Thursday, January 24, 2013

Michigan basketball #1?

Currently #2, the Wolverines have another shot at sitting on top of the heap. All they have to do is take care of business with unranked Purdue at home and presto, they get to be king of the hill for a while. (Though I suppose technically they also have to knock off Illinois on the road this Sunday and then wait for next week's "official" rankings to come out on Monday.)

They had a similar opportunity earlier this year when then top-ranked Indiana got beat, but the Wolverines lost a heart-breaker to the Buckeyes in Columbus shortly thereafter to fall back themselves.

This comes about because something unbelievable just happened to former #1 Duke. Given so many good teams these days, it's not so surprising anymore when just about anybody suffers a loss, but the amazing thing is HOW Coach K's boys lost. Miami (Fl) 90, Duke 63. Twenty seven points? Can that be right? As in 13 buckets and a free-throw worth? Wow, who would have believed it?

Of course, it matters little at this point of the season who #1 is. After all, once the NCAA tournament starts in March, other than going in as a #1 seed and possibly getting to play the first couple games close to home, it's all just "make-believe" right now anyway. Nonetheless, it has to be a pretty good feeling knowing you're #1, if even for a little while.

It's highly unlikely Michigan will "run the table" the rest of the regular season. There's too many good teams they have to face yet in their own conference. Two with arch-rival Michigan State, two with Indiana, another one with OSU, and even though they beat Minnesota on the road, there's no guarantee the Golden Gophers won't come into Ann Arbor and return the favor. Wisconsin's pretty good too. There's 6-7 other teams in the Big 10 that could get hot on any given night and knock off the Wolverines. It's a tough conference, and that's assuming the Wolverines don't suffer any injuries to key players along the way -- never a given.

Let's just hope they don't revert back to their usual default mode like they have so many times over the years when they experience success. That would be the "arrogant/cocky" thing rearing its ugly head again. There must be something in the air in Ann Arbor. It seems like every time one of their teams gets a little fame -- WHAM -- it goes right to their heads and they start strutting around like trash-talking peacocks thinking they're royalty or something, only to get knocked off themselves shortly thereafter by a hungrier team. How many times have we seen THAT happen?

Yep, it's a long way from the Final Four, let alone a championship (and don't think Tom Izzo of Michigan State is exactly shaking in his boots), but for now, congrats to the Wolverines for being in the position they're in. Go Blue.

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