MINNEAPOLIS -- The ghosts of another college basketball championship team will be on the court with Michigan and Duke tonight at the Metrodome when the Wolverines and Blue Devils meet in the 1992 NCAA final.
It will be the ghosts of last year's Nevada-Las Vegas team, those undefeated overdogs, who, after pounding Duke by 30 points in the 1990 final in Denver, were upset by the Blue Devils at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis.
The starters on this year's Michigan team said yesterday that they rooted for the Runnin' Rebels as they watched last year's semifinal against Duke. Point guard Jalen Rose even took it a little personally.
"That Vegas team was a lot like us," said Rose, who grew up with UNLV guard Anderson Hunt in Detroit. "It's a matter of relating. I had a lot of faith in UNLV. I felt like I was a part of the team, and it hurt me when they lost almost as much as it hurt them. So I think that's a factor."
Told of Rose's reaction, Duke center Christian Laettner said: "That's great. Then they have to win for two teams out there instead of one. Hopefully, they're very upset. Hopefully, we can make them more upset."
Duke freshman Cherokee Parks also watched that game and, as expected, rooted for the Blue Devils. "But to be honest, I didn't think they were going to win," he said yesterday, sheepishly looking toward Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Said Krzyzewski, "I guess that means Cherokee is going to play less [tonight].
No father figure
Throughout Rose's basketball career, he would hear about what a great player his father was. When he was in junior high school, a coach showed Rose a tape of his father playing.
"He had some nice spin moves," Rose recalled yesterday.
But don't ask Rose, or his mother Jeanie, what kind of father Jimmy Walker was. Neither the player nor his mother could remember the last time they saw, or even spoke with, the former Providence College All-American.
"The only thing he gave Jalen was his genes," Jeanie Rose said here yesterday, with a slight trace of bitterness. "He has my genes, too. And I did the rest."
Jeanie Rose met Walker while he was playing for the Detroit Pistons in the early 1970s. They never married, nor did they have much of a relationship after Jalen was born 19 years ago. She had three other children before meeting Walker.
"I have a strong mother," said Jalen Rose. "Everything I have today I owe to her."
Rose called watching the tape of Walker "unique," saying, "It was hard to believe that it was my father." But he also made it clear that he preferred to have nothing to do with Walker, who, according to Jeanie Rose, lives in Kansas City, Mo.
"He never had anything to do with me," said Rose.
Voskuil in the limelight
James Voskuil, the unlikely hero of Michigan's 76-72 win over Cincinnati in the semifinals, was late for yesterday's news conference. He was attending church.
"I hope he's praying a lot," Wolverines coach Steve Fisher said jokingly.
Voskuil, who started 14 times in each of the two previous seasons, came off the bench Saturday night, scoring nine points in 14 second-half minutes and helping Michigan come back from a seven-point deficit.
"I can't believe that I'm in this situation," Voskuil said of the attention focused on him yesterday. "But I hope I can be in this kind of situation again."
Voskuil might find himself in the starting lineup tonight, or at least with increased playing time, if freshman forward Juwan Howard can't play at all or a lot. Howard was in bed yesterday with stomach flu and a fever.
Terps' Williams loses out
It was appropriate that someone named Williams won last night's three-point shooting contest at the University of Minnesota's Williams Arena. But it was North Carolina-Charlotte's Henry Williams, not Maryland's Walt Williams, who won.
The Terps' Williams missed the first-round cut among the eight competitors. Calvin Talford of East Tennessee State won the slam-dunk competition. Kathy Halligan of Creighton won the women's three-point shooting contest.
Voskuil in the limelight
James Voskuil, the unlikely hero of Michigan's 76-72 win over Cincinnati in the semifinals, was late for yesterday's news conference. He ankle sprain by a Blue Devils player this season.
"I'm not going to do anything to hurt myself any more," said Davis, who hopes to get an invitation to some NBA camps this spring and summer. "It's very disappointing, but I'm not going to mope about it right now. I'll do whatever I can to help the guys get ready for Michigan."
Krzyzewski said that he didn't expect Davis to play tonight against the Wolverines, adding: "We didn't panic then and we won't panic now. We'll try to do the best we can. That doesn't mean Brian won't play. If Brian can give us five minutes, he helps us so many ways."
Leary makes impression
Don't forget the name Todd Leary. A sophomore guard who had played sparingly for Indiana this season, Leary came in after four Hoosiers fouled out and made three shots from three-point range in the final minute.
"He lit a match that became an explosion," said Indiana coach Bob Knight, who lost for the first time in his three Final Four appearances and was called for a critical technical foul as Duke was making an 18-0 run.