Michigan Takes No. 1 Spot for First Time Since Fab Five, But Wolverines Face Tests This Week

MichiganThe University of Michigan is No. 1 in the updated Associated Press poll, marking the first time the Wolverines have been in the top spot since the start of the 1992-93 season. That was year two of the storied Fab Five, and Michigan reached the NCAA championship game for the second straight season. Current Michigan star Trey Burke was less than a month old then.

It’s the fourth time overall that Michigan has been No. 1. Michigan’s 19-1 start is the best in school history, but the top ranking for Joe Beilien‘s team could be short-lived, as the Wolverines have a huge matchup at No. 3 (and preseason No. 1) Indiana on Saturday in the game of the week. The Hoosiers were Bovada’s national title favorites at 5-1, with Michigan at 6-1 entering this week.

Indiana has been tremendous at home against ranked teams since star sophomore Cody Zeller arrived. On Dec. 10, 2011, unranked Indiana hosted No. 1 Kentucky and upset the eventual national champions 73-72 on a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Christian Watford. It was Indiana’s first win over a top-ranked team since beating Duke in the 2002 NCAA Tournament and just the second time Indiana beat a No. 1 team at Assembly Hall.

The Hoosiers have built a deep resume throughout the years. Last season at Assembly Hall, they defeated No. 2 Ohio State, No. 13 Michigan (73-71 behind 25 points from Watford) and No. 5 Michigan State. This year, Indiana is 3-0 at home against Top 25 teams, crushing No. 14 North Carolina 83-59, No. 8 Minnesota 88-81 and No. 13 Michigan State 75-70. Overall, Indiana has nine wins over ranked teams in Assembly Hall in the past 24 months.

Michigan also can’t overlook who is in their path next, as Wednesday could present a trap game at home against Northwestern. The Wildcats were no match for Michigan on Jan. 3 in Evanston, losing 94-66. The Wolverines could be short-handed for Wednesday. Starting forward Jordan Morgan left Sunday’s 64-50 win at Illinois after injuring his ankle in the first half. He didn’t return and is questionable for Northwestern. Morgan averages 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 19.9 minutes of action. He had 12 points and 13 rebounds in the first meeting with Northwestern.

Elsewhere in college basketball, Kansas has edged Michigan for the top spot in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Jayhawks (19-1) won 61-57 at West Virginia on Monday night for their college basketball-leading 18th straight victory. One of those wins came at Ohio State, the lone team to beat Michigan so far. It’s the first No. 1 ranking for Kansas since Feb. 14, 2011, but the 20th time atop the polls under coach Bill Self. Kansas is two wins shy of matching its longest winning streak under Self and is 9-1 to win the national title.

While Michigan will be an underdog at Indiana on Saturday, the Jayhawks’ upcoming schedule is very manageable. Kansas hosts unranked Oklahoma State on Saturday and will be a solid favorite. The Jayhawks will also be favored Feb. 6 at Big 12 doormat TCU and Feb. 9 at Oklahoma, a team Kansas beat Saturday by 13 points. The only game Kansas has remaining on its regular-season schedule against a ranked foe is Feb. 11 versus No. 18 Kansas State. The Jayhawks have owned the Wildcats, winning 45 of the previous 48 meetings. Kansas won in Manhattan 59-55 on Jan. 22.

Photo via Facebook/Michigan Basketball

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