John Beilein is heading into uncharted territory.
For the first time since he began climbing the Division I coaching ladder, Beilein is entering his sixth season with the same school. And what a campaign it could be. His Michigan Wolverines are coming off a Big Ten championship and start 2012-13 ranked fifth in the country, opening the season against Division II Slippery Rock in Ann Arbor on Friday night.
"I think anybody building a program has to understand, it is difficult, because people weren't stepping back and saying, 'Hey, let's let Michigan have their turn.' It's hard to get there," Beilein said. "If you establish the culture and get the right breaks here and there, anything can happen."
The Wolverines are one of three Big Ten teams in the top five. The No. 5 ranking is Michigan's highest in the preseason since 1993, when the Wolverines were coming off back-to-back appearances in the NCAA title game.
After a nine-year run at LeMoyne, Beilein spent five seasons each at Ca...