Wolverines thrive on the inside

Tim Hardaway Jr. has stepped up his game. Is that enough for Michigan to thrive? Joe Camporeale/US Presswire

It's been a month now since I critiqued the AP preseason poll more or less the moment it was released, and on the whole I'm fairly happy with the unsolicited advice I offered to pollsters way back then. For instance I said I thought NC State (ranked No. 6 by the AP in the preseason) was being overrated, and so far that looks pretty good. I also said I thought Duke (No. 8 a month ago) was being underrated -- that, too, looks like a reasonable assessment, though of course what seems "reasonable" in late November is hardly the final word on any college hoops subject.

But of all the comments I offered in that piece, the one that triggered the largest response from readers -- by far -- was my classification of Michigan (preseason No. 5) as overrated. Hardly a day goes by without at least one fan of the Maize and Blue asking me whether I "still" think the Wolverines are being over-hyped.

It's a fair question. After all, John Beilein's team is 5-0, and last week at Madison Square Garden the Wolverines defeated Pittsburgh and Kansas State on their way to capturing the championship of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Is it possible I spoke too soon?