It had been over a month since a team managed to stay atop the college basketball polls, but No.1 Indiana, who College Hoops Betting has as the favorites coming into the NCAA Tournament, broke that trend despite losing a game last week, leading coach Tom Crean to bring up auto racing.
“I had a good friend tell me that in-season rankings are the barometer of representing what lane you’re in and the direction and how far you are moving towards your goals,” Crean said Monday. “We want to stay in the left lane and keep working on our team and pace, because we know there are quite a few others in the left lane as well.”
The Hoosiers (21-3) lost to Illinois on a last-second basket Thursday but rebounded with a win at then-No.10 Ohio State on Sunday. In a week when four of the top five teams and six of the top 10 lost, it was enough to keep the No. 1 ranking.
“They were really disappointed on Thursday night. And instead of carrying that disappointment into a ‘Woe is me’ mentality, they really did trigger how to get better. And I think it was in the sense of closing games,” Crean said.
“I think there was a different level, a sense of urgency because of the way we didn’t finish it off, combined with the fact that we knew we were playing a team that is outstanding.”
This ends a stretch of five consecutive weeks with a new No. 1, two weeks short of the longest such stretch, in 1993-94. Duke started the run, followed by Louisville, Duke again, Michigan and Indiana.
Miami, which received 17 No. 1 votes and one of the hottest team in college basketball, jumped from eighth to No. 3, the Hurricanes’ highest ranking ever. Michigan dropped one spot to fourth, while Gonzaga, which got the other two first-place votes, moved up one spot to fifth.
[Information via Associated Press]