a little longer than most, cut it’s chaos more slack than we otherwise would. Virtue is exactly what we knew would happen when Julian Casablancas had to finally grow up. There are very few things I know to be absolute truths but among them are these: New York rock isn’t dead yet and Julian Casablancas is no longer it’s savior. And maybe he never was.
The Michigan Daily | michigandaily.com | April 2, 2018
MICHIGAN ADVANCES TO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, WILL TAKE ON VILLANOVA
Katelyn Mulcahy / Daily
Hakeem, Larry ... Moe? Moritz Wagner turned in a performance for the ages in Michigan’s 69-57 win over Loyola-Chicago.
» Page 3B
Design by Jack Silberman and Evan Aaron
Big test for Simpson Michigan’s sophomore point guard will most likely guard Jalen Brunson, Villanova’s star point guard, on Monday.
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2B — Monday, April 2, 2018
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
This only comes around so often
ood morning, Ann Arbor. If you haven’t heard, your Wolverines won another basketball game Saturday night. They only have one more left. It’s kind of a big deal. Just how KEVIN big of a deal? SANTO Well, the Ann Arbor Police Department closed down South University Avenue after the game. People were rioting. Police cars were out and about. Someone climbed a light pole outside Cantina. I, for one, was at Skeeps again. After the game ended, I watched five grown men take their shirts off. They had a surprising lack of chest hair. But I’m not planning on making you suffer through another detailed account of my own drunken escapade. Instead, I’d like to provide a predictive anecdote. A chance to experience a national championship in men’s basketball only comes around so often (unless you go to North Carolina). I want to make sure you do this thing right. So, shall we begin? *** 9:30 a.m. — Wake up. What’s that? You slept through your 8:30? That’s ok I’ll cut you some slack. It’s basically a national holiday. 9:35 a.m. — Just so we’re clear, the United States isn’t recognizing today as a national holiday. That means your professors won’t either, unless they do, in which case I’d like to know their name. I’ll buy them a small gift. Anyway, you can’t be a complete degenerate. Get in the
Ann Arbor residents flooded South University Avenue on Saturday night after Michigan defeated Loyola Chicago to advance to the national championship game.
shower. You’ve gotta make your 10 a.m. Sing “One Shining Moment” if you want to set the mood. 10:09 a.m. — You get to the MLB. You wonder how this building hasn’t been condemned yet. You take your seat in a lecture hall. The professor asks if people will be watching the game tonight. Everyone rolls their eyes. The only thing keeping you alive is the thought of Jordan Poole’s buzzer beater against Houston. Literally. You’ve watched it 177 times in this lecture alone. 11:35 a.m. — Your class should be over, but your professor has zero respect for Michigan Time. They joke about making sure that paper is done
by tomorrow morning. No one is laughing. 11:40 a.m. — This is where it gets tricky. There are two types of people. Choose wisely: Person A. You have another class. You’re already late, so you don’t go. Or you couldn’t focus in the last one, so you don’t go. Or lunch sounds really good right now, so you don’t go. But really, your friends have been texting in your group chat all morning and are going to (insert bar here) at noon. Either
way, you’ve missed your second class of the day. Person B. You go to the second class. Your next professor makes the same jokes. You go to the gym after, and plan what’s next. Person A is already drunk. They might not remember the game. Keep that in mind. 1:00 p.m. — Regardless of your path, you’ll need to do some pregame reading. What’s that? You don’t know what to read or where to go for it? Lucky for you, I know some people.
You’re going to remember this for the rest of your life.
Read about Michigan being an underdog. Read about Zavier Simpson’s matchup with Jalen Brunson. Read about the losses that the Wolverines took to get here. Read about how Michigan knows it took a bit of luck to reach the title game. Read it all on michigandaily. com. Shameless plug. 2:00 p.m. — Get lunch. Buy a coffee. You’re gonna be up late tonight. 4:00 p.m. — If you’re Person A, you’re already drunk. You look outside and see a line of people down the street who will never make it into the bar for tip off, or will have to pay to do so. You smile to yourself. Skipping that class was worth it. You reward yourself with your second — or 11th — pitcher.
If you’re Person B, you scramble fervently to finish your schoolwork. You didn’t go out Friday. You wanted to save money so you could skip the line. 5:00 p.m. — Person B throws on some Michigan gear. You get to (insert bar here), and pay that line-skipping fee. As you’re walking inside, you see someone stumbling out of the bar with the help of two bouncers. That’s Person A. 8:00 p.m. — Person B is with their friends, getting settled in for the game. Person A wakes up in a panic. They can’t remember what happened, but they’re oddly buzzed. They walk to their friends’ house for a viewing party. 9:00 p.m. — Go to the bathroom. Get a beer. No, you can’t do both at the same time. I know those two things are counterintuitive, but this is the last chance you have before halftime. Don’t risk it during the commercials, especially if you’re Person B. 9:20 p.m. — The game starts. Breathe. 11:50 p.m. — I’m estimating here, but the game is over. Maybe Michigan wins. You riot and don’t go to bed. Maybe Michigan loses. You riot and then you go home and wonder what could have been. Regardless of if you’re at a bar, at a viewing party or sitting in your bed, you just watched something you’re never going to forget. So again: good morning, Ann Arbor. You want the truth? It doesn’t matter what you do tomorrow. You’re going to remember this for the rest of your life. Santo can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Kevin_M_Santo. Just remember, the couches have families.
In the biggest moment of the season, a leader was born With Michigan trailing Loyola-Chicago by seven at halftime,Jordan Poole gave a speech that reinvigorated his team MAX MARCOVITCH Daily Sports Editor
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — After the game, Jordan Poole sat by his locker with the radiant smile that hasn’t left his face since February. A television reporter asked Poole what he’ll say to himself when he looks in the mirror Saturday night, knowing he was going to the national title game. For the uber-confident, ever-boisterous Poole, this is his favorite type of question. “I’m gonna be like, ‘I look good,’ ya feel me?” There isn’t much with Jordan Poole you don’t see. His excitement comes across with every highlight-reel play. His personality shines through with every interview and every new water-related pun that surfaces by the day. When he smiles, you see his clear braces, a fresh reminder that the 18-year-old’s exuberance is still very much youthful. When he gets straddled to the bench for a careless turnover or ill-advised shot, you see the frustration. When he hit the shot, you saw him run into the Wichita night. But as his team headed to the locker room down, 29-22, in the national semifinal, stifled by a swarming Loyola-Chicago defense and frustratingly listless offensive showing, it was Poole who stepped up. This time, behind the scenes. “We work so hard and everybody on this team is a really good player,” Poole said. “We work behind the scenes and we know what we’re capable of doing. Sometimes, if things aren’t going our way, I know how really good players think. You kinda get down, and you can be a little bit negative. But at this time, it’s bigger than yourself. You know what I’m saying?” Twenty minutes from an aggravating ending to a magical run, halftime would seem the opportune time for a veteran leader to take a vocal stance.
Freshman guard Jordan Poole took initiative at halftime and approached each teammate with advice — a move that resonated with the Wolverines.
Instead, Poole took initiative in the downtrodden locker room. “Jordan is not a veteran at all, actually,” said junior forward Brent Hibbits. “But Jordan Poole went through each player at halftime and said, like, what they were gonna do better in the second half.” Added fifthyear senior Jaaron Simmons: “He really, literally, went around each player, especially the starters,” He approached fifth-year senior Duncan Robinson. Duncan, you haven’t been shooting well this first half, but you’re going to come out in the second half and make shots.
Robinson, a team captain in his own right, scored all nine of his points in the second half, including two key 3-pointers in the late comeback. Next was Charles Matthews. Charles, keep being aggressive. Land on two feet in the paint. Just take over. Matthews finished with 17 points on 7-of12 shooting, a continuing resurgence from the redshirt sophomore who has been vital to Michigan’s postseason success. Then came Moritz Wagner, the junior responsible for half of the Wolverines’ first-half points. Moe, keep being a beast down
“... We know what we’re capable of doing.”
there, they obviously can’t stop Rahkman to just relax, that you. his shots would come. He told And they didn’t stop Wagner, Isaiah Livers, his roommate, to who danced, dunked and get involved in the game, to be dominated his way to just the aggressive in his minutes and third Final-Four performance of to continue doing the simple 20 points and 15 rebounds. things. Next, Poole went straight In the second half, the to Zavier Wolverines Simpson, the scored 47 points, comandeering shooting 57 “He can be a point guard percent from the who entered field to win 69-57. the halftime natural leader, and They forced an locker room he can be a natural overwhelmed as frustrated Loyola squad as anyone, into 10 secondfreshman.” going 0-forhalf turnovers, 3 in the first holding the half with three Ramblers to just turnovers. 22 points. X, you’re going to lock the Michigan will play Villanova other team’s point guard up the on Monday night for a national entire second half. title, and it has a second-half The freshman told senior blitz — and some halftime guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur- words of encouragment from a
confident freshman leader — to thank for that. “It’s impressive, it really is,” Hibbits said. “Such a big stage, and such a young kid. I mean, he’s only 18 or 19 years old. Obviously he’s never been here before. But for him to have a perspective about it himself really helped the older guys realize, you know, Jordan Poole, this outgoing, emotional, young dude is having a lot of confidence going into the second half. We should, too.” This was more than a teammate offering words of encouragement for his struggling team. It was a freshman growing into a role he knew he could own. “It’s leadership,” Livers said. “He can be a natural leader, and he can be a natural freshman. I think at this stage now, he’s going to obviously take that leadership (role). He may even be a captain next year. … I won’t be surprised.” Poole played four minutes in the first half, just the eighthmost on the team, before offering an on-court spark with six second-half points of his own. Poole’s role has fluctuated as much as anyone throughout the year, with Saturday’s national semifinal being no different. That didn’t stop him from taking the reigns of a team 20 minutes from its end. It’s a moment that won’t accompany his game-winner on this year’s “One Shining Moment” but may well be just as important. You can quantify a shot. You can’t quantify leadership. “I don’t think I played too much in the first half, but I know that Moe was going to start hitting shots and (AbdurRahkman) was going to start getting to the basket,” Poole said. “If you go out there with a positive mindset and speak it into existence, everything is going to go well. “That’s what happened when we went out for the second half.”
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
Monday, April 2, 2018 — 3B
Wagner turns in best performance yet on biggest stage The junior forward became just the third player ever to tally at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in the national semifinals MIKE PERSAK
Managing Sports Editor
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Moritz Wagner left his hotel room early on Friday. The junior forward was anxious about the Michigan men’s basketball team’s Final Four matchup with LoyolaChicago, and he couldn’t stand sitting still anymore, letting the nerves fester. So he told his roommate, sophomore center Jon Teske, that he was leaving. “I was a little restless and wanted to get out there,” Wagner said. “When you prepare for a week for a game, I hate that. I want to play basketball, that’s why I play.” Who could blame Wagner for getting restless? In a postseason where every game is the new biggest game of Wagner’s and every other Wolverine’s career, Saturday’s game was the next one up. In hindsight, Wagner had nothing to worry about. When all was said and done, he dropped 24 points and 15 rebounds in front of 68,000-plus, fueling his team to an appearance in the NCAA Championship game. The performance was the third time in history that a player had a 20-point, 15-rebound game in the semifinals, putting Wagner in the same company as Hakeem Olajuwon and Larry Bird. “Wow. If you put it like that, it’s probably cool,” Wagner said of the distinction. “But to be honest, I kept looking possession by possession, we had trouble scoring (in) the first half. We scored 22 points and that was kind of the only way we found our way to the basket. Grab offensive rebounds and get second-shot opportunities.” It’s typical of Wagner to shrug off his accomplishment.
Junior forward Moritz Wagner recorded a career-high 15 rebounds while leading all scorers with 24 points in Michigan’s 69-57 win over Loyola-Chicago.
After all, this is the same guy who has said he doesn’t understand America’s obsession with awards. But especially on the rebounding side of things, the performance is a standout one. Part of Wagner’s success can be credited to John Beilein’s gameplan. Instead of the pick-andpops that have become Wagner’s bread and butter, Beilein decided that, against the undersized Ramblers, Wagner could be used as an asset on the glass.
So Beilein told him to dive down to the block when a guard switched onto him. But most of the success should be credited to Wagner himself. His immense growth on the boards was evident in Saturday’s national semifinal. The knock on Wagner had always been his defense and rebounding, and he’s acknowledged that before. He’s worked tirelessly to improve those parts of his game, and it’s shown, in flashes, over the year. Never like Saturday, though.
“I was a little restless and wanted to get out there.”
Matthews mean mugs his way to title game MARK CALCAGNO Daily Sports Editor
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — After the final buzzer sounded, Charles Matthews was the last player to climb down the elevated floor and swagger his way to the concrete underbelly of the Alamodome. Many of his teammates, smiling from earto-ear and yelling at full throat, had chosen to go through a line of high-fives with Michigan students. Moritz Wagner even jumped to meet the hands draped over the railing above, reenacting an NBA combine vertical test. Matthews took a different approach. He trotted down the steps, showed the camera the name across the front of his bright-maize jersey and sashayed down the tunnel unbothered. His chin pointed high, he molded a half-smiled smirk. It was a look of confidence — one of those, “I’m good, and I know it,” faces. Matthews breathed that moxie throughout Saturday. The redshirt sophomore guard scored 17 points, grabbed five boards and added three steals against the darlings of his hometown Chicago, helping to send the Michigan men’s basketball team to the national championship. “Charles was a beast,” said freshman forward Isaiah Livers. “We see him like that all the time in practice. I was wondering when it was going to come out again, and it came out at the right time.” It came out early. When the Ramblers switched a screen on the Wolverines’ second possession, Matthews found himself in a glaring mismatch against Ramblers’ center Cameron Krutwig. Matthews knew what to do: Jab step, pump fake and then pop it for Michigan’s first three points. Five minutes later, he drove inside and sunk a layup with a foul, “mean mugging” as he swaggered across the baseline in celebration. “We feel like we’re at our best when he’s aggressive,” said fifthyear senior forward Duncan Robinson, “and that’s been the
case all season.” Matthews was essentially one of two consistent options for the Wolverines offensively, as the rest of the team desperately struggled to hit shots. As such, Matthews was the go-to option when Loyola clung to a sevenpoint lead early in the second half, slashing his way to a pair of scores to keep things close. “I really saw an intense look in his eyes — he really wanted to win,” said freshman guard C.J. Baird. “Nobody was going to let anybody stop him.” Wagner, of course, eventually charged the comeback for the Wolverines, finishing with a monstrous 24-point, 15-rebound performance. But it was Matthews who helped Wagner and the Wolverines get there. Up a nickel, Matthews penetrated and collapsed the defense, then kicked to a wideopen Wagner outside, who essentially put the game away with just over 3:03 to go. And if it wasn’t over then, it certainly was two minutes later when Matthews punctuated his night with a two-handed tomahawk jam. “It’s the big stage. Charles has been waiting for this for a while,” Livers said. “He transferred from one of the top-tier teams in the country, and he comes here wanting to do that same thing. He’s going to put on a show no matter what.”
There were long stretches where Matthews was far from that. After leading the Wolverines in scoring during non-conference play, his play halted in January and February. Matthews pressed, settling for contested fadaways and lowpercentage two-pointers. He traveled like clockwork, his feet shuffling instead of moving in harmony. Things hit rock bottom when Matthews went scoreless against Penn State in February — a surprising turn for a player who was once Michigan’s leading scorer. Coach John Beilein thought Matthews wasn’t playing with much confidence. But Matthews has certainly found it in the NCAA Tournament. He had 31 combined points in the first two rounds, then 35 and a West Regional MVP Award in the second weekend. “This young man has done such a good job of just growing as a player,” Beilein said. “And it’s showing off every day that he goes out there. “His future is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.” Saturday was still Wagners’ night. But Matthews was undoubtedly essential to Michigan’s win, playing Robin to Wagner’s Batman along the way. And if his walk off the floor is any indication, Mattthews is perfectly okay with that.
Charles Matthews tallied 17 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Against a smaller opponent, Wagner feasted on the glass. Six of his 15 boards were on the offensive end, both good enough for career highs. It seems his hard work has paid off. “I think we all forget when we’re recruiting, which players are gonna grow? Or which ones are gonna transfer because they aren’t growing fast enough, because they’re probably not putting in the work?” Beilein said. “Moe puts in the work. “You know, his freshman year, we had to get him off the court over and over again. He’d have a flash, and then we’d say, ‘What is going on?’ Gradually, he’s growing and he’s growing. He’ll misstep, but he grows. That’s what good players do, and that’s how college teams win.
And that’s also how you have a great career after college.” Early in his career, Beilein had to take Wagner off the court. Saturday, there was no option but to leave him out there. That was partially because of his play, but it was also because Teske, Wagner’s backup, picked up two early fouls. So Wagner played 19 firsthalf minutes, getting a doubledouble in the frame with 11 points and 11 boards. If he hadn’t, the Wolverines, who shot just 29 percent from the
field and 15.4 from three, may not have been within reaching distance of Loyola. As Wagner jogged up the tunnel at halftime, his jersey was so drenched with sweat it was nearly see-through. He finished with 36 minutes, tied for the most he’s ever played in a game without overtime. “He’ll be able to hold up, but we’ve gotta get him a lot of rest tomorrow,” Beilein said. “… But Moe, we played him a lot. We played him a lot — probably too many minutes — but I thought we had to to win the game, so we can play Monday. But he’ll have a day of rest. He’s pretty good at that.” For all the new sides to Wagner’s game that Saturday’s performance showed, there was all the old stuff, too. He still exhibited the deep range, going 3-for-7 from beyond the arc, and he still was his goofy self, flexing and celebrating for the crowd. He even leapt over the CBS announcing team at one point. For now, Wagner says he’s exhausted, and for good reason. In a game that many expected to be decided by the matchup between the big men, Wagner came out on top. And in a season when the Wolverines have looked to Wagner time and time again to provide a spark, he came through again. On Saturday, the old and new parts of Wagner combined to form the best version of him yet. Despite the sweat and the grind and the weight of his team on his shoulders and a near collision with an announcers table, they couldn’t take him off the floor.
For now, Wagner says he’s exhausted, and for good reason.
Blanco’s grand slam leads Michigan to 5-0 win It took only one at-bat for the senior to change the game RIAN RATNAVALE Daily Sports Writer
Even though Saturday’s storm had long passed by the time Tera Blanco set foot on Alumni Field, the senior right-hander showed that when it rains, it pours. With the Michigan softball team nursing a 1-0 lead heading into the fifth inning, it was time to make something happen. In the previous inning, Blanco was pulled from her pitching duties after Purdue loaded the bases. While she could no longer help in the circle, she could make something happen at the plate. The Wolverines had the bases loaded when Blanco settled into her hitting stance and sized up Boilermakers’ right-hander Sydney Bates’ first pitch. Smack. Grand slam. Almost effortlessly, it was 5-0. “Right before that at-bat Hutch told me don’t try too hard, and I think that was my motto all weekend: Don’t try all weekend and be short to the ball,” Blanco said. “That was really successful for me and I had a feeling they were going to throw me outside that pitch.” For much of Michigan’s 6-0 win, which concluded a threegame sweep of Purdue, the Wolverines put pressure on Bates.
Junior outfielder Natalie Peters reached third base in both the first and third innings off Boilermaker errors, and each time it seemed like Michigan was ready to blow the game wide open. Even senior utility player Nikki Wald spent some time on third base in the fourth. In each instance though, the Wolverines simply couldn’t convert. Freshman designated hitter Lou Allan grounded out to third base to strand Peters in the first inning. Two innings later, Peters watched Allan ground out again, this time to first. In the fourth, junior catcher Katie Alexander watched Bates’ pitch sail by her for a strikeout, and the crowd let out an audible groan. But Purdue wasn’t having much luck at the plate either. Even though they threatened in the fourth, freshman lefthander Meghan Beaubien came in for Blanco and baited the Boilermakers into a groundout. “We weren’t sure if she was ready,” said Michigan coach Carol Hutchins on Beaubien. “I went
to to the mound to give Meghan a little extra time. I think Tera was ready but our offense wasn’t exactly zooming along, so we needed to hold them down. I just told her to do her part. We need everyone to do their part.” From that point on, Purdue struggled to consistently get on base, which Beaubien credited to coming in with a positive mindset. “When you come in with the bases loaded you can’t go in with that mindset that ‘oh the bases are loaded’,” Beaubien said. “You just gotta go in and throw your pitch, and I trust that the pitch I throw is good enough to get them out.” In a game filled with stranded baserunners and inconsistent pitching, Beaubien and Blanco reminded Michigan, the Boilermakers and everyone in attendance that softball, in the words of Hutchins, has to be played one ball and one pitch at a time. After all, Blanco only needed one towering hit and one ill-placed pitch to ensure Purdue stormed back to West Lafayette winless.
“I just told her to do her part. We need everyone to do their part.”
4B — Monday, April 2, 2018
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
‘M’ embraces underdog role again Wolverines recognize role of luck ETHAN WOLFE Daily Sports Editor
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Michigan men’s basketball team is playing in the NCAA Championship game against No. 1-seeded Villanova on Monday Night. No need to go to check your glasses, you read that correctly. The Wolverines (33-7 overall) have juggled elite defensive performances, scattered offensive spurts and a dash of luck to get to this point. But on paper, Michigan’s performance isn’t an accident — it’s been the favorite in all five tournament games its played in thus far. But now, the Wolverines come in as the underdog, and even that’s an understatement. Some media members have asked if the championship trophy can be gifted prematurely to the Wildcats. The overreaction is baseless but unsurprising. Villanova (35-4) rained 13 3-pointers just in the first half as part of a 95-79 walloping against Kansas on Saturday. It was a game that Michigan coach John Beilein said he was glad he didn’t have time to watch. The Wildcats are led by guard Jalen Brunson — who averages 19.2 points per game — on an already-complete roster. “As a point guard, and one who wants to be elite at the next level, who wouldn’t want to look forward to a matchup like Brunson (who is) a National Player of the Year?” questioned sophomore point guard Zavier Simpson. “They’re a great team. They aren’t No. 1 in the country for no reason. We have to come ready to play, or we’ll get embarrassed.” Added assistant coach Saddi Washington: “At this point in the season, you’re not really gonna outtrick your opponent. You’ve just gotta be the best version of who you are and hope that’s good enough.” So yes, Michigan is the clear underdog. But that’s right where this team wants to be. “When you’re the favorite,
Jaaron Simmons and Michigan enter the national championship game as the clear underdog to Villanova.
especially playing against lower seeds in the NCAA Tournament, it just adds more pressure,” said senior guard Muhammad-Ali AbdurRahkman. “You just don’t want to be that team that gets upset. I think our identity from the beginning has been being underdogs throughout the season.” Michigan coach John Beilein said that the Wildcats have many similarities to Loyola-Chicago, with more size and another shooter at the “5” spot. Villanova’s frontcourt of Omari Spellman and Eric Paschall not only brings athletic shot-blocking prowess, but the duo has also combined for 100 triples this season. The Wildcats’ strategy isn’t new to the Wolverines. But Villanova spaces the floor well and knocks down shots at a higher clip than anyone Michigan has faced this year. “We’ve faced some shooting post players like Nebraska, Michigan State when they would go with a smaller lineup with Jaren Jackson Jr., those types of teams,” Washington said. “Spellman, Paschall — those guys are playing at an unbelievable level right now. What they did last night (against Kansas) was impressive.” For a team as volatile as Michigan, it knows not to get
intimidated by how the Wildcats breezed through the tournament to get to this point. It’s another chip on the Wolverines’ shoulders, who are comfortable “getting in the mud,” according to fifth-year senior point guard Jaaron Simmons. But they will have their work cut out stopping Villanova’s 3-point shooting. The Wildcats have made the most treys in the country, ahead of the second-place team by 1.6 threes per game. In the tournament, Michigan has held opponents to just 24 percent on 3-pointers, while Villanova has converted on 42.3 percent of their attempts. If the Wildcats can’t hit their threes, it could turn into a rockfight — a type of game that the Wolverines are accustomed to playing. It’s not flashy. Perhaps it’s why Michigan was hardly on the national radar before the Big Ten Tournament. But now the Wolverines are here in the title game, and they don’t care how they are being labeled. “Very few people have been paying attention to us all year. That’s fine with us,” Washington said. “We just go about our business each and every day. That’s the beauty of athletics — one day you’re the darling, one day you’re the hunted and one day you’re the hunter.”
Managing Sports Editor
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Before Saturday’s game, the Michigan men’s basketball team huddled around Jordan Poole just outside its tunnel. The fiery freshman is adept at hyping up his team, and he looked around before giving a galvanizing message. “We’re not supposed to be here.” Poole was almost definitely referring to how the Wolverines have been doubted all season. Nobody expected them to be in the Final Four. But there’s an underlying message that comes with Poole’s statement. Along Michigan’s run to this point, it needed some lucky breaks to stay alive. Poole’s buzzer beater to beat Houston, even with the preparation to make it possible, needed some luck to go down. The Wolverines’ path to the NCAA Championship game, littered with lower-seeded teams, needed a bit of luck to materialize. Those are fortunate happenings that could have gone either way. Perhaps Michigan isn’t supposed to be here. That’s not a slight. Michigan
coach John Beilein recognizes it’s necessary to have some luck this time of year. “It’s been an incredible year for Michigan with very few injuries, a ton of breaks to be to this point,” Beilein said. “And I feel guilty sometimes about some of the games we won because we just had this grace fall on us all of a sudden. But at the same time it’s gone the other way many times for some of our teams and you beat yourself up as a coach, and what could I have done. But as I get more experience in this game, I realize that’s what it’s about, and you can’t do anything about those things.” Fifth-year senior forward Duncan Robinson understands this balance too. The year he redshirted, after transferring to Ann Arbor, the Wolverines went 16-16. His next three seasons, they barely made the tournament, lost in the Sweet Sixteen and now have made it to the title game. Robinson has seen things break both for and against him and his teams. It helps him value just how tough it is to get to this spot. “I would just say you learn very easily not to take things for granted, in particular in that Houston game,” Robinson said. “You know, Jordan doesn’t hit that miraculous shot, none of us are sitting here. ... So, I mean, when you think about it like that, the only thing you can do is just be appreciative that, for whatever reason, it’s you and it’s your team.” For Beilein and Robinson, experience has given them perspective. For the younger Michigan players, the perspective hasn’t come yet. It’s easy for them to take it for granted, because this is the only
thing they’ve experienced. The veterans try to let them know how lucky they are, though. “Moe was telling Jordan and I, I think we were like traveling and we said something (that) doesn’t really matter,” said freshman forward Isaiah Livers. “And Moe was like, ‘What? Do you know how hard we’ve worked to get to the place we are at right now? You guys are spoiled.’ Moe was saying, ‘You’re spoiled. You’re spoiled.’ I said, ‘Hey, I guess we’re just lucky to be spoiled people.’ ” Added Robinson: “It’s hard because you can say that, but they’re just words. You’ve gotta experience it for yourself. Like I try to tell the freshmen, ‘The next three years here, you could have a team that’s far better than us, and you still won’t get to this point.’ And I’m not saying that won’t happen for them, but it very well could. Getting here is obviously, it’s so tough to do. And really good teams and really good coaches and really good players haven’t gotten to this point in their careers.” Whether by luck or skill or more likely a combination of both, though, the Wolverines are here now. They’ve used their underdog feeling as motivation. Now, their ability to stay alive is fueling them. Michigan will play in Monday’s NCAA Championship Game for just the seventh time in program history, so close to a goal that’s almost impossible to reach. With one game left, Michigan could be a few good bounces away from winning it all. “Sometimes I feel like we’re not supposed to be here,” said sophomore guard Zavier Simpson. “So we’ve got to give it our all.”
“Sometimes I feel like we’re not supposed to be here.”
The losses that shaped a contender Simpson’s ultimate test: Jalen Brunson MAX MARCOVITCH Daily Sports Editor
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — John Beilein looked despondent. The Michigan head coach was unhappy with the result, an 86-71 throat-slashing at the hands of North Carolina, and even less happy with the effort. “(North Carolina) might be that good,” Beilein said after that Nov. 29 contest in Chapel Hill, “but we’re definitely not that bad.” Then he added a remarkably confident quibble about his young team, one that aged quite well in hindsight. “Just watch this team grow. You’ll like what they do.” Fast forward five months, and the Wolverines are on the doorstep of a national title — assistant coach Saddi Washington says he can hardly remember the last time they lost. But these staggering peaks didn’t come without deep valleys. That defeat that slipped Washington’s mind came 56 days ago, a 61-52 loss at Northwestern that saw Michigan’s offense wither at the feet of the Wildcats’ sprawling zone. Since, the Wolverines have won 15 games in a row. A 16th would bring a national title back to Ann Arbor. And ask anyone in Michigan’s locker room: the turning points of the season didn’t come in big wins, but in those stinging lossess. Just 24 hours from the Wolverines’ biggest basketball game in five years, and the biggest of each player’s life, the athletes and coaches were able to appreciate the depths that helped them reach these heights. “(Northwestern) played this really crazy matchup zone,” said freshman guard C.J. Baird, on the last time his team lost. “That threw us for a loop. We were definitely wondering, ‘Where do we go from here? What’s our next step?’ ” Since then, Michigan has faced several zone defenses, including Texas A&M’s in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, one the Wolverines torched to the tune of 99 points and 14 made threes.
Zavier Simpson will most likely be tasked with guarding Jalen Brunson, Villanova’s star point guard.
Less than a month prior to the loss to the Wildcats, the Wolverines went to Lincoln and were dealt their worst loss of the season, a 72-52 shellacking at the hands of the Cornhuskers. Nebraska notoriously switched every ball screen in that game, a strategy that held Michigan center Moritz Wagner to just two points. The loss sent shockwaves through a team whose offensive flow hardly resembled Beilein’s trademark offenses. At the time, it seemed to be a team more likely destined for the NIT than the Final Four. “That was definitely a turning point with the coaching staff,” Baird said, “because they noticed teams would do that now and follow suit. I mean, we lost by 20.” Instead of praying teams wouldn’t mimic Nebraska’s formula, Beilein and his staff devised a plan to beat it. Nearly every team since then has tried to reenact the Cornhuskers’ success, and guided by increasingly aggressive guard play, the offense has made the necessary adjustment. Resoundingly. Monday night, Michigan will invariably see it again, as Villanova thrives on defensive versatility and athleticism. It’s only right that the truest
measuring stick of growth will come on the sport’s biggest stage. “I think our losses have shown through really throughout the entirety of our season — just with handling adversity, also with handling success,” said fifth-year senior Duncan Robinson. “With us, it’s all about growing through everything, victory (and) defeat. That’s something Coach Beilein stresses with us, the good teams grow from both.” Added Washington: “I think that speaks to the genius of Coach Beilein. Whether you win or lose a game, it’s an opportunity to grow. It’s an opportunity to learn something new about yourself.” “Growth” for Beilein’s squad doesn’t come in heaps and mounds. He’s not big on “rah-rah” speeches or big-picture turning points. It comes in incremental, day-to-day dedication. As cliche as it may sound, there was no magic elixir that transformed an early season pretender into a national championship participant. “It’s just one of those things Coach has been saying lately,” Washington recalled Sunday afternoon. “‘You don’t try to eat the whole elephant, you just take a bite at a time.’ ” That elephant has been reduced to a morsel. There’s only one more bite left to take.
MARK CALCAGNO Daily Sports Editor
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Standing against a ten-foot mural of Moritz Wagner, John Beilein spoke to a herd of reporters with a pleasant tone. The Michigan men’s basketball coach had just earned the second National Semifinal victory of his career, largely due to Wagner’s historical showing of 24 points and 15 rebounds. But when probed to articulate his starting point guard’s performance, the mood shifted. “Zavier (Simpson) did not have a great day with the ball,” Beilein said. “A couple of (turnovers) were just careless.” Though the Wolverines managed to escape Loyola, Saturday was one of Simpson’s worst performances of the season. He was uncharacteristically sloppy with four turnovers, and his shot was well off the mark, finishing scoreless on 0-of-6 shooting. “You cannot play that way,” Beilein said. “Michigan basketball cannot win if we’re careless with the ball.” Though it was indeed a blanket statement, Beilein’s
comment carries serious weight as the Wolverines get set for Monday’s title matchup. Against Villanova — the country’s most efficient offensive team — Michigan can’t afford as many miscues from Simpson. Yet, that’s not even the sophomore’s most prominent obligation. Simpson will be tasked with defending Jalen Brunson, the AP Player of the Year who averages 19.2 points per game on 53-percent shooting. Simpson, of course, is known as a shutdown defender. He has forced elite point guards like Houston’s Rob Gray, Penn State’s Tony Carr and Michigan State’s Cassius Winston to substandard nights. A week ago, Simpson made T.J. Starks — Texas A&M’s self-described “unstoppable” point guard — look foolish. But Brunson is a different animal. He can ball-handle defenders into submission. He can shoot, he can pass. He can even post up. “You got two pitbulls playing against each other, that’s what it’s going to be,” said assistant coach DeAndre Hayes. “He’s gonna do some things we haven’t seen out of a guard.” But Simpson has two things working in his favor. For one, Saturday’s performance is already behind him. Players make statements about amnesia and how they’re not thinking about this or that. But when the no-nonsense Simpson says it, it feels more truthful, and that’s evident to those around him. “One thing about X is that he’s strong-minded — he doesn’t dwell on the past, he always moves forward,” Haynes said. “When I played in college, my coaches they made me write on my shoe, ‘Short-term memory.’ I tell all my guards that now.” When it comes to understanding his opponent, however, Simpson’s memory is indelible. On Sunday, he and the Wolverines will go through a rigorous preparation
routine — one that has endured throughout Beilein’s tournament runs. First, Simpson will read the scouting report on Brunson, which is usually prepared on a white board in the team locker room. Then he’ll watch film, with each clip corresponding to a certain aspect of the Wildcats. It’s all taken to practice, where it’s the scout team’s responsibility to mimic Brunson’s game. That responsibility falls on freshman Luke Wilson, Michigan’s walk-on point guard. His job won’t be easy. Both are left-handed, but Brunson posts up like a big man. Wilson’s post moves … well, let his teammates assess them. “(Luke) can’t post up,” barked Eli Brooks in the Wolverines’ locker room. “I’ll make him turn red today,” Simpson added. “You’re all talk, dude,” Wilson responded. “Alright, say that for 40 minutes.” The back-and-forth, right in front of a media scrum, is emblematic of the everlasting intensity Simpson carries. A month ago, he and Wilson nearly fought in practice. In one drill, Simpson was guarding Wilson, denying consistently and pushing the ball out of bounds. When Wilson finally caught the ball, Simpson got in his face — so close that Wilson pushed him over. “Everyone was like ‘Oh my gosh,’ ” recalled freshman guard C.J. Baird. That’s just the type of competitor Simpson is. It doesn’t matter if he’s facing a walk-on or star. He’s not in it to lose. On Monday, in the biggest game of the year against the country’s best player, that’s what Simpson will attempt to prove once again. “Definitely a matchup that I’m looking forward to. Who wouldn’t?” Simpson said. “In order to be the best, you have to compete with the best.”