The Michigan Wolverines went out with a whimper Thursday afternoon, falling to Rutgers in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament after a putrid second half, 62-50.
When it comes to the NCAA Tournament, they no longer control their own destiny; they need a few bubble teams to lose to help their really slim chances of getting an at-large bid in March Madness.
The Wolverines finished 17-15 overall and 11-9 in the conference. They have the 21st-hardest strength of schedule and as of Friday morning, they are ranked 58th in the NET rankings.
They have a few quality wins (home against MSU, neutral site against Pitt, at Northwestern, home against Maryland, home against Penn State) but it really hurts that they have a Quad 4 loss against Central Michigan and are 3-12 in Quad 1 games. If they had just won a few of those games they blew at the end against ranked teams like Virginia, Purdue or Indiana, they might be safely in the tournament right now.
Let’s compare Michigan’s resume to seven other teams on the bubble to see if there’s any chance at a happy Selection Sunday.
NET Ranking: 54, SOS: 35, 20-12, 6-6 in Quad 1 games; Quality wins: home vs Iowa, home vs Indiana, three wins against Illinois, @ Northwestern, vs Maryland
Michigan split the series with Penn State this season. The Nittany Lions are getting hot at the right time, winning their last three games against Northwestern, Maryland and Illinois, all Big Ten teams expected to make the tournament. Their win last night over Illinois in Big Ten Tournament might have been enough to get them in.
As of Friday morning, bracketologists at ESPN, Fox Sports and CBS have Penn State in the tournament. It would really help Michigan if Penn State got blown out by Northwestern tonight, but it might be too late for Michigan to take Penn State’s spot.
NET Ranking: 81, SOS: 13, 17-14, 6-7 in Quad 1 games; Quality wins: vs USC, @ Marquette, vs Maryland, Iowa twice, Penn State twice
Wisconsin’s resume is a lot similar to Michigan’s, although Michigan doesn’t have as good a win as Wisconsin’s at Marquette, who is now No. 6 in the country. The Badgers also went out in their first round of the Big Ten Tournament, losing to Ohio State in a game they needed to win.
Wisconsin split the series with Michigan. Most bracketologists have Wisconsin out right now and I’d give them a slight edge over Michigan since they have twice as many Quad 1 wins.
NET Ranking: 38, SOS: 44, 19-13, 5-6 in Quad 1 games; Quality wins: vs Indiana, @ Purdue, vs Maryland, @ Northwestern, Penn State twice.
Michigan won the sole regular season game against Rutgers. The committee claims they don’t have recency bias and weigh every game equally, but this second-half beatdown in the Big Ten Tournament is hard to ignore.
Note: This was written Friday morning and if Rutgers beats Purdue, it is probably in.
NET ranking: 42, SOS: 8, 18-15, 6-12 in Quad 1 games; Quality wins: West Virginia, Iowa State twice, TCU
Oklahoma State has the same, unpleasant wait as Michigan after losing to Texas in the Big 12 Tournament. Oklahoma State has played 18 (!) Quad 1 games, and winning six of them really helps their resume.
The Cowboys are currently the first team out on ESPN and CBS. Their resume is probably a little better than Michigan’s with how tough the Big 12 is.
NET ranking: 60, SOS: 62, 22-11, 5-5 in Quad 1 games; Quality wins: vs VCU, vs Creighton, @ Arizona, USC in Pac 12 tourney
Arizona State is now in on Joe Lunardi’s bracket after beating USC last night, a win that certainly helped its resume. Michigan needs Arizona State to lose to Arizona tonight.
It really hurts Michigan it got blown out by Arizona State in the Legends Classic earlier this year, and beating Arizona is a better win than any of Michigan’s.
NET Ranking: 51, SOS: 106, 23-9, 4-3 in Quad 1 games; Quality wins: vs Penn State, NC State 3 times, @ Pitt, vs Duke,
Clemson is currently out of the bracket, according to most. The Tigers have some decent wins but have a terrible strength of schedule.
Clemson faces a really good Virginia team tonight in the ACC Tournament. If the Tigers win that game, their resume would be better than Michigan’s.
NET Ranking: 47, SOS: 37, 20-13, 1-9 in Quad 1 games; Quality wins: vs NC State, vs Clemson, vs Virginia)
North Carolina beat Michigan in its head-to-head matchup, but with the Tar Heels only having a single Quad 1 win, there’s a case to be made Michigan’s resume is better than North Carolina’s.
That being said, UNC feels firmly out after losing to Virginia in the ACC Tournament last night. UNC’s collapse this season was worse than Michigan’s, considering it started the season as the No. 1 team in the AP Poll.