Best team in college basketball? Michigan gets vote from Jalen Rose
Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan appear to have separated themselves from the field in college basketball. Those three teams have lost one game combined and are favorites to reach the Final Four.
But which squad is the best? ESPN’s Jalen Rose is picking his alma mater.
On ESPN’s Get Up! on Friday morning, Rose was asked if he thought Michigan (17-1) was the best team in college basketball right now — better than Gonzaga and Baylor, both currently undefeated. He believes the Wolverines are the top dog.
“Yes, and here’s why I say so,” Rose said. “There are some terrific coaches across the country in collegiate basketball. But their teams look a lot different when they don’t have the best players. Just think about what I just said. What Juwan Howard has done — first off, a couple of transfers. You have (Mike) Smith at the point, you have Brown on the wing. They bring distinct roles. One leads the Big Ten in assists, and the other is a lock-down defender that can make three-point shots. We have Livers, who is a senior and understands what it takes, along with Eli Brooks. You have a wildcard in (Franz) Wagner, who’s going to be a pro that’s a slasher. And you show (Hunter) Dickinson playing against Garza, making him shoot over his size.
Michigan defeated No. 9 Iowa 79-57 on Thursday night to secure its status as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. It was Iowa’s lowest point total this season and star Luka Garza was held to just 16 points on 19 shot attempts.
In their last four games, the Wolverines have defeated three ranked opponents — No. 21 Wisconsin, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 9 Iowa. The other win came against Rutgers.
Rose says it’s Michigan’s versatility that separates them from the field.
“And they can play multiple styles,” Rose said, per 247Sports. “If you want to shoot the three, Michigan can shoot the three. If you want to slow down and play half court, they can throw it inside. Based on that balance, that’s what you’re going to need in order to advance in the NCAA Tournament. I love Gonzaga. I love Baylor. And Ohio State is really good. There are some terrific teams that will be in the tournament, and there are some terrific teams in collegiate basketball. The Michigan Wolverines have shown they have the capability to win it all this year.”
Michigan is 12-1 in the B1G with four games left on the schedule. The Wolverines have games against Indiana, No. 5 Illinois, and Michigan State (twice) to close out the regular season.