Fisher lets success speak for itself 1993 NCAA FINAL FOUR--NEW ORLEANS Final Four notebook

April 02, 1993|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS -- Michigan coach Steve Fisher must not have read the newspapers or heard the comments made on television during this year's NCAA tournament. Or, he seems to ignore them the way his Wolverines seem to ignore him.

How else do you explain Fisher's reaction to a question regarding his team being a group of uncoachable, undisciplined, underachievers who had trouble with the likes of Temple and George Washington at last weekend's West Regional in Seattle?

"I have not heard that," Fisher said earlier this week from Ann Arbor during a national news teleconference. "It must have been whispered or shouted in other areas. But we have a very good bunch of people. We take pride in being teachers. I was a high school teacher for 12 years and my style wasn't the same as the math teacher down the hall. I think we have discipline and control and that's reflected in our success."

It's hard to argue with Fisher's success. Since taking over for Bill Frieder right before the 1989 NCAA tournament, the Wolverines have won one national championship and advanced to the Final Four three times. But there's a feeling that Fisher has about as much control over his fate as he does over his team.

Remember what sophomore center Chris Webber said recently. zTC "He [Fisher] doesn't police us on or off the court," Webber said.

The lure of the Big Easy

While most college basketball teams haven't run into trouble at recent Final Fours, this city has a few more distractions than Minneapolis last year or Indianapolis in 1990.

Though none of the teams is going to the extremes that Georgetown went to in 1982 -- the Hoyas holed up in beautiful Biloxi, Miss., and bussed in for news conferences and games -- coaches are well aware of how easily it is to get distracted in the Big Easy.

"We'll give our players a taste of what the Final Four is about, but we're not here to be tourists," said Fisher."

Michigan and Kentucky arrived here Wednesday, and Kansas came into town yesterday. North Carolina is flying in this morning just in time for its mandatory on-site practice and news conference.

If Dean Smith had his way, the Tar Heels wouldn't come into town until late tonight. "I think it's early," Smith said of his team's arrival today. "We're trying not to miss too much class time."

It has nothing to do with New Orleans, since this city has been kind to Smith. Aside from his 1982 team beating Georgetown, Smith's 1976 team won a four-overtime game against Tulane here.

A $1 million shot

The NCAA tournament has tried to reduce the stress on players taking "money shots," but that doesn't mean there won't be a lot at stake this weekend.

Take the case of Bobby Shivar, a pipefitter from Beulaville, N.C. Shivar recently won a raffle contest to take a three-point shot for a prize of $1 million.

Shivar's chance comes Sunday during the Gillette Three-point Challenge at halftime of the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-Star Game at Lakefront Arena. Shivar will get one shot at the prize.

"Of course, I don't have anyone guarding me, but I'm under much more pressure that the [tournament] players," said Shivar, 45. "They aren't shooting for a million bucks."

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