/College basketball rankings: Illinois holds firm after one of the biggest wins of the year over Michigan
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College basketball rankings: Illinois holds firm after one of the biggest wins of the year over Michigan

CBS Sports Graphic

When it was officially announced that Ayo Dosunmu would miss his third consecutive game, Michigan immediately jumped to an 8.5-point favorite over Illinois.

And it made sense.

I mean, the Wolverines have looked like a machine lately — first while beating Ohio State two games after a 21-day COVID-19 pause, then while destroying Iowa and Indiana by an average of 19.0 points. So there wasn’t much of a reason to think Michigan would be threatened at home by an Illinois team missing its best player, especially a player like Dosunmu, who doubles as one of the nation’s best. And if anybody tries to tell you otherwise, don’t believe them, because they’re lying, which makes what happened Tuesday one of the biggest surprises of the season.

Final score: Illinois 76, Michigan 53.

Yes, the shorthanded Illini won by 23 points inside the Crisler Center — snapping Michigan’s 13-game winning streak at home, and seven-game winning streak overall, while handing the Wolverines just their second loss of the season. Illinois held the Wolverines to 34.7% shooting from the field, including 28.6% from 3-point range. Michigan finished with just four assists.

“I would be challenged to find a better win in college basketball this year — a better road win anyway,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. “I mean, in all the analytics, [Michigan is] up there. So I think it’s got to make a pretty solid statement.”

Indeed, it does.

It was a convincing and overwhelming performance — one of the best and most impressive of the season. But, that said, Michigan remains one spot ahead of Illinois in Wednesday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings simply because the Wolverines still undeniably have a better resume. Michigan is 13-2 inside the first two quadrants; Illinois is 14-6. Both bodies of work are awesome, but the Wolverines’ is better. So I’d have Gonzaga, Baylor, Michigan and Illinois as the four No. 1 seeds for the NCAA Tournament right now, and exactly in that order. And I won’t be surprised if it ends up that way.

Wednesday’s Top 25 And 1 rankings