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Michigan basketball could take sole possession of 2nd place in Big Ten

The Wolverines continue to climb towards their ultimate goal: winning an outright Big Ten Championship.



Jan 15, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Joey Baker (15) dribbles against Northwestern Wildcats guard Julian Roper II (5) and guard Boo Buie (0) in the first half at Crisler Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow night, Michigan basketball (10-7 overall, 4-2 Big Ten) will head to College Park, MA to face the Maryland Terrapins (11-6 overall, 2-4 Big Ten) with a lot on the line. If Rutgers loses at Michigan State and Michigan overcomes Maryland, the Wolverines can take sole possession of 2nd place in the conference standings.

Right now, the Wolverines sit in 3rd place with a 4-2 conference record; Michigan basketball is only behind Rutgers (5-2) and Purdue (6-1) when it comes to the Big Ten Championship race.

Michigan basketball stands out with the crowd

Here are the top-5 teams in the Big Ten standings right now:

  1. Purdue (6-1)
  2. Rutgers (5-2)
  3. Michigan (4-2)
  4. Illinois (4-3)
  5. Wisconsin (4-3)

When you only look at the Big Ten records, nothing looks all that odd; after all, Michigan basketball is usually in the conference title race and all five teams are solid and respectable programs. Still, the Wolverines stick out like a sore thumb right now.

Here are those same five teams’ overall records this year:

  1. Purdue (17-1)
  2. Rutgers (13-5)
  3. Michigan (10-7)
  4. Illinois (13-5)
  5. Wisconsin (12-5)

Unlike the other four teams in the conference title race, Michigan basketball is hovering around .500 on the season and has been up-and-down all year long. The Wolverines may be 4-2 in conference play, but they’re also 6-5 in nonconference play and have a home loss to a Q4 team (Central Michigan) less than a month ago.

Beating Maryland is crucial

If Michigan basketball wants to catch Purdue, it must get through the Terrapins tomorrow night. Michigan has performed well against Maryland as of late — U-M beat the Terps 81-46 on January 1st of this year — but going on the road in the Big Ten is never easy.

The Wolverines season is still very much in front of them; however, things need to change in a hurry. Thursday night, we will see what this year’s team is really made of; a win and Michigan basketball is back in the mix for a conference title (and perhaps a tournament berth), a loss at U-M falls to 10-8 and is virtually out of the mix for the Big Ten regular season title.

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