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The End Of The Season is When Michigan Wolverines Want To Be No. 1

Bradley Leeb – USA TODAY Sports Images

Well, if anyone was wondering if Michigan was going to enter this week as the No. 1 team in the nation, the questions were answered on Sunday.

The Wolverines took it to the struggling Illinois Fighting Illini, rolling to a 74-60 win on the road.

In the grand scheme of things, the No. 1 ranking will mean nothing to Michigan, which will assume the top spot on Monday for the first time in 20 years when the Fab Five ran the show in Ann Arbor.

Michigan won’t last the rest of the season as the No. 1 team, but the Wolverines could very well be the top team in the country when it’s all said and done.

“You compete for a Big Ten championship, then you go on you compete for a national championship,” Michigan head coach John Beilein said in a post-game press conference. “That’s the number you want down the line.”

Illinois has been a sinking ship for nearly a month now, so it didn’t take much for the Wolverines to hold the Fighting Illini to 37.1 percent shooting from the field and force 15 turnovers.

Michigan was its usual balanced self on offense. Trey Burke poured in 19 points.  Nick Stauskas clicked for 14 points while Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. poured in 12 points apiece.

Michigan has more than lived up to the hype this season, and its rise to the No. 1 ranking has been impressive.

The thing to remember, though, is that Michigan hasn’t  won anything yet. Hasn’t won a conference title and hasn’t won a national championship.

But if they continue to have days like Sunday, there is a good chance the Wolverines will win both.

Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.