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Bracketology Roundup: January 5th, 2016

The first week of the Big Ten season is over. Would Michigan be in the NCAA Tournament field? Our first Bracketology Roundup tells you.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The first week of conference play is in the books, and every program has its eyes on the conference championship. However, that's not the only goal these teams have. This also is the time when they start jockeying for position to make the postseason. So, with that in mind, each week, I'll take a look at Michigan's place in the NCAA Tournament picture by rounding up mock brackets and seed projections.

Michigan's Resume

Record: 12-3 (2-0 B1G)
RPI: 50
SOS: 106
Home: 8-1
Away: 2-1
Neutral: 2-1
vs. RPI Top 50: 1-2
vs. RPI Top 100: 3-3

Michigan had a productive week, adding one RPI top-100 win over #73 Penn State. Wins like this will be important because Michigan has lots of victories against really bad teams dragging its RPI down -- six vs. teams with RPIs outside the top 200. And that doesn't include the win over Northern Michigan, which doesn't affect U-M's RPI because NMU is a D-II school. However, the good news is that the Wolverines have no bad losses and have a sneaky great win over #27 Texas (?!). As long as Michigan can avoid losses to Big Ten teams outside the RPI top 100 (Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Rutgers) and add some top-50 wins to bolster its resume, U-M will be in excellent shape.

And Michigan may add some RPI top-50 wins this week (#29 Purdue and #12 Maryland).

Bracketology and Seed Projection Roundup

Crashing the Dance (Jan. 2nd)#9 Seed

RealTime RPI (Jan. 3rd)#10 Seed vs. Colorado (East)

CBS Sports (Jan. 4th)#9 Seed vs. St. Mary's (Midwest)

ESPN (Jan. 4th)#10 Seed vs. George Washington (Midwest)

Easy Bubble Solver (Jan. 4th)#7 Seed

TeamRankings (Jan. 4th)#8 Seed

Most bracketologists, etc., if not all, have Michigan in the field. The first four listed above -- Crashing the Dance, RealTime RPI, CBS Sports, and ESPN -- make their brackets based on teams' current resumes and all have Michigan as a #9 or #10 seed. That's not quite off the bubble, but Michigan isn't in danger of slipping out of their brackets at any moment.

On the other hand, Easy Bubble Solver and TeamRankings use different formulas because they're projecting how the field will look on Selection Sunday. Easy Bubble Solver averages teams' RPI Forecast and KenPom ranks and lists those teams by the average in ascending order. RPI Forecast (#31) and KenPom (#24) like Michigan much more than RPI does (#50), which is why U-M is two or three seed lines higher. TeamRankings bases its projections on the daily computer simulations it runs and thinks Michigan will be 22-9. Thus, these don't think Michigan will be a bubble team in March.

Big Ten Breakdown

Dancing (Lock)

Michigan State (14-1, RPI: 5): The Spartans suffered their first loss last week, but it was on the road to a very good Iowa team without their best player, Denzel Valentine. As a result, they haven't been punished and remain on the top line in most of the brackets.

Maryland (13-1, RPI: 12): Shockingly, the Terrapins don't own an RPI top-50 win (0-1 with a loss to #14 North Carolina) but are considered to be a #1 or #2 seed right now.

Iowa (11-3, RPI: 16): There may not be a team in the country that had a better week than Iowa, who secured wins over Michigan State at home and Purdue on the road. Accordingly, the Hawkeyes are on everyone's radar and a #4 or #5 seed at the moment.

Purdue (13-2, RPI: 29): Purdue is 3-2 against the RPI top 100, but its RPI is brought down by having 10 of its 15 games against teams not in the RPI top 100. Thus, Purdue is around the #5 seed line. Usually, a team with a #29 RPI wouldn't be called a lock this early in the season, but, because the Boilermakers are #7 on KenPom and projected to finish with a 25-6 (13-5 B1G) record, they should make the NCAA Tournament without any problems.

Stretching (Comfortable)

None. :(

Bubbling (Just In)

Michigan (12-3, RPI: 50): The Wolverines own only three RPI top-100 wins, but their 12 overall wins and no bad losses currently put them around the #9 or #10 seed lines.

Indiana (12-3, RPI: 76): The Hoosiers have 12 wins just like Michigan, but eight of those wins are against teams outside the RPI top 200 and none are against the RPI top 50. That's a very flimsy resume, which is why brackets have them in the First Four In or the First Four Out. Right on the cut. For now, I'm going to bump Indiana into the field because IU is #25 on KenPom and projected to post a 12-6 B1G record. That'd be enough.

Stepping on Toes (Work Left to Do)

Ohio State (10-5, RPI: 63): Ohio State has five losses, but its losses aren't as bad as it seems on paper because UT-Arlington (#30) and Louisiana Tech (#66) are RPI top-100 teams. Add in that the Buckeyes have one of the Big Ten's best wins thanks to a neutral-site victory over #7 Kentucky, and Ohio State definitely still can contend for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. For now, most brackets don't have the Buckeyes in the picture, though Crashing the Dance has them in the First Four In, but, if they can get better and surprise folks during the Big Ten season, they may participate in March Madness.

Penn State (9-6, RPI: 73): This may be the most surprising RPI in the Big Ten. Penn State is only 9-6 and projected to go 5-13 in the Big Ten. However, thanks to a non-conference schedule that RPI likes much more than KenPom, PSU has a 2-4 record versus the RPI top 100. The two losses to #142 Duquesne and #157 Radford are an anchor, but Penn State has a manageable RPI that doesn't leave them out of the picture. But, unless PSU plays a better brand of basketball in the Big Ten, it'll fall out shortly.

Northwestern (13-2, RPI: 95): The Wildcats possess one of the better records in the conference, but they have amassed their wins against some very weak opponents (#270 SOS). Their best RPI win is against #131 Missouri. Thus, Northwestern probably needs to win at least 11 Big Ten games to have a chance to make its first NCAA Tournament.

Wisconsin (9-6, RPI: 110): Wisconsin has such an up-and-down resume. While the Badgers have RPI top-100 wins over Siena, Syracuse, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (?!), they have three home losses to teams outside the RPI top 100 (Western Illinois, Milwaukee, and Marquette). Those bad beats have sunk Wisconsin's RPI to below 100, which isn't a promising sign for its NCAA Tournament hopes. However, Wisconsin remains in this category because it is a top-60 team on KenPom. It will be a long shot, but, if the Badgers can find their groove in the Big Ten, they may be able to make noise.

Tripping (Dropping Out)

Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Rutgers: All four of these Big Ten schools are outside the RPI top 100 and the KenPom top 100. Barring a miracle, it's not happening.