Why Michigan or Florida should be No. 1
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
It doesn’t happen very often, but here we are in the last week of January and there are two No. 1 teams in college basketball.
Monday, the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll declared Kansas the nation’s top team, while the Associated Press’ Top 25 Poll has Michigan as the No. 1 team in the country for the first time since the “Fab Five” glory days in 1992-93.
At this point, what team would want to be No. 1 anyway considering the bad luck? The last two No. 1 teams (Duke and Louisville) had disastrous weeks. The No. 5 Blue Devils were demolished by Miami (Fla.) in a 27-point loss last week, while the reeling No. 13 Cardinals have lost three consecutive games since claiming the top spot.
While it was a two-team race for the top spot in both polls, Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators team, which finished a mere point behind No. 3 Indiana in the coaches poll, might be getting overlooked because Kansas and Michigan are the only teams in the poll with only one loss. If the top two teams were to lose, Florida is in perfect position to become the new No. 1 in a year that has seen several shake-ups.
Of course, there’s no way to determine who’s smarter out of coaches and sportswriters, but there is plenty of room to debate a case for each team.
Here’s a look at the three teams’ rèsumès. You decide:
Kansas (18-1, 6-0 Big 12): It’s pretty easy to see why so many coaches in our poll picked the Jayhawks. It’s because they haven’t lost since Nov. 13, rattling off 17 consecutive victories. And while Michigan’s wins look more impressive thanks to a grueling Big Ten schedule, the Jayhawks beat the same Ohio State team the Wolverines lost to on the road and have a stronger RPI of 2; Michigan’s RPI is 6.
Michigan (19-1, 6-1 Big Ten): The Wolverines received 14 first-place votes from the 31-coach panel to barely miss out on No. 1, while running away with 51 first-place votes out of 65 sportswriters who voted. What were journalists seeing … [For more on Top 25 Stock Watch: Why Michigan or Florida should be No. 1, click here.]