DETROIT (AP) – Dave Bing raves about the University of Michigan Wolverines, but Detroit’s mayor is putting his faith — and a dinner bet — on Syracuse University.
Syracuse, Bing’s alma mater, meets Michigan in a Saturday night semifinal of the NCAA tournament in Atlanta.
The Wolverines sport a dynamic backcourt led by Associated Press player of the year Trey Burke and have been bolstered through the team’s tournament run by freshman forward Mitch McGary.
“Michigan has probably got more balance than anybody else,” Bing told the AP Friday. “I’m hopeful Syracuse is going to win. Then I’ll be coming back, I’m sure, for the championship game.”
Bing was an All-American at Syracuse, averaging nearly 25 points per game over three seasons. He was drafted by the NBA’s Detroit Pistons with the No. 2 overall pick in 1966. The 6-foot, 3-inch guard spent nine of his 12 years in the NBA with Detroit, averaging more than 22 points per game as a Piston.
He opened Bing Steel in Detroit in 1980 and saw it expand over the years into several companies under the Bing Group umbrella. He was elected in 1990 to the professional basketball Hall of Fame and was elected Detroit’s mayor in 2009.
Still a fan, Bing remains close to the Syracuse basketball program. He will attend Saturday’s game and acknowledges it’s “not going to be an easy win” for Syracuse.
Bing also has bet Detroit’s new emergency manager that Syracuse advances to the tournament’s final game Monday. Last month, Gov. Rick Snyder appointed bankruptcy attorney and fiscal turnaround specialist Kevyn Orr as emergency manager over Detroit’s finances, which include a $327 million budget deficit and more than $14 billion in long-term debt.
Orr also is a college basketball fan — and a University of Michigan graduate.
Bing said the meal will be somewhere in Motown.
“I want to make sure he spends his money in Detroit,” Bing said.
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