Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Michigan Ranked #5 In Preseason USA Today Poll

The first rankings of the 2012-2013 season have been released and they have been very positive for Michigan.  The Wolverines have been ranked #5 in the preseason poll, which is their highest preseason ranking since 1993.  This means that this is the highest preseason ranking for Michigan basketball since the Fab Five era.  When you're talking about an almost two decade span since this type of ranking, it's a pretty significant achievement for the team and program.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed, even with this type of ranking, but as I discussed in my 2012-2013 Expectations post, there is a lot of hope when a team is ranked in the Top 5.  For instance, four of the teams ranked in the Top 5 last season made it to the Elite Eight.  Really, only one of the teams had a letdown year, but they still had a pretty good record and made it to the NCAA Tournament.  If that's the floor for success, that's a pretty good sign for a program like Michigan that's still somewhat in the building stages.

Here is where the Big Ten landed in the rankings:

Nothing is too surprising about these rankings except one thing.  How is Ohio State #4?  Yes, they have recruited very well in the past and return Craft and Thomas, but come on.  I really think this is the result of voters being a prisoner of the past.  OSU had a very good team over the last few years, but that doesn't mean anything in relation to this team, especially since two of their best players left in the offseason.  If the Buckeyes can finish even near the #4 spot at the end of the season, I will be impressed.  To me, this is completely flawed, but I think they will be exposed during the season.

The only other thing that surprised me was that Minnesota wasn't ranked.  I thought they might have enough to slip in the rankings.  Of course, the Big Ten still fared very well and there is still a good chance for teams like Wisconsin and Minnesota to move up, but I thought those two would be a bit higher.  Either way, Michigan is very high on these rankings and it only further adds to the offseason hype and excitement for this Wolverines team.  Are they good enough to warrant #5?  I think so, but we will see as the season begins.

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