Can the Wolverines Hold the Top Spot?
With a season-high 13 turnovers and a scoreless night from third leading scorer Nik Stauskas, the Ohio State loss brought a lot of critique and skepticism to the team. The talent is there, but can they win the games that matter most?
Well this past Sunday they had another opportunity to claim the top seed in the nation, and this time around, they didn’t disappoint. With a 74-60 win on the road against Illinois, the Wolverines claimed the #1 ranking in the AP Poll for the first time since 1993.
Now the question is how long they can hold on to it.
In their first appearance this year as #1-Ranked-Michigan, the Wolverines took down the Northwestern Wildcats 68-46 behind 18 points and 8 assists from Trey Burke. Yet what was most remarkable was the season-low in turnovers: only 2!
The Big Ten schedule is as grueling as possible this year, and things don’t get any tougher than they will this Saturday in Indiana, when the Wolverines will take on the 3rd ranked Hoosiers.
Both teams are 7-1 in the Big Ten and feature two of the NCAA’s top Player of the Year Candidates in Burke and Cody Zeller. Both teams are also really deep and extremely efficient on the offensive end.
If the Hoosiers pull out the victory, they’ll have a good deal of consideration for the Number One spot in the AP Poll the following week. And if the Wolverines come away victorious, they still have their fair share of tests on the horizon. Following Saturday’s matchup, Michigan has three straight challenges: At home against Ohio State, a road games at Wisconsin, and the first meeting of the year with Michigan State in East Lansing’s Breslin Center.