After all of the results were in late Thursday, and every number had been crunched, only one college basketball team went to sleep with an offensive efficiency rating and a defensive efficiency rating that both rank in the top six nationally.
It was Juwan Howard’s Michigan Wolverines.
“[This game] was a battle,” Michigan freshman Hunter Dickinson said Thursday after he and his teammates extended their winning streak to six contests with a victory over Iowa.
And it was a battle, I guess. But if it was a battle, it was a battle that Michigan ultimately won easily thanks in part to Dickinson’s 14 points and eight rebounds. The final score was 79-57. That’s a blowout any way you slice it. So the Wolverines are now 17-1 overall, 12-1 in the Big Ten. They have a three-game lead in the loss column of the league standings despite the fact that they play in a conference that has at least two other schools (Ohio State, Illinois) competing for No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
It’s a remarkable story.
Michigan lost one of the sport’s greatest coaches, John Beilein, to the NBA in May 2019, replaced him with a first-time head coach, and continued to operate at the highest level of the sport without interruption. Not only does Howard have a team likely to receive a No. 1 seed next month, but he’s about to also enroll a recruiting class that currently ranks No. 1 nationally, according to 247Sports. So it’s reasonable to believe the Wolverines will continue to be a factor on the national level for the foreseeable future thanks to the incredible job Howard is doing.
Michigan remains No. 3 in Friday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. And Iowa remains No. 10 despite the loss to Michigan simply because I do not believe anybody below the Hawkeyes deserve to be above them right now. Same goes for Ohio State, by the way. The Buckeyes lost a close game Thursday night at Michigan State, I know. But they still lead the nation in Quadrant 1 wins and still have the fourth-best body of work, in my opinion.