Michigan Wolverines athletics has been on hiatus for over a week, but that does not stop the hype train with their men’s basketball program. Juwan Howard and company have caught the eye of the media with their accelerated 13-1 start to the season.
On Monday, the AP Poll kept the Wolverines at No. 4 in their rankings despite a then 10-day absence from action. Another reason would be to keep the anticipation for when they return to the court against No. 12 Illinois on February 11 and head to Wisconsin that weekend to face the No. 19 Badgers. If they can get out of that unscathed, the Wolverines face two more top-10 opponents in their next four contests heading to Columbus to play No. 7 Ohio State and hosting the No. 8 Iowa Hawkeyes.
With only seven remaining scheduled games, the postseason is rapidly approaching with both the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament taking place in Indianapolis in March. As the season winds down, bracketologists have begun shaping their projections for March Madness, and one Andy Katz predicts the Wolverines will be a No. 1 seed:
Gonzaga, Baylor, Villanova, and Michigan take the No. 1 seed in each side of the bracket, and are each of the top-4 teams in the country in this week’s AP poll.
Undefeated Drake would be the 8-seed and could promise an intriguing second-round matchup with the Wolverines in this scenario. Teams like Florida State, Florida, Oklahoma, Houston, and Creighton would make this the most difficult region for the Wolverines to escape from.
Other Big Ten teams who made the list are Iowa and Illinois as No. 2 seeds, Ohio State as a No. 3, Wisconsin as a No. 5 seed, Purdue as a No. 6 seed, Minnesota as a No. 7, Rutgers as a No. 8 seed, Indiana as a No. 9 seed, and Maryland as a No. 11 seed. All-in-all, 10 Big Ten program would make the NCAA Tournament if the season ended today according to Katz, more than any other conference.
Katz is clearly very high on the Big Ten Conference saying, “If those teams make the NCAA tournament and receive those exact seeds, and if the better-ranked team then won in each first-round matchup, there’s a chance eight Big Ten teams could still be alive in the NCAA tournament in the second round. That’s because the conference has quality teams, and a high quantity of them.”
With still a month to play out and several top teams remaining on the docket when the Wolverines return to the court, this situation is highly fluid. But, there is much to say that even after an extended break from play that the Wolverines are garnering this much attention on the national stage.