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Bracketology Roundup and Rooting Guide: March 8, 2017

Michigan’s rooting guide grows longer on Wednesday, and why the Wolverines really want Nebraska to beat Penn State.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan’s Resume

Record: 20-11 (10-8 Big Ten)
RPI: 46
SOS: 35
Home: 15-3
Road: 3-8
Neutral: 2-0
vs. RPI Top 25: 2-3
vs. RPI Top 50: 4-7
vs. RPI Top 100: 11-11
vs. RPI 101+: 9-0

Only 16 games were played on Tuesday, so there is very little to update regarding Michigan’s resume since Tuesday morning’s Bracketology Roundup. In fact, Michigan’s RPI remains 46th, and U-M’s respective records against the RPI top 25, top 50, and top 100 were untouched. The only new note to add is that Michigan’s non-conference foe, Mount St. Mary’s, followed up its Northeast regular-season championship by winning the tournament title, too, on Tuesday night. Add the Mountaineers to Michigan’s resume as another NCAA Tournament team that the Wolverines have beaten.

And, in case you forgot, Michigan is still a lock to be in the NCAA Tournament.

Bracketology and Seed Projection Roundup

Bracket Matrix (Mar. 7): #9 Seed (135 of 135 brackets)

CBS Sports (Mar. 7): #9 Seed vs. Dayton (Midwest)

Crashing the Dance (Mar. 7): #8 Seed

ESPN (Mar. 7): #9 Seed vs. Miami-FL (East)

SB Nation (Mar. 7): #8 Seed vs. Wichita State (South)

Sports Illustrated (Mar. 7): #8 Seed vs. Dayton (Midwest)

Sporting News (Mar. 7): #8 Seed

Though other results will have some impact on Michigan’s seeding, the Wolverines won’t start making moves until they take the court against Illinois on Thursday. Therefore, they still are firmly in the 8-9 seed range, and this from Tuesday still applies:

A win in Evanston would have put them on the verge of breaking into the class of 7 seeds and avoiding a potential matchup with a 1 seed in the Round of 32. Instead, Michigan likely will need to win at least two games in the Big Ten Tournament (vs. #9 Illinois and #1 Purdue) to avoid such a predicament, and U-M may need another win depending on what happens elsewhere. On the other hand, a neutral-site loss to Illinois shouldn’t drop Michigan to a 10 seed. Unless U-M makes a run this weekend, U-M could face Goliath the weekend thereafter.

Michigan’s Rooting Guide (Mar. 8)

Michigan wants the bold team to win in each of the following games:

Miami-FL vs. Syracuse (12:00 p.m. ET | ESPN)

Rationale: Because Michigan is considered to be a lock for the NCAA Tournament, U-M does not need to fret about the bubble teams right on the brink winning games. Instead, its focus should be on rising up the seed ladder. The best way for Michigan to do that is to advance through the Big Ten Tournament, but another way to do so is for teams seeded near them to lose. One such team is Miami (FL), who is an 8 seed and four places ahead of the Wolverines on the Bracket Matrix ladder. Therefore, a Hurricanes loss could drop them to a 9 seed below Michigan.

Penn State vs. Nebraska (4:30 p.m. ET | ESPN2)

Rationale: Both Nebraska (#95) and Penn State (#99) are fringe RPI top-100 teams, and RPI Wizard projects that the loser will fall out permanently. Michigan is 2-0 against Nebraska and 1-0 against Penn State. Therefore, if the Nittany Lions win on Wednesday afternoon, Michigan will lose two RPI top-100 wins rather than just one, possibly dropping to 9-11 vs. RPI top 100 teams. This would be a poor development for Michigan’s resume and make the climb to a 7 seed more difficult. Thus, it is in Michigan’s best interest that the Huskers move forward on Wednesday.

Central Arkansas vs. Sam Houston State (6:00 p.m. ET | ESPN3)

Rationale: It’s better for Michigan when its mid- and low-major non-conference opponents win.

Rutgers vs. Ohio State (7:00 p.m. ET | BTN)

Rationale: Though the Maize and Blue faithful would surely enjoy the schadenfreude associated with Ohio State being the victim of Rutgers’ first Big Ten Tournament victory, it is better for Michigan’s resume if its worst loss doesn’t worsen. The Buckeyes (#80) would not be in danger of falling out of the RPI top 100 with a loss to the Scarlet Knights (RPI Wizard projects OSU would drop to #88), but a win could move them up to the RPI top 75. The Wolverines having no bad losses (and no losses to teams outside the RPI top 75) would look excellent for them.

Wake Forest vs. Virginia Tech (7:00 p.m. ET | ESPN2)

Rationale: Generally, Michigan wants its non-conference opponents to win in order to boost its strength of schedule. However, this is an exception because Michigan is muddled with Virginia Tech in the 8-9 seed range. The Hokies are the last 8 seed and two spots ahead of Michigan on Bracket Matrix. Plus, a loss could drop the Hokies below Michigan on the seed ladder, but not out of the RPI top 50 (RPI Wizard projects VT would slip from #45 to $#49), meaning U-M’s loss to VT still would appear to be of quality. However, all of this could be for naught if the selection committee favors Virginia Tech because the Hokies beat Michigan in front of the Crisler crowd.

Texas vs. Texas Tech (9:00 p.m. ET | ESPNU)

Rationale: It’s better for Michigan when its non-conference foes that are not within smelling distance of the postseason (yeah, we’re looking at you with your 10-21 record, Longhorns) win.

DePaul vs. Xavier (9:30 p.m. ET | FS1)

Rationale: Xavier is an 11 seed on Bracket Matrix but, unlike Syracuse, is not facing an opponent vying for a similar seed as Michigan. Therefore, Michigan would prefer that any chance that Xavier makes a run in Big East Tournament and move up a few seeds lines is nipped in the bud.

Washington vs. USC (11:30 p.m. ET | P12 Net)

Rationale: Same reason why Michigan is pulling for DePaul over Xavier.

Big Ten Breakdown

See Tuesday’s update for a detailed rundown of the Big Ten’s NCAA Tournament hopes.

Dancing (Lock)

Purdue (25-6, 14-4 B1G, RPI: 19)

Bracket Matrix Seed: 4

Minnesota (23-8, 11-7 B1G, RPI: 20)

Bracket Matrix Seed: 6

Maryland (24-7, 12-6 B1G, RPI: 24)

Bracket Matrix Seed: 6

Wisconsin (23-8, 12-6 B1G, RPI: 38)

Bracket Matrix Seed: 7

Michigan (20-11, 10-8 B1G, RPI: 46)

Bracket Matrix Seed: 9

Strutting (Comfortable)

Michigan State (18-13, 10-8 B1G, RPI: 49)

Bracket Matrix Seed: 10

Northwestern (21-10, 10-8 B1G, RPI: 54)

Bracket Matrix Seed: 9

Stepping on Toes (Just In)

N/A

Stumbling (Work to Do)

Illinois (18-13, 8-10 B1G, RPI: 58)

Bracket Matrix Seed: First Four Out

Iowa (18-13, 10-8 B1G, RPI: 72)

Bracket Matrix Seed: First Four Out

Tripped (Big Ten Tournament or Bust)

Ohio State, Indiana, Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers