Michigan’s Curious Case
To my own surprise when I first looked at the number’s, Michigan’s tournament chances are a lot better than many have been projecting or predicting. Going into this previous week it seemed pretty certain that a 2-0 performance was a must. However, many expected teams to take advantage of bubble positioning have struggled these past two weeks and instead have allowed Michigan’s marginally good resume to stand out in comparison.
So where are these impacts coming from? Well first and foremost you will notice that Michigan has grabbed a 3rd Quad 1 win. Now this one has been fluctuating for a while and is a result of Pittsburgh currently sitting at NET 50. It would have been way more convenient had they won at Va Tech on Saturday, but still holding on to Quad 1 status. The other major shift is with Northwestern. They have gone from NET 50s to NET 39. If they continue to play well and climb to NET 30 Michigan would pick up a 4th Quad 1 win. Again I can confidently say, pre Big Ten Tournament, that if Michigan were to get to 6 wins in Quad 1 they will make the tournament. If the 6th came in the Tournament, well then I’m not so sure. Overall Michigan went from NET 67th to NET 65 this week.
Now for the conference teams list and this is where things get interesting. Unlike Michigan’s actual games, the week went quite well for Michigan while the weekend wasn’t as good. I’ll go ahead and give the box and then give some important notes about it. As of now though there are 39 teams "safely in" with 9 of those hopefully CT champs. That leaves 6 bubble spots with 12 teams "looking bubbly" only 2 of which could be unique CT champs:
This thing is getting awfully tight so let’s quickly talk about each conference.
The AAC - has worked itself out. Houston is in and Memphis has a home game against Houston to earn their spot in the tournament. They also have two other can’t lose games. If they don’t beat Houston, but win the others they are a coinflip in or out.
The ACC - UNC is a great team for Michigan to replace. They have two games vs UVA and Duke both at home. They lose both and they are done. Pittsburgh could still fall out of the tournament, but at this point it is almost better to have them enhance Michigan’s resume and make it. Two dangerous bad loss games this week so let’s revisit next week. WF, Va Tech, Clemson are all barely hanging on and all three have big games this week.
Big 12 - is a mess. Six are in no questions asked. Hopefully it ends up only at 7. Every game is a high quality game in this conference so fluctuations happen fast.
Big East - Seton Hall is almost off the page. Big one at home this week vs Xavier.
Big Ten - Wisconsin currently gets projected in the field on some high quality site Matrix. This is where the confidence in Michigan still making the tournament should come in. Michigan can easily take Wisconsin’s spot. Must win game at home vs them this week.
MWC - another big contender in keeping Michigan out of the tournament. This needs to be a 3 bid league doesn't matter how, it shakes out. Only SDSU is in with confidence.
PAC 12 - root against USC at every turn. Oregon lost again on Sunday and ASU has to win on the road vs AZ or UCLA. USC needs to play their way out not in
SEC - Really it’s just whether or not Mississippi State makes it. Vandy has shown some fight, but I think it’s not enough. Florida lost Castleton at the worst possible time.
Others - As expected this section continues to play off the bubble as they take bad losses. The most worrying is probably FAU. The C-USA has some solid talent this year.
No change in the remaining schedule. Don’t need a 2-0 week, but must take the home game vs Wisconsin and frankly I think @Rutgers is the best chance for a road win:
The biggest change going forward as talked about is the finished schedule. Northwestern playing well and getting to NET 30 may just play a huge role in Michigan making the tournament. As for this week the home one vs Wisconsin is massive. Michigan wants to take their place in the bracket. Beating Rutgers on the road would also do wonders for the team sheet. A 2-0 week and things get awfully juicy here on the bubble, way more so than we could have hoped following the road loss to Wisconsin.
Alright lastly here are the impactful games to watch this week. Again not including the weekend contest as there are just too many at that point. Teams to root for are in bold:
This week is going to make for some interesting results as a lot of these games likely could go in the favor of Michigan. Add to that a 2-0 performance from The Wolverines and you will start to see Michigan pop up on many last four out/last four in projections.
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