If you want to see an indication of just how difficult it will be to win the Big Ten this season, look at Michigan’s position in the first USA Today Top 25 poll.
The Wolverines are ranked No. 5, which naturally implies that the voters think there are only four teams better than the maize and blue. The problem is, two of those teams are in Michigan’s conference.
That means that John Beilein’s team could be in contention for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament and be only the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
But when do the preseason polls ever really hold true the entire season?
Michigan has the ability to surprise conference favorite Indiana and contender Ohio State and win the conference outright. It would mark the second straight Big Ten crown for the Wolverines after a 25-year run without one.
Here are five reasons why that can happen.