The Michigan mens basketball team let a chance at a number one ranking go to waste two weeks ago when they lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Thanks to some turmoil at the top of the polls since then, Michigan found themselves with another opportunity to state their case for the top spot in next week’s poll.
All that stood in their way was a road game against Illinois. Winning on the road in the Big Ten is never easy and the Illini already have some nice wins on their tournament resume. But Michigan had the look of a national power in defeating Illinois 74-60.
That’s not to say it was always easy. The Wolverines lost Jordan Morgan to injury in the first half but Jon Horford and Max Bielfeldt were willing and able to step up in his place. Horford made all three of his field goal attempts and pulled down five rebounds while Bielfeldt grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds. Mitch McGary was his usual self, pulling down eight boards and scoring six points in 16 minutes of action.
While McGary, Bielfeldt and Horford did the bulk of the dirty work on both ends of the court, the Wolverines featured a balanced offensive attack en route to shooting over 50% from the field. Trey Burke had a game-high 19 points while Nik Stauskas, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III also reached double figures.
It would seem a forgone conclusion that Michigan will find themselves ranked number one for the first time since 1992 when the new top 25 polls are released tomorrow.