Tweaking Your Resume: Where Michigan Stands Regarding The NCAA Tournament

Strange to think, but in just over a week Michigan fans across the country will be glued to their TV sets waiting to hear whether or not the University of Michigan Men's Basketball team will be selected to play in the NCAA Tournament. Following a sweep of in-state rival Michigan State for the first time since 1997 (I love saying that), most Michigan fans including myself believe that the Wolverines are in pretty good shape come Selection Sunday.

Still......

There's always that element of doubt in the back of your mind. You can't help it. You're a Michigan fan. Waiting for the other shoe to drop is like breathing. So we figured it'd be a good idea to run down Michigan's NCAA Tournament Resume from the 2010-2011 season.

Michigan Wolverines Strength of Schedule and RPI

Home Away Neutral SOS SOS Rank RPI RPI Rank
All Division I games (18-12) 13-5 5-5 0-2 0.5814 17 0.5741 56
Conference games (9-9) 5-4 4-5 0-0 0.5963 42 0.5722 55
Non-conference D-I games (9-3) 8-1 1-0 0-2 0.5509 47 0.5746 59

If you're wondering why the stat sheet say 18-12 and not 19-12, Michigan's game against NAIAConcordia doesn't count because they're not a Division I school. I suspect that speaks for itself, but what the hell. The first thing that jumps out at you is Michigan's Strength of Schedule. According to CBS, where the numbers above are from, Michigan's strength of schedule is the 17th best in the country. This is good. The selection committee looks favorably on teams that play a tough schedule. They don't want you padding your schedule with the sisters of the poor.

Looking at the numbers, Michigan's RPI of 56 isn't great, but it's not that bad either. While you'd prefer it to be in the top 50, it's still in the top 68 in the country and no one can complain on that end. Here are the rest of them:

Good Wins [RPI]: Harvard [34]; Michigan St. [47] (twice); Penn St. [55] (twice); Oakland [52]; @ Clemson [61]

Bad losses [RPI]: @ Indiana [182]; @ Northwestern [91]

Record against Top 50 RPI: 3-8

Record against Top 100 RPI: 9-11

Performance in last Ten Games: 7-3 (losses by a total of 12 points)

If we're being honest it's a good, but not great resume. But then again we're talking about getting into the Tournament, not talking seeding. As for intangibles, Michigan is arguably one of the hottest teams in the country. They're balanced and they're obviously well coached. They've beaten several other bubble teams during their push toward the Tournament.

Certainly were biased here, but this resume should be enough to get Michigan into the tournament as it stands. But nothing is guaranteed. Michigan faces Illinois tomorrow in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament, and their performance will be closely watched by the selection committee. With an RPI of 38, the Illini are sitting pretty for the tournament regardless of the outcome (though I'm sure they'd happily improve their seeding). For Michigan to erase all doubt from Selection Sunday a win on Friday is a must. Beating Illinois would be their second best win on the season, and maybe even bump them to a 10 or 9 seed in the Tourney. But they haven't done it yet. Without a win, Michigan will likely be holding onto a tourney berth by the skin of its teeth and praying that it's fellow bubble teams start to stumble. (Something that Marquette, unfortunately, didn't do).

The resume Michigan will submit to the committee on Sunday looks pretty good right now. But a little extra polish sure wouldn't hurt.

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