Record: 17-7 (7-4 Big Ten)
vs. RPI Top 25: 2-5
vs. RPI Top 50: 2-5
vs. RPI Top 100: 4-7
vs. RPI 101+: 13-0
Michigan's RPI has taken a tumble since the last update, falling from #30 to #54. Part of that can be attributed to hosting a team like Rutgers, which will drag most opponents down even when beaten, but most of the credit belongs to the two losses to Indiana and Michigan State. It's not that either loss was to a bad opponent, though the Hoosiers' RPI fell out of the top 50 after their road loss to Penn State, but it hurt Michigan more that both were at home. As a result, Michigan wasted two golden opportunities to earn quality wins when U-M is in need of some. The Wolverines have just two wins against teams in the RPI top 98 (#4 Maryland and #20 Texas). They must add to that pair soon.
Bracketology and Seed Projection Roundup
Crashing the Dance (Feb. 6): #10 Seed
Bracket Matrix (Feb. 8): #9 Seed
CBS Sports (Feb. 8): #9 Seed vs. Seton Hall (West)
Easy Bubble Solver (Feb. 8)*: #12 Seed
ESPN (Feb. 8): #9 Seed vs. St. Mary's (West)
Sports Illustrated (Feb. 8): #8 Seed vs. Florida State (West)
*Based on projected resumes on Selection Sunday, not current resumes.
Michigan is back on the bubble. The Wolverines had a chance to remain comfortably in the NCAA Tournament picture this past week, but dropping both home games to Indiana and Michigan State dropped them a couple of seed lines. Now, Michigan is projected by most to be around a #9 seed. That's not right on the cut-off line, but U-M doesn't have much more margin for error. Also, what's troubling is that the Easy Bubble Solver has Michigan as a #12 seed and the last team to get a first-round bye. It's troubling because it projects how Michigan will be on Selection Sunday, meaning it expects things to get rockier for the Wolverines. That's not too surprising after two blowout losses at home.
Big Ten Breakdown
Maryland (21-3, RPI: 4): Since the last update, Maryland has added two important wins that have boosted its RPI. Those were home wins against Iowa and Purdue, which handed the Terrapins not only their first two wins over RPI top-25 teams but also RPI top-50 teams. They will need to add more top-50 wins if they want to be a #1 or #2 seed in the tournament, but they're on their way, sitting as the first #3 seed on Bracket Matrix.
Iowa (19-4, RPI: 8): The Hawkeyes lost their first Big Ten game to Maryland, but falling to an RPI top-five team on the road will do no harm to one's resume. Iowa still has an excellent resume bolstered by its sweeps of Michigan State and Purdue. And, given the Hawkeyes are #2 on KenPom, they're headed for a #1 seed, which is where they are now.
Michigan State (20-4, RPI: 16): After a startling three-game losing streak, Michigan State has rediscovered its groove. The Spartans have won their past four games, the first of which was a home win over Maryland. That gave Michigan State its fourth win over an RPI-top 25 foe. However, that home loss to Nebraska, which is #163 on RPI, will be an anchor. That's why MSU is a #3 seed rather than a #1 or #2 according to Bracket Matrix.
Purdue (19-5, RPI: 22): There's not much of an update on Purdue. The Boilermakers edged Minnesota on the road, took care of business at home against Nebraska, and came up short against Maryland in College Park. Though the narrow win at The Barn may have been too close for comfort for fans, Purdue did what it was supposed to do. Thus, there has been little change to Purdue's profile, and Purdue still is a borderline #4 seed.
Indiana (19-5, RPI: 55): So I guess Indiana is comfortable despite having a worse RPI than Michigan. Yes, the Hoosiers earned their second RPI top-50 win by shellacking the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, but they followed that by losing to Penn State over the weekend. That's their third loss to an opponent ranked 93rd or lower on RPI, which explains their low RPI when paired with their low number of quality wins. Nonetheless, they are a #7 seed on Bracket Matrix, meaning they're safe for now. However, their next two games are against Iowa and at MSU. We'll see if they stay safe after those are played.
Bubbling (Just In)
Michigan (17-7, RPI: 54): See above.
Stepping on Toes (Work to Do)
Wisconsin (14-9, RPI: 65): And here come the Badgers as we enter the final stretch. Wisconsin seemed left for dead after it fell to 9-9 with a road loss to Northwestern. Since then, though, Wisconsin has won five straight games, four of which were against RPI top-100 opponents. This has caused Wisconsin's RPI to soar, and, suddenly, the Badgers are a bubble team. They're not in, but they're close -- the third one out on Bracket Matrix.
Ohio State (14-10, RPI: 87): The Buckeyes dug themselves a bit of a hole last week. It's not that they lost any bad games, but they allowed two great chances to earn excellent wins slip away. The first was a five-point home loss to Maryland, which would have given Ohio State its second signature win, while the second was a road loss to Wisconsin, the winner of which would receive a bump onto the bubble. The Buckeyes have an easier stretch upcoming, facing three opponents outside the RPI top 100 and #54 Michigan at home, and they likely need to win all of them in order to stay in the bubble conversation.
Penn State (12-12, RPI: 99): The Nittany Lions' RPI leapt into the top 100 after their home win against Indiana. However, that's their only win against an RPI top-100 foe, and their 3-8 Big Ten record is projected to add only three more wins. Not going to happen.
Northwestern, Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Rutgers: They all have RPIs outside the top 100 and are projected to finish with sub-.500 Big Ten records. Sorry, but nope.