The Michigan Wolverines were once thought as locks to make the NCAA Tournament after roaring out to a 7-0 start to the season, but things have trended downward since then even with the win at Nebraska on Tuesday night. We knew that this team would be fighting for a tournament berth in Juwan Howard’s first season and now the fight is on and their backs are against the wall.
Here’s our first batch of bracketology projections for Michigan as we close out January with a very important February on the way for the Wolverines.
ESPN: 9-seed in West Region vs. No. 8 USC (Spokane, Washington)
SB Nation: 9-seed in West Region vs. No. 8 USC (Spokane, Washington)
CBS Sports: No tournament berth, First Four Out
NBC Sports: 10-seed in Midwest Region vs. No. 7 Arizona (St. Louis, Missouri)
Bracketville: 10-seed in Midwest Region vs. No. 7 Arizona (St. Louis, Missouri)
Team Rankings: Projected 12-seed
Bracket Matrix: Projected 9-seed via composite rankings, Wolverines appear in 98 of 105 projected brackets
Where things stand today, most outlets still believe that Michigan can ultimately claw its way into the NCAA Tournament and the good news for them is that the win over Gonzaga in the Bahamas appears as if it is going to hold up, which is terrific for them. The win over Iowa at home is paying off, as well. The interesting thing about their history with Gonzaga is that in the two projections that have them playing out in Spokane, winning that first round game would give them a rematch with the Zags.
The Wolverines in the next week or so can really take a major step in helping pad their resume with a game against Rutgers on Saturday at Madison Square Garden and home games next week against both Ohio State and Michigan State. Then they have a road game with a bad Northwestern team and host Indiana on Feb. 16. KenPom projects them to go 3-2 in this upcoming stretch, but if they can nab a fourth win somewhere in there, that might make a lot of people feel better about where this year is headed with the stretch run coming.