On Wednesday, the No. 1 ranked Duke Blue Devils were routed by the No. 25 ranked Miami (FL) Hurricanes. This means that there will be a new team atop the polls. The question is, who should it be? Let’s take a look at the next two teams in the hunt for the No. 1 ranking.
First, Michigan. They are 18-1 and are tied for second in the Big 10 conference with a 5-1 mark. Their lone loss of the season is a loss at then ranked, No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes. They do have quality wins against the North Carolina State Wolfpack who were ranked No. 18 at the time and also a solid road win against the Minnesota Golden Gophers who were ranked No. 8. In addition, the Wolverines are twelfth in the nation in points per game at 78.7 and fourth in field goal percentage shooting a staggering 50.9 percent.
Now let’s look at the Jayhawks’ resume. Kansas is 18-1, but is first in the Big 12 with a 6-0 mark. Kansas also matched up against the Buckeyes who were ranked No. 7 at the time and came away with an impressive 74-66 road win. They also recently beat the No. 11 ranked Kansas State Wildcats this past Tuesday evening on the road. Their lone loss was at a neutral site in their second game of the season against Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans who were ranked No. 21 at the time.
The Spartans have recently risen to No. 13 in the latest polls. Likewise, Kansas boasts the nation’s second stingiest field goal percentage defense, allowing just 34.8% to their opponents. Kansas is also 12th in scoring margin beating their opponents by an average of 16.7 points. They also rank No. 2 in country in blocks per game with 8.
Although top to bottom, the Big 10 is stronger than the Big 12 this season, Kansas beat a common opponent in Ohio State and had their lone loss on Nov. 13th, is undefeated in Big 12 play and boasts the nation’s longest winning streak of 17 games. Conversely, Michigan lost to their conference rival and common opponent, Ohio State, more recently on Jan. 13th.
Without the luxury of a head-to-head match-up, these facts cannot be overlooked when comparing the two teams.
Kansas should be ranked No. 1.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter: @CoachDeSalvo