When two ranked teams play against one another, it’s hard to say that it can be considered a serious upset if the lower-ranked team wins. However, when #21 Michigan beat #10 Iowa on their home court on Wednesday night, the fans in Ann Arbor felt like they got a win that could propel the rest of the season.
Coming into the game Michigan was 13-4, but they’ve yet to taste defeat in Big Ten play. On the other hand, Iowa had already lost once in the Big Ten and had a 15-3 overall record. With the 75-67 win on Wednesday, Michigan moved ahead of Iowa in the conference, and it could also result in a substantial move in the national rankings as well.
The only other team who is ahead of Michigan in the Big Ten is their in-state rivals, the Spartans from Michigan State. And luckily for them, the Wolverines will get a chance to play the Spartans on Saturday, with first place in the conference on the line. What may not be so lucky for Michigan is the fact that the Spartans are ranked #3 in the nation and have only lost once all year, in a 79-65 defeat to UNC.
Michigan and Michigan State will play one more time this year, the second matchup coming in late February. But the game on Saturday will be one that the entire Big Ten, and potentially most of the basketball world, will have their eyes on.
Michigan’s other loses came to a tough Iowa State team, 77-70, a shocker to Charlotte, 63-61, and to #10 Duke, 79-69. They also lost to the number one team in the nation, Arizona, though it was a tough 72-70 game in favor of the Wildcats. If this Wolverine team has learned anything in their games against top-ranked competition, Saturday will be the time to demonstrate it. A win over Michigan State would be massive. If not just for the sake of winning, but because it would be their second top-10 win in a week.
Keep an eye on the Big Ten matchup between Michigan State and Michigan on Saturday, as the winner will then move into sole place in the conference.