It has been a roller coaster season for the Michigan Wolverines on the basketball court, but their NCAA Tournament goals are still very much in front of them with a healthy Isaiah Livers and a manageable schedule moving forward down the stretch. For the first time since December, we are going to get a look at what this group looks like with all hands on deck.
Nearly a month ago in this piece (which will be updated more frequently as we move into crunch time of this season), Michigan was fighting for its tournament lives. In a lot of ways, they still are, but their standing as of now has them somewhat safely in as opposed to being one of the first four teams out or last four in.
Here is where some of the national outlets project them heading come March Madness:
Here’s a look at the upcoming schedule for the Wolverines:
Feb. 12 — at Northwestern
Feb. 16 — vs. Indiana
Feb. 19 — at Rutgers
Feb. 22 — at Purdue
Feb. 27 — vs. Wisconsin
Mar. 1 — at Ohio State
Mar. 5 — vs. Nebraska
Mar. 8 — at Maryland
Michigan sits at 14-9 heading into Wednesday’s game at Northwestern and finishing the regular season with 18 wins at least probably gives them a good shot at getting into the tournament. This week is critical in that regard because they play a pair of games at Northwestern and at home against Indiana that could serve as two more to pile on to the resume. Those are two beatable squads and with Livers back, not winning both of those would be a disappointment.
From there, Wisconsin and Nebraska look to be the best shot at victories, which would give them the potential four that they would need in the quest to 18. Anything more than that before the Big Ten Tournament is gravy, as one would hope they could add another win there.
Overall, it feels like this group has what it takes to be a tournament team and the resume is there. Plenty of these guys will be on the team still next year, so a scenario where they get in as an eight or nine-seed and play a winnable first game, then a shot at a one-seed could be a nice learning experience for them. We saw them flourish in a tournament setting down in the Bahamas, so you never know.