Michigan Wolverines, Rising From The Ashes, Reach No. 4 In AP Poll In Historic Jump

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Playing small sample size theater, the Michigan Wolverines made the correct choice by hiring Juwan Howard to lead the program after John Beilein left for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Starting the 2019-20 college basketball season outside top 25 polls, a different song was sung when the latest AP Poll was released on Monday, slotting the 7-0 Wolverines as the No. 4 ranked team in the country.

Obviously, that’s an mind boggling upward trajectory by way of a completely objective power ranking system. Even with that being the case, there’s good reason for the previously unranked Wolverines to find itself in the company of other blue-blood programs.

With the 47th ranked strength of schedule, Michigan has already defeated Creighton, Iowa State, North Carolina and Gonzaga. The latter two, the Tar Heels and Bulldogs, are still top 10 ranked teams in this week’s AP Poll.

According to the AP, Michigan’s jump to No. 4 matches the 1989 Kansas Jayhawks for the biggest unranked jump in the history of the poll.

“I’m sure we’re on the map now,” Howard said. “A lot of teams are looking and seeing Michigan as a name that’s out there. When you beat teams like Creighton and Iowa State as well as North Carolina and Gonzaga, you’re no longer under the radar.”

A tough road still needs navigation for Howard and company, though. There will be no resting on their laurels, as the No. 1 ranked Louisville Cardinals are next up on Michigan’s docket.

Louisville is actually the fourth team in five weeks to secure the No. 1 overall ranking, receiving all but 17 of the 65 first place votes placed. Others receiving first place votes were the Wolverines (nine), Virginia Cavaliers (five) and Kansas Jayhawks (three).

Despite heading into the season with arguably the most hyped group of freshmen outside of Penny Hardaway’s Memphis Tigers, Louisville coach Chris Mack isn’t looking at the top ranking as some sort of victory or destination.

“There’s no team that’s arrived. No team’s arrived,” Cardinals coach Chris Mack said. “A lot of people are saying that we haven’t played anybody. A lot of people are saying we’re not there. Maybe we aren’t deserving. I don’t care.”

Honestly, it’s the best sentiment to be had with early December polls creating zero impact relative to what will happen come March. As written about previously, not only are preseason polls mostly worthless — highlighted by a young season already featuring a handful of No. 1 ranked teams — but early season polls are closer to a viewers’ guide to college basketball than it is an accurate prediction for what the standings will look like come Selection Sunday.

In other notable moves, the immortal Leonard Hamilton and the Florida State Seminoles earned enough votes to be ranked for the first time this season (17th); Utah State dropped 10 spots to 25; and Dayton (19th) moved into a ranked position for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

Full AP Top 25 Poll

  1. Louisville
  2. Kansas
  3. Maryland
  4. Michigan
  5. Virginia
  6. Ohio State
  7. North Carolina
  8. Kentucky
  9. Gonzaga
  10. Duke
  11. Michigan State
  12. Arizona
  13. Oregon
  14. Auburn
  15. Memphis
  16. Seton Hall
  17. Florida State
  18. Baylor
  19. Dayton
  20. Colorado
  21. Tennessee
  22. Washington
  23. Villanova
  24. Butler
  25. Utah State

Others receiving votes: Florida 111, Xavier 91, San Diego St. 89, Saint Mary's (Cal) 86, Oklahoma St. 85, Texas Tech 43, West Virginia 28, Purdue 24, DePaul 18, Arkansas 17, Indiana 13, Penn St. 9, Stephen F Austin 7, Oklahoma 6, Liberty 5, Notre Dame 2, Richmond 2, VCU 2, SMU 1, Delaware 1.

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Playing small sample size theater, the Michigan Wolverines made the correct choice by hiring Juwan Howard to lead the program after John Beilein left for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Starting the 2019-20 college basketball season outside top 25 polls, a different song was sung when the latest AP Poll was released on Monday, slotting the 7-0 Wolverines as the No. 4 ranked team in the country.

Obviously, that’s an mind boggling upward trajectory by way of a completely objective power ranking system. Even with that being the case, there’s good reason for the previously unranked Wolverines to find itself in the company of other blue-blood programs.

With the 47th ranked strength of schedule, Michigan has already defeated Creighton, Iowa State, North Carolina and Gonzaga. The latter two, the Tar Heels and Bulldogs, are still top 10 ranked teams in this week’s AP Poll.

According to the AP, Michigan’s jump to No. 4 matches the 1989 Kansas Jayhawks for the biggest unranked jump in the history of the poll.

“I’m sure we’re on the map now,” Howard said. “A lot of teams are looking and seeing Michigan as a name that’s out there. When you beat teams like Creighton and Iowa State as well as North Carolina and Gonzaga, you’re no longer under the radar.”

A tough road still needs navigation for Howard and company, though. There will be no resting on their laurels, as the No. 1 ranked Louisville Cardinals are next up on Michigan’s docket.

Louisville is actually the fourth team in five weeks to secure the No. 1 overall ranking, receiving all but 17 of the 65 first place votes placed. Others receiving first place votes were the Wolverines (nine), Virginia Cavaliers (five) and Kansas Jayhawks (three).

Despite heading into the season with arguably the most hyped group of freshmen outside of Penny Hardaway’s Memphis Tigers, Louisville coach Chris Mack isn’t looking at the top ranking as some sort of victory or destination.

“There’s no team that’s arrived. No team’s arrived,” Cardinals coach Chris Mack said. “A lot of people are saying that we haven’t played anybody. A lot of people are saying we’re not there. Maybe we aren’t deserving. I don’t care.”

Honestly, it’s the best sentiment to be had with early December polls creating zero impact relative to what will happen come March. As written about previously, not only are preseason polls mostly worthless — highlighted by a young season already featuring a handful of No. 1 ranked teams — but early season polls are closer to a viewers’ guide to college basketball than it is an accurate prediction for what the standings will look like come Selection Sunday.

In other notable moves, the immortal Leonard Hamilton and the Florida State Seminoles earned enough votes to be ranked for the first time this season (17th); Utah State dropped 10 spots to 25; and Dayton (19th) moved into a ranked position for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

Full AP Top 25 Poll

  1. Louisville
  2. Kansas
  3. Maryland
  4. Michigan
  5. Virginia
  6. Ohio State
  7. North Carolina
  8. Kentucky
  9. Gonzaga
  10. Duke
  11. Michigan State
  12. Arizona
  13. Oregon
  14. Auburn
  15. Memphis
  16. Seton Hall
  17. Florida State
  18. Baylor
  19. Dayton
  20. Colorado
  21. Tennessee
  22. Washington
  23. Villanova
  24. Butler
  25. Utah State

Others receiving votes: Florida 111, Xavier 91, San Diego St. 89, Saint Mary's (Cal) 86, Oklahoma St. 85, Texas Tech 43, West Virginia 28, Purdue 24, DePaul 18, Arkansas 17, Indiana 13, Penn St. 9, Stephen F Austin 7, Oklahoma 6, Liberty 5, Notre Dame 2, Richmond 2, VCU 2, SMU 1, Delaware 1.

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I have been covering college basketball for roughly a decade for various outlets. These publications include Cox Media Group, FRS Sports and SLAM. Having spent time as

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