UM's Dakich asks fans to stick with team: 'We need you'

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Andrew Dakich

Michigan basketball got absolutely embarrassed, twice, last week on its home court.

First Indiana, then Michigan State took turns wiping the floor with the Wolverines -- before a couple packed crowds that had mostly flooded out of Crisler Center long before the games were over.

Michigan returns home Saturday to face Purdue. And one player is calling for the fans, especially the students, to stick with the Wolverines.

"We are a different team now with grittier guys who are getting to understand that our toughness and energy can win us these games (also helps if we can shoot that trey ball)," guard Andrew Dakich said in an open letter on Twitter on Friday. "There's only two things you can control out there, your attitude and your effort.

"I like our chances against anybody!"

Michigan is 18-7 and 8-4 in the Big Ten, with six regular-season Big Ten games to go.

Most believe the Wolverines have to get to 11 Big Ten wins to guarantee a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Saturday kicks off a tough home stretch that includes a home game against Purdue, on the road at Ohio State and Maryland, at home against Northwestern, on the road against Wisconsin and home against Iowa.

Michigan stopped the bleeding Wednesday with a victory at Minnesota.

"The Minnesota game was a step in the right direction," Dakich wrote on Twitter. "We said we got 7 games left and we took care of the first one.

"Bottom line is, to be something special we need you (MAIZE RAGE) more than ever (Saturday) against a ranked Purdue team that's coming off a win against MSU.

"Completely understand if you've given up on us, that's ok. We will make you all believe in this team when it's all said and done if this team is held accountable."

Dakich's memo to the Maize Rage, Michigan's student section, was posted shortly after 1:30 p.m. Friday, and was deleted shortly thereafter.

But not before it had been retweeted more than 40 times and "liked" more than 100 times.

He closed with one final plea to the Michigan students:

"I'm doing a lot of yapping and I'll stop, but I can't wait to see the Maize Rage charged up for tomorrow."

Last week, Michigan lost to Indiana, 80-67, and Michigan State, 89-73, neither of the games as close as the final score might indicate.

In its previous meeting against Purdue, Michigan lost, 87-70, at West Lafayette, Indiana, on Jan. 7.