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.
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|
|5||San Diego State||18-1||1,337|
- 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|
|5||San Diego State||18-1||653|
- 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
Rankings and standings courtesy of ESPN
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer