NCAA Basketball Big 10 BasketballMichigan Wolverines

Top 5 Reasons Why Michigan Will Win the National Championship

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Michigan Wolverines Will Be NCAA Champions

Michigan Wolverines Will Be NCAA Champions
USA TODAY Sports-Brad Penner

The Michigan Wolverines find themselves in a perfect situation. If the team wins on Sunday against Big Ten rival Ohio State, the number one ranking in the nation will be Michigan’s to keep until they lose. After North Carolina State beat Duke University on Saturday, Michigan became the official last unbeaten NCAA team. A 16-0 record also matches the best start to a Michigan season.

The Wolverines have not been ranked number one since the 1992-1993 season, featuring the “Fab Five”. That season, the Wolverines started at number one in the preseason poll and would hold the top spot for three weeks. In the history of the Top 25 Poll, the Wolverines have held a number one ranking for 21 weeks.

Michigan won the NCAA Tournament in 1989, led by future NBA first rounders Rumeal Robinson, Loy Vaught, Terry Mills and Glen Rice. The team has been back to the championship game several times, but has been unable to win another title.

Michigan is well rounded and is beating teams with ease. The team ranks tenth in the league with 80.8 points per contest. One of the most impressive stats is the Wolverines .514 field goal percentage, which ranks fourth in the country. Michigan also ranks 61st in rebounds (38.4) and 29th in assists (16.3). The Wolverines have scored more than 90 points in five of their games.

The 2012-2013 Wolverines team is one of several with a legit chance of winning the national championship. What follows in this slideshow are the five main reasons why Michigan will bring home a banner to Ann Arbor.

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Trey Burke Returned to Michigan

Trey Burke Returned to Michigan
USA TODAY Sports-Don McPeak

After losing to number thirteen seeded Ohio University, many expected Michigan’s Trey Burke to bolt for the NBA Draft. Analysts had Burke marked down as a first round pick. Instead, Burke returned to the school and is now leading the team that remains the only undefeated NCAA Basketball team left. Burke leads the team with 18.2 points per contest. The Wolverines point guard was also named a mid-season finalist for the Wooden Award and Cousy Award, given to the best player and point guard respectively. Burke’s average of 7.3 assists per game leads all Big Ten players.

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Michigan Wolverines Have Best Backcourt in NCAA

Michigan Wolverines Have Best Backcourt in NCAA
USA TODAY Sports-Rick Osentoski

The amazing combination of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. gives the Michigan Wolverines the best backcourt in NCAA Basketball. The duo has Michigan out to a team best 16-0 record. Burke averages 18.2 points per game, while Hardaway is second on the team with 16.3 points per game. Both players are leaders on the court and when one has a bad game, the other one contributes more. When teams face the Wolverines, they normally don’t have two shut down guard defenders that can match the Michigan duo’s athleticism and pure scoring ability.

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Michigan's Dominance of Three Point Shot

Nik Stauskas Leads NCAA in Three Point FG%
USA TODAY Sports-Joe Camporeale

As in recent years, the Michigan Wolverines have shot a higher amount of three point field goals then most opponents. This year, the team has freshman sensation Nik Stauskas, who leads the nation with a .523 three point field goal percentage. Stauskas is third on the team with 13.5 points per game and has been one of the biggest surprises for the team this season. Several coaches got the idea to guard Stauskas on the wing and not allowing him to get any three point shots off. This led Michigan to dominate inside with its other players. Another coach decided to leave Stuaskas open on the wing and he drained six straight three point baskets. Come tournament time, teams will have to gamble with defenses against the Wolverines. Michigan will burn them with their depth and balance with and without the three point shot.

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Depth of Michigan Wolverines

Michigan Wolverines Have Deep Roster
USA TODAY Sports-Rick Osentoski

The Michigan Wolverines are stacked with talent this season. Despite two of the top 50 player in the country, the team also has several role players that complement Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. The Wolverines have seven players who average 13 minute or more. Four more players average six minutes or more. This rotation of 11 players helps balance out the team depending on the matchups they face. Four players on the Wolverines team average more than 10 points a game. Four players also average more than five rebounds per contest.

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Michigan Faces Tough Competition in Big Ten

Big Ten Play Prepares Michigan Wolverines for NCAA Tournament
USA TODAY Sports-Rick Osentoski

By the end of the 2012-2013 season, Michigan will have played Ohio State twice, Indiana twice, Illinois twice, Michigan State twice and Minnesota once. All of these opponents will prepare Michigan for the NCAA Tournament. The Big Ten Conference is hands down the best conference in the nation and has three of the top ten teams in the country. If Michigan can escape through conference play with two losses or less, as I predicted, the team should have no problem winning the national championship.

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