Not that there was ever a concern about Michigan stumbling against Northwestern in its debut game as the number-one team in the country, but just case, the Wolverines took care of business efficiently in a 68-46 win on Wednesday night.
The Wolverines only turned the ball over twice in their win over the Wildcats, and when you take care of the basketball that well, on top of the fact that you have superior talent, the odds of losing fade fast. Michigan head coach John Beilein was pleased but didn’t seem to intent on making a big deal about it.
“There’s been times we had two turnovers….in the first minute,” Beilein said in a post-game press conference. “We’ll take it, and we’ll move on.”
No one should expect anything less from the Wolverines, who got 18 points and eight assists out of Trey Burke en route to another win. Yes, beating the Wildcats was a good thing, but Michigan has a more daunting task at hand on Saturday when it squares off against Indiana in a game that could a long way in determining the Big Ten championship.
The game is a chance for Michigan to make a statement, to prove that the preseason hype should have been tilted in its direction rather than in the direction of the Hoosiers. The game will be the first of two between Michigan and Indiana as the two teams will square off again in March in the final game of the regular season.
It will be the Wolverines’ first real test as the top-ranked team in the land, and they will need to play their best game of the season to survive it.
Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.