Is Michigan a national title contender? Sports Illustrated says the Wolverines' defense will be key
Michigan will likely move back into the top three in both major college basketball polls Monday.
But at this point in the season, are the fifth-ranked Wolverines still a national title contender?
Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn broke down offensive and defensive efficiency numbers nationally, and came up with five teams that fit his list of "prime title contenders."
Michigan wasn't on that list.
"What about Michigan?" Winn wrote. "If the Wolverines' profile stays the same, they could be the most interesting test-case of this NCAA tournament. They have the nation's best offense but only the No. 45 defense -- not red-flag-worthy, but well worse than any champ from the past 10 years.
"Michigan cutting down the nets in Atlanta would be a breakthrough statement for the power of offense."
Winn isn't arguing that Michigan doesn't have Final Four potential, but he is suggesting the Wolverines amp up their defensive efficiency number.
The Wolverines allow 59.5 points per game, which is 45th nationally. Defensive efficiency, meanwhile, is calculated by determining points allowed per possession.
Winn's five teams that fit his national championship profile are Louisville, Florida, Kansas, Duke and Indiana -- all teams that have defensive efficiency ranks inside the top 15.
Since 2003, every national champion has had a defensive efficiency rating inside the top 20 nationally.
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