Who: Wisconsin Badgers (18-10, 10-5 Big Ten)
When: Sunday, February 28th, at 6:00 p.m. ET (BTN)
Where: Kohl Center -- Madison, Wis.
Spread: Vegas: +5 | KenPom: L, 64-70 (28% WP)
This isn't a must-win, but a win this evening would be huge for the Wolverines:
Nonetheless, Michigan still controls its destiny as it pursues an at-large bid. Of the 81 brackets that Bracket Matrix assessed in its Saturday morning update, 80 included Michigan in the field. Where they included Michigan in the field varies though. Some have the Wolverines as a #8 or #9 seed. Others have them as one of the last teams in, sending them to the First Four in Dayton. The reason for this variance is Michigan's odd resume, which features three excellent wins, no bad losses, but also no other wins of much quality. No one knows how the selection committee will evaluate that resume. Will the committee reward Michigan because it's shown it can beat some of the nation's top teams and hasn't been upset? Or will it punish Michigan for not beating enough quality teams? The latter question is why Michigan is on the bubble, but the Wolverines can fix that in their final two regular-season games: today at Wisconsin and next weekend versus Iowa. The Badgers and Hawkeyes are RPI top-50 teams. If Michigan can beat just one of them and win its first Big Ten Tournament game, it should safely be dancing.
However, this is the worst time to battle the Badgers. Wisconsin has been one of hottest teams in the country, winning nine of its last 10 games and beating each of the Big Ten's top four teams. On the other hand, Michigan has been very uneven as of late, struggling to put together a complete game of basketball. Add in that this will be played at the Kohl Center, where evil, evil things tend to happen, and I think Michigan will fall short.
Click here to read my full Wisconsin game preview and prediction.
Am I right or am I wrong? Will Michigan snatch a critical upset victory or will its NCAA Tournament life hang in the balance next weekend? Sound off in the comments section!