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Remembering better basketball times — Cazzie Russell, Rudy T. and all that

Is there a more overrated sporting event than the NCAA basketball tournament? Maybe soccer’s World Cup, but I doubt it.

This year’s brick-fest was also a rout-fest, as the tourney failed to produce anything close to the number of dramatic contests one would expect from so many games between alleged quality teams.

To relieve the boredom, and to remember better times, I thought I’d come up with all-time all-star teams for this year’s Final Four schools. Let’s start with tradition-rich University of Michigan, winner of one NCAA title and runner-up mulitiple times.

First Team:
Gary Grant (1985-88)

This great point guard is fourth on the all-time Michigan scoring list and is the school’s all-time leading assist man.

Glenn Rice (1986-89)

One of the greatest shooters in the history of the college game, Rice led the Wolverines to their only national title. He’s also their all-time leading scorer.

Cazze Russell (1964-66)

Jazzie Cazzie was a scoring machine. He averaged 27 points per game during his college career and 30.8 in his senior season. Michigan won the Big Ten crown in each of Russell’s three seasons, and he led the team to the Final Four (third place) in 1964.

Rudy Tomjanovich (1968-70)

These days, most fans remember Rudy T as a successful NBA coach and perhaps as the victim of Kermit Washington’s famous haymaker. But Tomjanovic is one of the best big men ever to play the college game. At Michigan, he averaged 25.1 points and 14 rebounds per game. As a senior the numbers were 30 and 15.5.

Bill Buntin (1963-65)

Buntin was the center on two Big Ten championship teams and on the 1964 Final Four outfit. He averaged 22 points and 13 rebounds during his Michigan career.

Second Team
Rumeal Robinson (1988-90)

The point guard on the national championship team, Robinson is second on Michigan’s all-time assist list. He shot 53 percent from the field during his college career.

Mike McGee (1978-81)

He’s number two on the all-time school scoring list. In his final season at Michigan, McGee averaged 24.4 points per game with a .515 shooting percentage.

Henry Wilmore (1971-73)

This name won’t be familiar to many because Wilmore had no pro career. In college, though, he averaged 23.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. His best year was his sophomore season in which he averaged 25.1 and 9.8.

Chris Webber (1992-93)

The fabbest of the Fab Five, Webber led Michigan to the national championship game in each of his two years at the school. Had he stayed for a third, Webber almost certainly would an all-time first-teamer.

Phil Hubbard (1976-79)

Hubbard was a sophomore on the 1976 national runner-up. That year, he averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds per game. The next year, he was even better (19.6 points and 13 rebounds). After that, a serious injury slowed him down considerably, but he’s still number four on Michigan’s all-time rebounding list.

It looks like we have three scholarships left. Let’s award them to Ricky Green (top star of the 1976 national runner-up team, for whom he averaged 20 points per game), Campy Russell (he averaged 24.6 points and 11.6 rebounds in 1974), and Juwon Howard (the second fabbest of the Fab Five).

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