Juwan Howard and the Michigan Wolverines were firmly on the bubble heading into Selection Sunday. It was not a guarantee they would reach the NCAA Tournament after a loss to Indiana in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Hoosier then went on to beat the No. 1 seed Illinois Fighting Illini, making things a bit more complicated for the selection committee.
But at the end of the day, Michigan was given a No. 11 seed and face off against No. 6 seed Colorado State Thursday afternoon to kickoff the NCAA Tournament field of 64.
But according to a recent survey conducted by SB Nation, most college basketball fans (43%) believe the Wolverines are the least-deserving bubble team to reach the tournament.
Most of our poll respondents (55%) believe Texas A&M should have made the tournament out of all the teams that missed out. The next closest team was Dayton at 21%, Oklahoma at 17% and SMU at 7%.
The Wolverines finished the season on a really disappointing note to Indiana, but there were some highlights throughout the season as well. A road victory to end the year at Ohio State without Hunter Dickinson was monumental. A home win against one of the top-ranked teams in the country in Purdue also gave the Wolverines a huge Quad 1 win.
But Michigan also had the fifth-hardest schedule in all of college basketball this season and had a handful of Quad 1 and Quad 2 victories scattered throughout the year. Throw in the fact that the team started No. 6 at the beginning of the year in the AP Poll, the program brought in one of the top-ranked recruiting classes in the country, and the team reached the Elite Eight last year, expectations for the program were sky high heading into the 2021-22 season.
Meanwhile, the Aggies went on a run through the SEC Tournament, taking down both Arkansas and Auburn en route to a second-place finish, eventually losing to Tennessee in the finals. They had a great run to end the year, but their NET ranking was lower than Michigan’s and had less Quad 1 wins overall. I’m not saying they weren’t deserving of the Big Dance, but Michigan had the better metrics that matter most to the committee.
Will the Wolverines right the ship in the month of March and make a run in the NCAA Tournament? We will all find out soon enough.
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