Carrying a 7-0 Big Ten start and a nine-game winning streak, Michigan is back in the national spotlight.

That’s what knocking off three straight top 10 opponents will do to heal a reputation.

Now comes the challenge for the Wolverines, dealing with the increased attention being ranked No. 10 nationally after not being ranked less than two weeks ago.

“We’re doing a pretty good job of it,” U-M senior center Jordan Morgan said. “That’s the one thing you’ve got to worry about now is guys getting satisfied. But I don’t think we’ve seen any signs of that in practice, guys are still hungry. To be honest, from going up and down, I don’t think a lot has changed about this team, we’re just the same team doing the same things throughout. We’re the same team, slowly growing, slowly getting better.”

That up and down is as pronounced for Michigan as any team in the country.

Starting the season ranked No. 7, then falling out of the poll a month later after losses to Iowa State, Charlotte and Duke, the Wolverines were dismissed by many as a disappointment, a label that only expanded after they couldn’t finish against No. 1 Arizona at home in mid-December.

While some took away positives from that two-point loss, Michigan was only 6-4 at the time and it wasn’t clear whether the losses were an indicator of struggles or the quality of competition. The Wolverines have surged since with the nine straight wins and getting through then-No. 3 Wisconsin on the road, then-No. 10 Iowa at home and then-No. 3 Michigan State on the road in the past week and a half.

The challenge now is to face a lesser team, Purdue (13-7, 3-4 Big Ten) tonight at Crisler Center, and maintain that high level of play.

“That’s something that we’ve been learning from continuously as a program,” Morgan said. “These last few years we’ve had that back and forth being the hunter vs. the hunted. We’ve gone through all these spells up and down where people count us out or people hopping on the bandwagon. Over the years, we’ve gotten better and better at just keeping it even keel, no matter what people are saying.

“That helps us with our approach and validates our approach just going day by day.”

That’s the coach John Beilein approach, to keep the focus on the single game in front of them.

Even playing as an elite contender last year, Michigan nearly lost at Purdue in the last week of the season, so the Wolverines know the Boilermakers can be dangerous.

Yet this game and stretch against middle-of-the-pack Big Ten teams for the next 10 days will show whether the young team has the mentality to act like veterans and hold its place atop the Big Ten.

That’s a tone that sophomore Glenn Robinson III, one of the three captains with Morgan and Jon Horford, feels obligated to set.

“We’ve had two off days since Michigan State and (tried to) keep everybody focused, keep everybody hungry,” Robinson said. “As a leader it is my job to go out there in practice with the right mentality. Because if they see me slacking or Jordan of Jon, the whole team will. That’s something we’ve been doing a great job of.”