Nonconference top 10 road wins are rare

Submitted by mfan_in_ohio on November 14th, 2018 at 10:31 PM

Of course wins like tonight's are unusual.  We've had two top 10 nonconference wins away from home in the last ten years, but those were both neutral site games (vs. #8 Memphis in Maui in 2011, and the famous win at MSG over #4 UCLA in 2008). We've have a few top 10 road wins in recent years, but those have all been conference opponents (mostly Sparty).  However, none in the nonconference on the road. 

Many Michigan teams don't get a chance to play a top 10 nonconference team on the road, and those that do are obviously heavy underdogs.  Interestingly, it looks like our last two such wins are both against Duke.  The most recent was December 8, 1996, a 62-61 victory for #7 Michigan over #10 Duke.  Of course, that season was vacated by sanctions.  

The most recent unvacated road win against a top 10 opponent was #1 Michigan defeating #5 Duke on December 5, 1964.  Yes, 1964.

So enjoy tonight, everyone.  This is not something you see every decade.



November 15th, 2018 at 12:03 AM ^

I enjoyed it very much; thank-you. But let me pick a nit. The data only show that they have been rare. As to whether they still are, or whether they will be, after tonight I choose to believe not. Welcome to a new frequency.


November 15th, 2018 at 8:00 AM ^

Great information, although the whole vacated / unvacated distinction doesn't sit well with me, especially because - in this particular instance - when Duke loses, the world wins and for an evening, you are a hero as a result. 


November 15th, 2018 at 9:14 AM ^

I agree with that, and it's especially annoying that many of those road losses were to Duke, and particularly gratifying that the two previous wins were both against Duke.  I only made the distinction to have a reason to include the fact that the last time (and, it turns out, the only time) before 1996 was 1964, just to show how rare it really was.  


November 15th, 2018 at 8:32 AM ^

Just out of curiosity, how many nonconference road games against Top 10 opponents have we played.  You mention the 2 wins over the last 55 years.  How many losses were there?


November 15th, 2018 at 9:03 AM ^

There is a (not particularly obvious) link in the OP to all of the game schedules (and lots of other info) from the website.  If you scroll down enough there are game scores for each season in Michigan history, including Michigan's rank, opponent's rank, and game location.  


November 15th, 2018 at 9:00 AM ^

Good question, and unfortunately I can't edit the OP to put this in there.

Last night's win broke a streak of (EDIT: 12) consecutive road losses to top 10 nonconference opponents.  

The 1996 win broke a streak of 13 consecutive road losses to top 10 nonconference opponents.  We didn't play very many such games in the late 70s and early 80s for some reason.

Anyway, our record in those games is now up to 3-25 in the last 55 years.

While looking, I dug a little deeper: The AP basketball poll didn't start until 1948, and wasn't done continuously until the 1950-51 season.  So in the entire AP poll history, we are now 3-26 in road games against top 10 nonconference opponents.  Note: I am counting in that total "road" losses to UNLV in a "neutral site" game in Las Vegas, along with a "neutral site" loss to UCLA in L.A.  

Note: Edited to fix my inability to read.


November 15th, 2018 at 12:26 PM ^

I accidentally counted a neutral site loss to Duke as a road loss, so it was actually 12 consecutive losses.  

Here's a list of the recent loss streak:

Dec. 2016 @ #2 UCLA

Dec. 2014 @ #3 Arizona

Dec. 2013 @ #10 Duke

Dec. 2009 @ #1 Kansas

Feb. 2009 @ #1 UConn

Dec. 2007 @ #6 Duke

Nov. 2007 @ #5 Georgetown

Dec. 2006 @ #1 UCLA

Nov. 2004 @ #4 Georgia Tech

Dec. 2002 @ #4 Duke

Dec. 2000 @ #1 Duke

Dec. 1998 @ #3 Duke