Feb. 15, 2013
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- This weekend is going to be a memorable one for the University of Michigan men's and women's basketball programs, as hundreds of U-M basketball alumni and special guests will take part in the Crisler Center Dedication Weekend presented by the University of Michigan Credit Union.
In addition to several special events to dedicate the renovated and expanded facility, the Wolverines men's team will host Penn State on Sunday (Feb. 17) at noon inside Crisler Center. With two road losses in the rearview mirror, Michigan will look to bounce back against the Nittany Lions. The Wolverines will have several extra special fans in the crowd to help cheer them to victory, including former U-M players Cazzie Russell, Glen Rice, Jimmy King and recent captain Zack Novak.
Michigan's homecourt advantage will play a key role in getting the Wolverines back on track. At the last home game against Ohio State, Crisler was packed to capacity with fans cheering louder than they had in years. The Wolverines have the same hopes for Sunday's matchup with Penn State. The athletic department is going to "Stripe Out" the entire arena for the game with the Nittany Lions, with each section having a designated maize or blue color.
The weekend is sure to be fun for all involved, but the most important goal for the Wolverines is to conclude the festivities with one more tally in the win column.
The Wolverines held a media roundtable on Friday (Feb. 15) prior to kicking off the Crisler Center Dedication Weekend with a special "Return to Crisler" event. Former Wolverine football player and Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard will host the event, which will feature basketball greats Cazzie Russell, Diane Dietz and Glen Rice discussing their time at Michigan and what being a Wolverine has meant to their success.
In addition to coach John Beilein speaking with the media, senior captain Josh Bartelstein sat down for a brief interview to talk about the team overcoming adversity and the excitement building around this weekend's events.
U-M Senior Guard Josh Bartelstein
On bouncing back from two consecutive losses ... "I think for us it's just about get back to work. We had a really good day of practice the other day and we'll have another really good one today. We still have a huge belief in our team. Every team goes through these little slumps, and we just have to find out what's wrong. We have great coaches who will point out those things, and we just have to keep getting better. Everyone is working harder than ever, and there is no doubt on this team that we can achieve everything that we want to achieve."
On returning home for the Crisler Dedication Weekend ... "We love playing at Crisler Center. We think we have one of the biggest homecourt advantages in the country. The Michigan family is a huge family. We always talk about playing for each other, but we also play for our alumni and those who have played before us. They put their heart on the line every single game and played for the block M, and that's what we're doing now. We want to put on a good show for them and show them that we represent the Michigan Wolverines, just like when they were playing."
On making the atmosphere at the Ohio State game a consistent feel at Crisler ... "I think that was, if not the loudest, right up there with the loudest it's ever been in Crisler Center. Fans don't understand how big of an advantage that is to have that homecourt advantage -- they think it's just something people talk about a lot, but when you can make the opponent feel uncomfortable and they can't hear the plays their coaches are calling, it gives them that little bit of doubt that makes a big difference. We've played some tough road games this year where it was really loud, and we want that at our home court. I'm sure our fans on Sunday are going to be really loud because they enjoy watching us play and we love playing for them."
On the improvements to Crisler Center throughout his career ... "If you're a basketball player at Michigan, I don't think you could want anything more. We have the nicest practice facility in the country, we have probably the nicest arena in the country, and when we come over for practice or a game, we don't ever have to leave because everything we need is right here. We appreciate it and we know a lot of people worked really hard. A lot of the credit goes to the people that played before us who made this brand so special. I think it will be really cool for all the alumni to come back. Their eyes will probably be wide open because you can talk about this place all you want, but until you see it, there are really no words to describe how amazing it is."
Contact: Tom Wywrot, Whitney Dixon (734) 763-4423