Michigan, Indiana basketball set pace in deep Big Ten
BY HERB GOULD firstname.lastname@example.org January 28, 2013 7:14PM
Michigan's Trey Burke (3) shoots a 3-pointer in front of Illinois' D.J. Richardson (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, in Champaign, Ill. Michigan won 74-60. (AP Photo/John Dixon)
With a trio of two-loss teams lurking behind them, No. 1 Michigan and No. 3 Indiana will need to stay sharp to remain atop the Big Ten.Here’s a look at the five contenders’ remaining games against the other one- and two-loss teams:
• INDIANA (5) — Michigan and Ohio State at home; Ohio State,
Michigan State and Michigan away.
• MICHIGAN (6) — Ohio State, Michigan State and Indiana at home; Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan State away.
• MICHIGAN STATE (5) — Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin at home; Ohio State and Michigan away.
• OHIO STATE (6) — Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan State at home; Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana away.
• WISCONSIN (4) — Michigan and Ohio State at home; Ohio State and Michigan State away.
Updated: January 28, 2013 11:40PM
Michigan ascended to No. 1 in the Associated Press media poll Monday for the first time since the Fab Five were rocking around the court in the fall of 1992.
Kansas moved up to No. 1 in the USA Today coaches’ poll in the wake of Duke’s 27-point loss last week at Miami.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, whose team handed the Jayhawks their only loss, put in a good word for the Wolverines, saying: ‘‘Michigan deserves to be No. 1 if you look at their body of work.’’
The Wolverines are taking their lofty rankings in stride.
‘‘They don’t give out banners for being No. 1,’’ star guard Trey Burke said, alluding to Michigan’s goals for the Big Ten season and beyond. ‘‘It’s something great to have, but we know we have a lot to work on to get better.’’
After hosting Northwestern on Wednesday, the Wolverines will have a high-profile showdown against No. 3 Indiana on Saturday in Bloomington (8 p.m., ESPN). The teams are tied for the Big Ten lead at 6-1.
The Hoosiers, who were atop the rankings for the first six weeks of the season, and Michigan are the fifth and sixth Big Ten teams to be ranked No. 1 in the last
decade. They follow Illinois in 2004-05, Ohio State and Wisconsin in
2006-07 and the Buckeyes again in 2010-11.
In light of their pending clash Saturday, it’s fitting that Indiana guard Victor Oladipo was named Big Ten player of the week and Wolverines forward Glenn Robinson III was named Big Ten freshman of the week.
Oladipo had 21 points, seven rebounds, six steals and three blocked shots in the Hoosiers’ 75-70 victory Sunday against Michigan State. Robinson averaged 12 points and eight rebounds in Michigan’s victories against Purdue and Illinois. He was a combined 10-for-14 from the field.
In a measure of Indiana’s and Michigan’s quality depth, center Cody Zeller is the Hoosiers’ best-known star and guards Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. are the Wolverines’ most celebrated duo. All three are among the Big Ten’s top five scorers.
And in a measure of the Big Ten’s quality depth, No. 11 Ohio State,
No. 13 Michigan State and Wisconsin are hardly out of the race.
Michigan faces an especially stiff challenge. After their game against Northwestern, the Wolverines play
three of their next four games at Indiana, at Wisconsin and at Michigan State, with a home game against Ohio State.
‘‘Our big thing is, let’s keep getting better,’’ Michigan coach John Beilein said. ‘‘We’re focused on winning a Big Ten championship. And bigger and better things might come out of the Big Ten champion. That’s the No. 1 we’re looking for.’’