Jan 25, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Derrick Walton Jr. (10) looks to pass the ball against the Michigan State Spartans during the 2nd half of a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Michigan won 80-75. Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Basketball: Streaking Wolverines rise 11 spots in both polls–now 10th in AP, 14th in USA Today


Michigan’s basketball team was rewarded in a pair of national polls Monday for consecutively beating three Top-10 teams. Michigan defeated then No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 10 Iowa and No. 3 Michigan State in succession.

Polls telling the story

The Wolverines, who’ve won nine straight and remain the  Big 10′s only undefeated team,  climbed 11 spots in both the AP and USA Today/Coaches polls. Michigan, coming off the thrilling 80-75 victory at Michigan State, is ranked 10th by the AP and 14th by USA Today.

Michigan has built a 15-4 overall mark and a perfect 7-0 record in the Big Ten by overcoming the premature departures of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr.  to the NBA.  U-M has also been without sophomore center/forward Mitch McGary, who’s missed the last 15 games due to a back injury which required surgery.

Wolverines’  Beilein earning his pay

McGary, who blossomed in the second half of his freshman year,  will most likely miss the remainder of the season.  McGary, however,  isn’t so sure.

A  potential All-American,  McGary’s loss was expected to end any aspirations of a second-straight NCAA tournament run.

But coach John Beilein has pieced together a pretty good basketball team.

Called by many the two-headed center, the combination of  graduate student Jordan Morgan and redshirt junior Jon Horford has kept the Wolverines from getting overwhelmed on the glass.

Stauskas, Walton grab hardware

Sophomore Nik Stauskas has picked up the scoring load in addition to being a sound playmaker.  Stauskas, who leads the team in scoring (18.5) and assists (69 total), was just named Big Ten Player of the Week for the second straight time.

Speaking of awards,  point guard Derrick Walton, Jr.  was just named  Big Ten Freshman of the Week.  All he did in the victory over State was score 19 points, pull down six rebounds and dish out four assists, all with only one turnover. And, he hit nine of 10 free throws.

Glenn Robinson III, who contributes at both ends of the court, is hitting 50% from the floor.

LeVert’s versatility 

Caris LeVert, who alternates between shooting guard and small forward, averages just under 12 points a game. LeVert is hitting a solid 80% from the charity stripe.

Then there’s sophomore Spike Albrecht, who has shared the point guard slot while Walton becomes comfortable.  Who can forget his three-point exhibition in last season’s national championship game.

Freshman Zak Irvin, whose lofty title of Indiana’s Mr. Basketball hasn’t slowed him a bit, could be a major contributor before season’s end.

But first things first. Michigan will be going for 10 straight Thursday night  (Jan. 30).  The game at Crisler Center is scheduled for 9 pm and will be televised by ESPN.  Look for GBMWolverine.com’s preview before the game.

AP Top 25
RK TEAM RECORD PTS
1 Arizona (63) 20-0 1,623
2 Syracuse (2) 19-0 1,561
3 Florida 17-2 1,436
4 Wichita State 21-0 1,435
5 San Diego State 18-1 1,337
6 Kansas 15-4 1,272
7 Michigan State 18-2 1,251
8 Oklahoma State 16-3 1,067
9 Villanova 17-2 1,063
10 Michigan 15-4 1,050
11 Kentucky 15-4 896
12 Louisville 17-3 891
13 Cincinnati 19-2 793
14 Wisconsin 17-3 763
15 Iowa 16-4 722
16 Iowa State 15-3 684
17 Duke 16-4 549
18 Pittsburgh 18-2 517
19 Saint Louis 18-2 464
20 Creighton 17-3 445
21 Massachusetts 17-2 353
22 Memphis 15-4 262
23 Oklahoma 16-4 203
24 Ohio State 16-4 143
25 Texas 16-4 142
  • Others receiving votes: Connecticut 67, Gonzaga 51, UCLA 39, Virginia 18, Minnesota 5, George Washington 5, Kansas State 5, Green Bay 5, Southern Methodist 3, Southern Miss 1, Louisiana Tech 1, Harvard 1, American University 1, New Mexico 1
  • Dropped from rankings: Kansas State 22, Baylor 24

 

USA Today Coaches Poll
RK TEAM RECORD PTS
1 Arizona (31) 20-0 799
2 Syracuse (1) 19-0 769
3 Wichita State 21-0 724
4 Florida 17-2 694
5 San Diego State 18-1 653
6 Michigan State 18-2 621
7 Louisville 17-3 552
7 Kansas 15-4 552
9 Villanova 17-2 509
10 Oklahoma State 16-3 497
11 Kentucky 15-4 433
12 Iowa 16-4 386
13 Wisconsin 17-3 368
14 Michigan 15-4 346
15 Cincinnati 19-2 323
16 Duke 16-4 298
17 Pittsburgh 18-2 279
18 Iowa State 15-3 268
19 Massachusetts 17-2 265
20 Creighton 17-3 229
21 Saint Louis 18-2 218
22 Memphis 15-4 155
23 Ohio State 16-4 118
24 Gonzaga 18-3 114
25 Oklahoma 16-4 85
  • Others receiving votes: Texas 41, Virginia 26, UCLA 22, Connecticut 18, George Washington 8, Baylor 6, Kansas State 6, Southern Miss 6, Toledo 5, Colorado 5, Southern Methodist 1, Stephen F. Austin 1
  • Dropped from rankings: Baylor 23

 

Big Ten Standings

TEAM CONF OVERALL
Michigan 7-0 15-4
Michigan State 7-1 18-2
Iowa 5-2 16-4
Wisconsin 4-3 17-3
Minnesota 4-4 15-6
Ohio State 3-4 16-4
Indiana 3-4 13-7
Purdue 3-4 13-7
Northwestern 3-5 10-11
Nebraska 2-5 10-9
Illinois 2-6 13-8
Penn State 1-6 10-10

Rankings and standings courtesy of ESPN

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer

 

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