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Posted on Mon, Dec 26, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

Michigan basketball team up in both major polls on eve of Big Ten play

By Nick Baumgardner

For just the second time in 14 years, the Michigan basketball team will enter Big Ten play with a national ranking.

Now all the Wolverines have to do is hang onto it.

Michigan climbed in both major college basketball polls Monday, moving up two spots to No. 18 in The Associated Press' Top 25, and three spots up in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll to No. 16.

The Wolverines open Big Ten play Thursday at home against Penn State (7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network).


The Michigan basketball team moved up in the major polls.

Jeff Sainlar |

The last time a Michigan team entered Big Ten play with a national ranking in both polls came during the 2008-09 campaign, John Beilein's second season with the program.

That season, the 23rd-ranked Wolverines dropped their Big Ten opener, 72-61, at home against Wisconsin. Michigan fell out of the polls for good three weeks later, though it did manage to advance to the NCAA tournament.

Prior to the '08-'09 campaign, the last time Michigan entered Big Ten play with a national ranking was the 1997-98 season.

The Wolverines, ranked 18th, beat Wisconsin 76-63 in Madison. Michigan climbed to as high as No. 16 during the regular season that year before winning the inaugural Big Ten Tournament, eventually falling in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The university would later vacate all victories, including the Big Ten Tournament crown, due to NCAA sanctions.

Five Big Ten teams are ranked in both major polls.

Ohio State (No. 2 AP, No. 2 coaches), Wisconsin (No. 11 AP, No. 11 coaches), Indiana (No. 13 AP, No. 15 coaches), Michigan State (No. 16 AP, No. 17 coaches) and Michigan (No. 18 AP, No. 16 coaches).

Illinois fell from the rankings this week.

The top five in the AP poll remained the same, with Syracuse holding down the No. 1 spot, followed by Ohio State, Kentucky, Louisville and North Carolina. Baylor, Duke, Missouri, Connecticut and Florida rounded out the top 10.

Syracuse, Ohio State, Kentucky, Louisville and Duke made up the top five in the coaches poll. North Carolina, Baylor, Missouri, Connecticut and Florida rounded out the top 10.

Ex-Michigan coach Tommy Amaker saw his Harvard squad return to both polls this week, re-entering at No. 24 in the AP poll, and moving up to No. 23 in the coaches poll.

Another former Michigan coach also made a Top 25 season debut this week, as San Diego State (coached by ex-Wolverine boss Steve Fisher) entered the AP poll at No. 25.

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.

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Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 10:46 p.m.

Interesting how Indiana passed us due to the stellar play of it freshman class. In his firth or sixth year coaching, Beilein is not permitted to say that he's coaching a young team. If the team is young, its because he recruited poorly. Trey Burke is young but ready. And, if at the end of the season Tommy Amaker's team passes him in the rankings, I would just flat out fire him.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Dec 27, 2011 : 7:36 p.m.

Great. Now all we need to do is beat up on the Big Ten. :-/ Go Blue!