One week left before Champ Week gets into full swing and Michigan continues to straddle the cut line to make the Big Dance. By now I am sure that most of you have a pretty clear picture of what it would take for Michigan to make or miss the tournament. However, as we approach the end it becomes ever more important to watch what the teams around us are doing and if they are helping or hurting our chances. For the most part it feels like Michigan controls their own destiny, 2 or more wins seems like a clear path and 1 or less and they are going to need a lot of help.
The Rutgers win came with a subsequent loss by RU to Wisconsin, thus keeping it in Quad 3 territory and of almost no value. The Illinois loss had bad metric defensive stats and the offensive numbers weren’t anything great. Staying as a Quad 1 defeat does help for safety, but the metrics didn’t love the way in which Michigan lost, and on their home court. So for now we are left with this resume entering the final week of the regular season:
So let’s get straight into the bubble and look at the 21 spots that are still available:
This group of teams really only comes into play if one of two things happen.
1. They have a complete and unexpected meltdown. Some of them would have to collapse both this week and in the conference tournament. Some just need one more bad loss like San Francisco to anyone but Gonzaga, Saint Marys, or BYU
2. Michigan finishes the season 3-0 which would put them squarely with a number of these teams jockeying for positions from the 7-10 range. Then even the slightest win or loss would make a huge difference. A 2-1 finish by Michigan and a bad week from anyone in this group would also have seeding implications.
Basically for now they aren’t worth monitoring and should be counted on to make the tournament thus constricting the bubble by 10. So we are left with 11 available spots left on the bubble:
This is the most interesting group as they have the highest volatility. San Diego State holds a double-edged sword with Michigan. Currently they are giving Michigan an extra Quad 1 victory, but they are also often right with Michigan for those last 8 spots.
Xavier has absolutely collapsed down the stretch and if that continues they could easily fall out of the bracket. Creighton lost their starting pg for the season, and if they don’t win a game without him in the line up then I would expect the committee to pass on the bluejays.
Memphis and SMU both are looking to beat Houston but if they were to take an extra L along the way that would be sublime.
Wake Forest, Miami, and Oregon are all finishing up their season, but if they were to lose this week it would put their tournament hopes on life support.
These teams will decide if Michigan could possibly get away with a 1-2 week and still have a fighting chance at the tournament. Going to the numbers this group holds 8 teams so with them our bubble shrinks to 3:
This group of teams all have a tough end to the season or would need to grab a Quad 1 win in their tournament. UNC plays Duke, Florida plays UK, Indiana gets Purdue, BYU needs a win over Gonzaga or Saint Marys, and Rutgers needs to win out. Virginia Tech is a bit behind, but a few good wins in the ACC tourney would have them right on the bubble’s edge.
Basically, if things hold, which they rarely do, none of these teams would be an issue. Even at a 1-2 finish from Michigan they would still be right there with this group if none of them are able to pull out a big win. It would get extremely jumbled and then conference tournament play would probably hold a higher value than it usually seems to do. More than likely though one or two of these teams will get hot nabbing a bubble spot.
As you can see we only had three spots left and went through 7 more teams. So our bubble is at its max. However we can’t forget about this last set:
Finally here we see teams that are lurking for a spot in the Dance. Murray State is the only one that is definitely in whether or not they win their AQ bid. The rest seem unlikely to make it without the AQ. However, if we are in the realm of discussing a Michigan team with a 1-2 finish and still being alive then it becomes a real possibility that any one of these teams could be chosen, especially if Michigan doesn’t add a Quad 1 win in the B1G tournament.
So let’s finish with looking at the different outcomes that Michigan could have this week.
Michigan goes 3-0:
First things first, a 3-0 finish would just about erase any doubt of whether or not this team makes the field of 68. A 4 seed in the B1G is all but theoretically impossible. The 5-7 seed line seems way more likely. Tie breakers will almost always go against Michigan as they are 0-3 vs Illinois and Wisconsin. In this case even a loss against Minnesota or Nebraska probably wouldn’t stop Michigan from making the tournament. Though a loss to Nebraska might put Michigan in the play-in games.
Final percentage chance at making the Dance: 98%. There would have to be a ton of bid thieves and an extremely shrinking bubble from the major conferences to get left out.
Michigan goes 2-1:
This again seems extremely likely to be a bid into the dance. For metrics sake we will say they win vs MSU and vs Iowa and lose @OSU. We chose this as it would be the least helpful of any combination towards Michigan’s resume. Again Michigan is probably finishing around the 5-7 for B1G seeding. This finish and any type of help from the teams listed above while avoiding a bad loss in the B1G tourney should have them comfortable on selection Sunday.
Final percentage chance at making the Dance: 75%. The main additional variable is a few bad breaks from other bubble teams, a few bids stolen, and an early exit from the B1G.
Michigan goes 1-2:
This is where things get extremely dicey. In the worst case of this scenario Michigan gets the win vs MSU which would most likely stay a Quad 2 win and thus not add any Quad 1 wins. They would likely need a lot of help from other bubble teams while avoiding any bid thieves. At least one Quad 1 win in the B1G tournament seems like a must.
Final percentage chance at making the Dance: 30%. It’s still a possibility, but we would definitely be relying on help from other teams on multiple fronts.
Michigan goes 0-3:
Basically this is the almost definite elimination zone. I would say there is still a chance, but Michigan would AT LEAST need to make the B1G finals and probably have a TON of help from just about every bubble team that is able to faceplant this final week. Plus they would have to hope for no bid thieves and basically just winning the B1G tournament seems more likely than all those case situations.
Final percentage chance at making the Dance: 2%. Hope is a fleeting thing to be sure.
Alright the home stretch is upon us and it isn’t an easy week by any means for the good guys. Getting off to a good start on Tuesday night against your rival seems like a must. Michigan matches up well with both MSU and Iowa. It would be great to get to go into Columbus and be able to play loose instead of facing a must-win almost elimination type game next weekend.
As always, for reference on how Quad Wins and Losses work:
Quadrant 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-353, Neutral 201-353, Away 241-353