Last week, Michigan was the last undefeated team in Division I and was on the precipice of grabbing the No. 1 ranking but fell at Ohio State. The Wolverines bounced back with a road win at No. 9 Minnesota — and made a statement that they’re worthy of the ranking this week.
It took some help — with No. 1 Louisville losing at home to Syracuse and Indiana falling at home to Wisconsin — but in my mind Michigan leapfrogs Duke and Kansas. I voted Michigan third, behind Louisville and Duke last week. Although Duke didn’t lose, U-M was able to get a road win against a ranked team — something the Blue Devils likely will not be able to do because N.C. State is the only other ranked team in the ACC. Duke has a better overall resume, but it’s also without the injured Ryan Kelly; without him, they’re not the best team in America.
Keep in mind that the rankings are on a week-to-week basis. It could change not only based on a loss, but on the teams that are behind them and how impressive the wins are. Michigan (17-1) plays Purdue at home Thursday and at Illinois on Sunday. Those wouldn’t be too spectacular wins, per se, but if Kansas or Syracuse has more impressive wins, the rankings could shift.
Kansas’ only loss is to Michigan State — and the Jayhawks beat the same Ohio State team in Columbus that topped Michigan. But I compare the losses — KU to the Spartans on a neutral court and U-M to the Buckeyes — and see that Michigan’s is a “better” loss.
Mine is just one of 65 votes in the Associated Press and may not make a difference in the top of the polls. But it’s just one man’s thoughts.
My AP ballot this week:
12. Michigan State
13. Ohio State
14. Kansas State
15. New Mexico
17. N.C. State
23. Wichita State