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Heartbreaking stuff Sunday early evening. Add to that 3 shots with the ball to win must win contest in back to back games and well it's just tough as a Michigan fan to take. As for Sunday's contest, I can’t stress to you how much a win yesterday would have impacted Michigan’s resume. I’ll get straight into the numbers so you can see for yourself.
Alright let’s talk about the missed opportunities. Indiana with that win "jumped" from NET 28 to NET 29. Michigan State sits at NET 31. Had Michigan won that contest and thus handed Indiana a Quad 2 defeat, they would fall at least 2 more spots. Michigan’s Resume would sky rocket to 5-10 in Quad 1 games. Wisconsin is currently sitting at NET 78. Depending on how that cascade of events happens they might have risen to NET 75. Michigan’s resume would then look like this:
Q1: 5-11, Q2: 6-1, Q3: 4-0, Q4: 4-1
That team sheet is making the tournament this season. In fact not only would they be in, but they would be listed on, last four byes, and pushing NC state and Boise State for their positions in the Bracket. Again I can’t stress enough how much impact that win yesterday would of had. Sadly, it didn’t happen so we and this team, have to move on and figure out a way into the tournament without that victory. On the bright side, some things got a lot clearer this week:
This table has 39 teams that have, for our purpose, "clinched" their spot in the Dance. 10 of which can be unique CT Champs. So that leaves 7 spots that are still possible. Let’s get straight into each team and conference listed:
The AAC - Memphis is making it and so is Houston. Either can win the league but no one else or the bubble shrinks. It's likely that one of these two wins the AAC
The ACC - NC state plays the winner of Va Tech and Notre Dame. If NC State loses that one, their place in the Dance will be available to the right team
Pittsburgh plays the winner of FSU and GA Tech. If Pitt loses that one, their place will be available
UNC plays a meaningless game before playing UVA. They are out now and will stay out if they don’t beat UVA; TBD with a win
Clemson plays the progressive winner from NC State’s game. You can immediately see the issue we face. However, whoever wins the NC State game needs to beat Clemson even if that is NC State. Clemson loses and their chances are done; TBD with a win
Finally VA Tech is the likely best option to beat both NC State and Clemson. Should they do so, it is extremely important for them to then lose to hopeful winner UVA. Basically, The ACC is an issue for Michigan’s chances in a lot of ways
Big 12 - Ok State is either last in or first out depending on the bracket you decide to visit. They play Oklahoma, the closest thing the Big 12 has to a "bad loss." Even with a loss they will get consideration, but I think ultimately out.
Other hopefuls, Tx Tech and OU, who are very much alive, play Kansas and Texas in the 2nd round game. Both need to get eliminated there or they will become possible bubble competition
Big East - Nova and Seton Hall are lurking with a few CT wins, and Saint Johns is always dangerous at MSG. The sooner those teams get eliminated the less thoughts needed expended on the Big East
Big Ten - Rutgers we play and can double eliminate.
Wisconsin plays OSU for their tournament life. They lose and they aren’t making the Dance. Forcing me to root for OSU...now I hate the Badgers even more.
PSU opens vs Illinois. A loss there also likely will keep PSU out of the Dance
MWC - Nevada opens CT play vs San Jose St. They are also either just barely or more likely just out. They lose that one and their chances at making it are done.
Utah St opens CT play vs the winner of Wyoming and New Mexico. They are also sitting just barely in the bracket. They lose that one to either team and their chances at making it are done.
Finally, assuming that team is New Mexico beating Utah St, let's have Boise State beat them in the semis while facing SDSU for the MWC Championship. This would do wonders to wrap this league up at 2 bids
PAC 12 - ASU opens CT play vs Oregon St. If they lose that contest, then they aren’t making the tournament. Even if projections show ASU currently in, with that loss they will miss the Dance. Assuming they do win, they then play USC. A loss will leave their spot open for either a bid theive or a high major (Michigan) that goes on a CT run. A win will clinch their spot.
The Pac 12 as a whole only has 3 teams we want to see win it, but two of those teams are really, really good. If Oregon were to beat UCLA we may have to revisit their resume. Everyone else has to win the Pac 12 to get a bid
SEC - Miss State opens vs Florida. If they lose that game their spot in the bracket will be up for grabs. They win that contest and they are securely in. Same situation as Pitt and NC State.
Vandy and Florida are still lurking. Best thing to root for looking at the SEC bracket is to see chalk in every contest
Other - FAU is making the Dance. The bubble has softened enough that even an ugly loss will keep them in. They play in the C-USA and need to win it. North Texas and UAB are the likely issues with that plan. I expect a bid to be lost here.
ORU is extremely close on basically all metrics. This bubble has softened enough that if they lose a heartbreaker in the CT final, I expect they will make it in. Luckily, they have been dominant in conference play and should win the Summit CT.
There are no other hopefuls out there. Writers and various articles will suggest some, but that is just for content. In truth these are the only two teams and CT tournaments outside the ones mentioned above capable of having more than 2 teams make it
With all that information how should we look at things?
Well this is the picture for how fans of Michigan should view the week. There are currently 7 spots that are TBD. Obviously, Michigan could make life easy and win the Big Ten Tournament, but let’s be honest this team hasn’t made things easy all year long. First and foremost the Rutgers game on Wednesday night is a double elimination game. The winner moves on in the BTT and the loser misses out on any chance at the NCAA. Very high stakes at hand Thursday, 11 est.
NC State, Pitt, Miss St, Rutgers, all start CT play in the NCAA, and all open with a game to clinch their spot. If each team wins then that will be 4 spots gone (and Michigan eliminated).
ASU, Wisconsin, PSU, Utah State, Nevada, and Ok St are trending toward making it. A bad loss or early exit will decide their fate. They have more control of making the tournament and if they keep winning then only CT champs will steal their spots. If each does well that will be 6 more spots unavailable.
As any math wizard could figure out that is 10 spots and we only have 7 so already there is trouble. The rest of the teams are lurkers waiting for an opening and unfortunately this is the category Michigan occupies. They can still make it without winning the CT championship, but that is out of their control. Basically, Michigan needs to control what they can control, which starts with a win vs Rutgers, and keep an eye around the country for possible openings.
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