Michigan received its highest preseason ranking since 1993-94 on Wednesday, when the USA Today coaches’ poll named the Wolverines the No. 5 team in the country.
That team was led by four of the Fab Five -- Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King -- and reached the Elite Eight.
This season’s team has five freshmen of its own and while they don’t have the same accolades as the Fab Five, they have three Top 100 recruits in forwards Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary and guard Nik Stauskas. Those players are surrounded by one of the top point guards in the game, Trey Burke, and experienced guard Tim Hardaway Jr.
Coach John Beilein deflected questions about his team’s possible high rank last week.
“I don’t even pay any attention to that,” he said. “How would I know that if I don’t know what anybody else has. I know Michigan, as a team, we’re trying to have them develop to find their potential.”
Indicative of how difficult the Big Ten is expected to be this season, the No. 5 ranking is only third in the league behind No. 1 Indiana and No. 4 Ohio State. In all, five Big Ten teams are in the coaches Top 25, joined by No. 14 Michigan State and No. 21 Wisconsin.