April 12, 2023
by Josh Taubman and Spencer Raines

Good morning,

School is almost out and you know what that means.

Seniors! Yeah, graduation! Super exciting! Want to know what else is super exciting?

Working at a desk job you hate for the next 50 years and then crawling into your grave! Now that’s exciting.

And for all of you undergraduates who aren’t yet graduating, don’t worry, we’re not forgetting about you. It’s time to get excited for summer, yeah! Don’t think about the fact that this cycle is due to repeat in four months, just think about summer, yeah! 

Well, we don’t know about you but we need a distraction now! Good thing we have sports, huh?

Oh, Michigan lost in the Frozen Four, again? The baseball and softball teams are mediocre? Michigan is the leaders and best in what, exactly? We’re not sure! But hey, the sun is shining, students are populating the outdoor parts of campus again and you definitely have your post-grad plans all figured out. Vibes are good. (help)

Let’s just get into it.

Luke Hughes lowers his head and bends over as he stands on the ice at the Frozen Four.

Kate Hua/Daily. Buy this photo.

High risk, high reward, Luke Hughes’ last chance with Michigan slips away

After the Michigan hockey team’s crushing Frozen Four loss to Quinnipiac, no one felt lonelier than Luke Hughes. 

Hughes would not return to Ann Arbor with his team. Instead, he flew straight to Boston to sign his entry level contract with the visiting New Jersey Devils and immediately begin his NHL career. 

He knew his time with the Wolverines was coming to an end, but he wanted to extend it for at least one more game. Instead, he came up short. And his performance against the Bobcats encapsulated both the positives and negatives of his abilities as a player. 

Daily Sports Editor Noah Kingsley captured Hughes’ final act for Michigan:

“High risk, high reward. That’s what Hughes is. His dazzling skating and top-notch awareness created chance after chance for Michigan these past two seasons — even single-handedly winning the Wolverines games at times. But he’d also skate up too far, just like he did on Quinnipiac’s second goal, leaving Michigan vulnerable on the defensive end.”

Hughes’ ability to maneuver around defenders led to an assist on the game-tying goal in the second period. But his defensive lapses put the Wolverines in a hole in the first place. 

Ultimately, the risks did not pay off. 

Connor O’Halloran pitches the ball. His left arm is slung across his body and the ball is at the right side of the screen. His left leg is slightly up and the outfield umpire is blurry in the background.

Anna Fuder/Daily. Buy this photo.

Connor O’Halloran proving to be a steady presence in a season of unknowns

Have you ever changed? Switched up? Grown?

No, not as a person, but as a collegiate pitcher of course! 

Well, that’s exactly what Connor O’Halloran has done for the surging Michigan baseball team this season. After posting a subpar 5.44 ERA in 2022, the junior left-hander used the offseason to grow, and he’s posted a much-improved 1.92 ERA this season.

But it isn’t just O’Halloran’s numbers that have improved — it’s everything. From his demeanor to his presence, O’Halloran is everything the Wolverines have needed on the mound.

“O’Halloran’s 5-1 record on the mound is written proof that he gives the Wolverines a chance every time he plays — a luxury that not every team has, but every team desperately desires,” baseball beat writer Sam Novotny writes.

Pretty impressive stuff from O’Halloran to show all of us it’s never too late to make a change.

But please don’t change what you’re reading now, please continue reading this newsletter and supporting us — you can always make that big life change tomorrow! Just don’t do it right now, you’re too tired and comfortable and is that sleep you feel coming on? Yeah, just get cozy and worry about bettering yourself tomorrow.

Leigha Brown stands on the court in the spotlight and looks into the distance.

Anna Fuder/Daily. Buy this photo.

Leigha Brown selected No. 15 overall in WNBA draft

Leigha Brown didn’t begin her career in Ann Arbor, but she certainly left her mark at Michigan. Transferring in prior to the 2020-2021 season, Brown brought an influx of scoring that helped the Wolverines reach new heights in terms of the postseason success the last couple seasons. 

She further cemented her legacy this season when she stepped up as the team’s leader with Naz Hillmon moving on to the WNBA. 

“The fifth-year wing led the Wolverines in points and assists this season with 17.5 and 5.8 per game, respectively,” Daily Sports Writer Lys Goldman writes. “A three-time All-Big Ten selection in her three years at Michigan, Brown earned first-team honors this year while leading the Wolverines in her final season of eligibility.”

So it was no surprise when Brown heard her name called Monday night — as the Atlanta Dream selected her with the 15th overall pick in the WNBA draft. 

Fittingly, Brown will now reunite with Hillmon in the Peach State. The duo of former Wolverines will hope that like what they did for Michigan, they can engineer a similar turnaround in Atlanta. 

Composure and strong possession lead to Michigan’s 9-8 win over Indiana 

Michigan falls to Rutgers, 13-12, in overtime

Michigan dominates Purdue en route to 4-0 victory

Santa-Maria’s skills in goal secure victory for Michigan

Michigan falls short against Ohio State in three-hour rivalry epic    

Wolverines continue to struggle in doubles play as postseason looms

Lexi Blair is in her hitting stance. She is wearing a blue batting helmet, a maiz jersey and blue pants with a maize striper. Her bat is above her head as she looks towards the pitcher. Her teammates watch from behind the dugout as the michigan batter on deck mimics Blair’s position.

Ashley Gray/Daily. Buy this photo.

Zach Edwards: Michigan’s spark-based offense needs consistency, and it doesn’t have that yet

The Michigan softball team has won its last two Big Ten series. But it hasn’t done so in style, instead opting to barely scrape by off of a couple of runs here and there, with the occasional small offensive spark to get just enough.

It’s a recipe that’s proven successful for now, but what about later? Let’s consult softball beat writer and resident Hay Day player Zach Edwards for his thoughts:

“But those sparks of energy can only take you so far against stronger opponents,” Edwards writes.

“If the Wolverines want to contend against tenacious teams and accomplish their lofty goals, they will need to find consistency in their offense. Relying on small bursts of energy simply isn’t sustainable.”

What Edwards is saying is that while the recipe is working for the Wolverines right now, it could definitely sour sooner than you think. Winning is important, especially now after Michigan started the season cold, but if it wants to reach its lofty goals — no matter how unlikely that may be — that starts with finding some semblance of consistency on the offensive end.

If you want to hear more about the Wolverines’ stagnant offense, or if you really like rockets, read the rest of Edwards’s column.

Two Quinnipiac players use their sticks to block Dylan Duke from reaching the puck with his own stick.

Kate Hua/Daily. Buy this photo.

Chef’s Corner: What bets are Josh and Spencer cooking up?

Current record: 19 wins – 21 losses – 0 outstanding

This Week’s Menu

Appetizer (A bite-sized bet to cleanse the pallet of last week’s losses)

Golden State Warriors ML vs Sacramento Kings -110 (4/15)

Look, college sports are dying down. The betting options are few and far between. But we’re hungry for action so we’ll throw our support behind a former Michigan basketball star in the NBA. Jordan Poole and the Warriors get it done in Game One in Sactown. 

Main Course (Our meatiest — and most confident — bet)

Michigan Men’s Lacrosse +2 vs Penn State -110

Michigan Lax is on the up and up. The Wolverines beat then-No. 2 Maryland before falling in overtime to Rutgers. Next up is a ranked matchup with Penn State. 

Kevin Conry gets the boys fired up as home dogs and Michigan finds a way to pull it out (or at least lose by less than two).

Dessert (Not everyone has room for it, but if you have the appetite the results could be sweet)

Total Big Ten players drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft: over 8.5 -240

CJ Stroud. Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Peter Skoronski. DJ Turner???

The Big Ten had lots of talent on the gridiron this past season and we expect to see plenty of them getting their name called at the Draft in a couple weeks. 

The Michigan Daily Crossword is back with another Sunday puzzle! Thanks to our Web team and resident cruciverbalist Madison Hammond, The Daily has got you covered with an accessible, biweekly puzzle to keep you and your friends spelling words O-U-T.

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