Bubble Notes: 3/2/09

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan is right on the outside of many of today’s bracketology updates after their loss in Madison. They are the second to last team out by both Lunardi and Crashing the Dance. Like I said on Friday, these “brackets” are essentially who’s hot right now reports. Luckily the season doesn’t end today. The best case scenario for Michigan is to sit back this week and watch other teams falter and then beat Minnesota.

The Resume

  • Record: 18-12 (8-9)
  • RPI: 48
  • SOS: 9
  • RPI Top 50: 5-9
  • RPI 50-100: 4-2
  • RPI 100+: 7-1
  • Quality wins: UCLA (neutral), Duke, Illinois, Purdue
  • Bad losses: Iowa
  • Last 10: 4-6

The resume doesn’t change much besides a small drop in the RPI (46 to 48) as well as Iowa falling out of the top 100. Iowa’s fall makes the Iowa game a “bad loss” and also gets rid of one of our top 100 wins. It’s safe to say that Michigan fans need to be rooting for Iowa this week when they play Penn State and Ohio State.

The strengths of the Michigan resume include quality wins over top 50 and top 100 opponents and strength of schedule. 9 top 100 wins and 5 top 50 wins are very good numbers for any bubble team. Michigan’s strength of schedule also rivals most other teams on the bubble. The biggest weakness is Michigan’s 3-8 road record, this is the chink in Michigan’s armor but a win at the Barn would be the perfect cure.



Here is a list of fellow bubble teams and what they have on deck this week. This is essentially the hit list, the teams that you want to root against. Sorted by RPI (in parenthesis).

  • Texas A&M (35): Tues @Colorado (229), Sat vs Missouri (13)
  • Minnesota (37): Weds vs. Wisconsin (31), Sat vs Michigan (48)
  • Creighton (39): Root for Creighton to win their conference tournament.
  • Georgetown (40): Tues @ St Johns (147), Sat vs DePaul (202)
  • Miami (44): Tues @GTech (159), Sat vs NC State (100)
  • San Diego State (46): Weds vs Col State (191), Sat vs UNLV (51)
  • Arizona (47): Thurs vs. Cal (36), Sat vs. Stanford (111)
  • Florida (50): Weds @ Miss St (88), Sat vs. Kentucky (66)
  • UNLV (51): Tues vs. Air Force (283), Sat @ SDSU (46)
  • Maryland (52): Tues vs. Wake Forest (17), Sat @ Virginia (110)
  • Cincinnati (53): Tues @USF (176), Sat vs Seton Hall (107)
  • Virginia Tech (59): Weds vs UNC (3), Sun @ FSU (16)
  • Penn State (64): Weds vs. Ill (19), Sat @Iowa (106)
  • Kansas State (73): Tues @Ok St (30), Sat vs Colorado (229)
  • Kentucky (66): Tues vs Georgia (204), Sat @ Florida (50) — *I have no idea how Lunardi has Kentucky as a 10 seed right now.
  • Providence (68): Thurs @ Villanova (15)
  • Notre Dame (69): Mon vs Villanova (15), Fri vs. St Johns (147)


The more I look at the Michigan resume the more I think it is almost identical to Arizona’s resume last year.  It is a different year so there are clearly different circumstances but if that Arizona team made the dance there is no doubt in my mind that Michigan deserves to make the dance.

There also aren’t many teams on the bubble with as many quality wins as Michigan. Boston College, UNLV, Georgetown, Penn State, and Kentucky are the only ones that come close.

The Big Ten is in a very interesting situation, there are so many teams on the bubble that we could see anywhere from six to eight bids. The committee doesn’t pick teams by conferences but it will be very interesting to see how it all plays out. Penn State, Minnesota, Michigan and even Ohio State will all have their chances to play themselves in or out this week.

Overall I think the situation remains pretty much unchanged for Michigan. Beat Minnesota and win the Thursday game of the Big Ten tournament and Michigan will put themselves in a very good position on Selection Sunday. Lose to Minnesota and they probably need to make it to the championship game or at the very least the semi-finals.

  • SpartanDan

    Actually, you probably want to root FOR Creighton. Nobody else in the Valley is getting an at-large; since they’re the only realistic hope for one, you’re better off if they don’t need an at-large.

    I think your view of things for Michigan is correct, though: beat Minnesota, don’t lose on Thursday, and you’re probably in. Lose to Minnesota, and it will take a miracle run in the Big Ten tourney.

  • Good call, thanks Dan.

  • Giddings

    SpartanDan beat me to it… basically we either want Creighton to lose their first game in the MVC Tournament or win the whole thing. If they make it to the championship game and lose to Northern Iowa, that’s a situation where the MVC likely gets 2 bids.

    If we lose to Minnesota, I still think that beating Northwestern in the 1st round and MSU in the 2nd round would put us right there, even if we lose to Wisconsin/PSU/OSU in the semis.

  • Giddings

    Also, I know there are lots of critics out there that say “with Michigan’s awful road record, it’s going to be very hard to make the Tournament without a deep run in the BTT”… but the reality is that road record is just one of many criteria that the Committee evaluates teams on. While we may be one of the worst bubble teams road-wise, we make up for it by having the most (or close to the most) Top 25, Top 50 and Top 100 wins of any bubble team.

  • Tom, Also

    Here’s an idea…

    Pick one of the teams that Dylan has listed (might as well go in order) and list their resume and give a yes or no on whether or not Michigan beats them out (at this moment, for arguments sake).

    Texas A&M
    Record: 21-8 (7-7)
    RPI: 35
    SoS: 37
    vs. RPI 1-50: 4-5
    vs. RPI 51-100: 3-3
    vs. RPI 101+: 13-0
    Quality Wins: Baylor, Texas, Arizona, LSU
    Bad Losses: None
    Last 10: 6-4

    Whew, this is a tough call. We have two more Top 100 wins and better big wins, but TAMU has no bad losses and has been playing a little better as of late. Our SOS is the only major difference, being much better in our favor. I’d say we get the edge.

    Also, Lunardi has them in the next four out, so I’d say as of now, we’d beat out TAMU.

  • raiderfan

    The Wisconsin loss really hurts. Does anyone know why we had Manny stop driving and kicking it out? Thats why we got the lead and were in the game. I honestly don’t think a win at Minnesota and a win in the first round gets us in. We most likely have to win our next 3 to have any realistic chance. Beilein has to find a way to get this team pumped for every game. This play hard every 3 games stuff won’t ever get it done. I question JB’s motivating skills. Every road game with the exception of Northwestern, we have come out flat and put ourselves in a huge whole. There is no excuse why Shep didn’t see a minute. Novak is a great player, but there is no way he was going to stop anyone on defense. C.J. is no longer effective and his offensive production is hurting this team more than his defense is helping. Next year is going to be our year but this year is another NIT bound team. Great season and it was definetly fun to watch but until we get a 3rd option consistantly we are nothing more than a middle of the pack Big Ten squad.

  • Its simple, they must beat Minnesota. Iowa loss was devastating, im still not over it.

  • JimC

    Root for OSU to lose at Iowa? No problem.

  • YpsiTuckyBoy


    You’re the highest paid state employee. Are you planning on giving any of it back to the state of Connecticut?

  • Kevin

    Does the committee take into account road/neutral games or just road games? If it includes neutral games that would help us a lot. I believe it puts us at 4-8 with wins over Oakland and UCLA and our loss to Duke.

  • This picture is a gem…

    Kevin: With neutral games the total comes to 3-8… Oakland is listed as a road game on WarrenNolan… Not sure if it should be though…

  • Tom, Also

    Eddie “Recursion!” Hightower

  • Michigan Student

    Indiana, Northwestern, UCLA, and Oakland. That’s 4 road/neutral wins by my count.

  • CR

    Excellent analysis, raiderfan:
    1) We just decided to stop having Manny drive and kick it out. Probably because it was working too well. It had nothing to do with the fact that Wis stopped helping and started leaving Krabby one on one with him.
    2) You are absolutely right. Shep not playing was the difference in this one. If only he would have played, this one would have been a lock.
    3) So, you have decided that they did not play hard yesterday? Are you kidding?
    4) Please clarify, here is what you wrote before the Wis game on 2/28: “Also, I believe if we win at Madison, we are DEFINETLY in, no matter is we lose at Minny, and the first game of the BTT. However if we lose, we will nedd to win at Minnesota and the first round of the BTT.” Now, your offering on 3/2 is: “I honestly don’t think a win at Minnesota and a win in the first round gets us in. We most likely have to win our next 3 to have any realistic chance.”
    What changed?

    Maybe you also need the bye week. Have fun on your little emotional rollercoaster ride.

  • You’re right Mich Student, my mistake. It’s 3-8, and 1-1.

  • Benjamin

    LOL…Hightower is utterly enamored with himself. What a douche.

    You know he was just asking for different views of him “acting” out a charge call….so much pelvic thrusting….

  • Also, I don’t buy providence being “in”…

    Six of their ten Big East wins have come against teams with RPI> 100. Their other wins are over Cinci (twice), Syracuse, and Pitt. Overall they are 2-7 against the RPI top 50. They lost to Baylor, Saint Marys, and Northeastern in the non conference.

    Not buying it…

    Cinci is in a similar boat, 4 of their 8 wins are to RPI>100. They swept Georgetown and beat ND and WVU. They have two more games against weak competition and could get to 10-8 but I’m not that impressed.

    2 of Michigan’s wins and one loss came to RPI>100 teams. If Iowa could win another game and eek into the RPI top 100 this would be only one win (Indiana).

  • Fab54ever

    Does anyone know about how many of those teams on the bubble are going to get in. Looks to me as maybe 5 or 6 depending on the conference tourneys. I would also put Davidson on that list. If charleston wins there tourney I don’t know if they get in. How great is it to have an elimination game to close out the regular season. The big ten has got to love that and nice scheduling guys. Hope this game doesn’t come to the last shot, cause I don’t like the looks are offense is getting in the last minutes of these games.

  • rlc

    So my shred of hope today is based on looking at Pomeroy’s ratings of teams in the Big 10. There are three teams in the conference with Top 30 offenses, and four with Top 30 defenses.

    The teams break down into three categories: good offense, bad defense (+O-D); bad offense, good defense (-O+D); and just plain good (+O+D).

    UM’s record against:
    +O+D: 0-1
    +O-D: 0-4
    -O+D: 3-2

    So the reason this is a source of hope, of course, is that Goldie Gopher (96/22) is one of the -O+D teams. They are much more like Illinois (99/5) and Purdue (63/4) than like Wisconsin (23/56) and tOSU (27/87). And although all 3 of UM’s wins referenced above came at Crisler, remember that we held second half leads in each of the games at Champaign and West Lafayette. We can do the same in Minneapolis, and with luck and moderately competent officiating keep the lead through the end of the game…

    As for the rest of our losses, well, they don’t exactly fit. Penn St (67/90) and Iowa (74/99) are not outstanding on offense or defense, but they are both slightly better on O. Maryland (80/52), on the other hand, is better on D. Duke (6/8) and UConn (15/3) are each +O+D with a bullet.

    On the win side, UCLA (3/47) is +O-D, but I think they’re a different team now than they were in November. Northwestern (59/86) is better on O, Northeastern (112/101) on D, and Indiana (235/165) just stinks.

    Has anyone paid any attention to Northeastern? At the end of January they were 10-1 in conference with road wins over VCU and ODU. Then they had a 2-5 conference record in February to finish tied for third – I wonder if somebody got injured…

  • ch125

    Honestly I can’t see Creighton losing in the conference tournament. I go to an MVC school and they are playing great basketball right now. UNI is not playing nearly as well as they were early in the conference, and I think the biggest threat to Creighton right is Bradley/Ill State.

  • rlc

    Oh, my – who would have thought Oakland (29/282) had a Top 30 offense, too? But their defense is so bad, they’re kind of in a class by themselves: +O–D.

  • rlc

    Hmmm – that’s supposed to read “minus-minus-D”, but the helpful website seems to have stripped out one of the minuses…

  • Oakland has always had a good offense, especially once they added Nelson back. They are a really fun team to watch, maybe they can make some noise in their conference tournament.

    Also, the site turns – – into –…

  • ch125

    I also think we need to win at Minnesota. 3-9 or 4-10 on the road is a big goose egg to the resume. If we don’t we have to get at least 2 in the tourney. Win on Thursday and beat Illinois or Purdue would put us at 6-11 road/neutral, as well as another top 25 RPI win. If Iowa (team we could play 1st round) somehow gets into top 100 we add another top 100 win.

    This situation could still make us sweat out Selection Sunday, but with the big wins we have and the near miss at Uconn, we have proved we can play with the best.

    And I have no idea how Kentucky (19-10) is a 10 seed right now either. They have a so/so resume and a HUGE goose egg with home loss to VMI. Big wins include RPI 20,20,23,49,78. All others are outside top 100. Bad losses include 134 VMI, and 104 Vandy. Weak SOS at 61. In my opinion the only reason they are in right now is because of Jodie Meeks.

    Compare that to our resume
    Wins – RPI 2,19,25,26,36,64,80,80,81
    Losses RPI 106, all others (11) inside RPI of 64 including 3 in the top 10. SOS is 9 according to CBS, which should carry us a long way.

  • AG2

    That article you linked to about the old vs. new RPI was interesting. It really makes you question the RPI of teams like Siena who played lots of tough road games against major conference teams, but got blasted in all of them. Then they roll through their low-major conference and voila, a 20+ win team with a tough SOS where the two aren’t really related.

    Next season’s old spice classic should help Michigan a lot. Unlike coaches vs. cancer, all the games are on road/neutral courts rather than the two home two neutral format we played this year.

  • JimC

    Not one dime!

    (Please give a dime to YpsiTuckyBoy for the setup)

  • Dylan, what are your thoughts about ND (seeing as they lost tonight)?

  • Giddings

    Big loss for ND tonight, even if they beat St. John’s at home to finish the season they will need to make it to the finals of the Big East Tournament to even have a chance on Selection Sunday.

    Also, watching Baylor right now… I wonder what Ekpe is thinking these days. If we make it in the Tourney and Baylor does not (they’re pretty much out of it), will he regret his decision to transfer? Does he enjoy living closer to home so much that it doesn’t really matter? Does he see Peedi dominating Jajuan Johnson on ESPN and think “that could have been me”?

  • Nelson has been out for the entire season save a couple of appearances that did not go smoothly.

    But yeah, Oakland can put up the points in bunches, Jones leads the country in total assists.

  • CR, Raiderfan had some valid points. No need to put words into his mouth.

  • Uncle Omar

    I thought all year that 9-9 in conference made UM a mortal lock for the NCAA. I was wrong because 9-9 is not that great in the Big Ten this year with IU losing to everyone. (Although this is something that the Big East people conventiently overlook in reference to DePaul losing to everyone in that conference.) Nonetheless, a win in the conference tournament should do it if it follows a win in the Barn this weekend. What is disgusting is that an 18-13 record this year–presupposing a loss to Minny–is better than Kentucky’s record last year and they got in and UM probably will not. I would suggest that this has to do with Kentucky’s last ten years compared to Michigan’s. The NCAA selection committee has overlooked UM a couple of times in the Amaker Era when it should not have and these snubs tend to snowball. From a coaching standpoint is an 11 or 12 seed in the NCAA and a trip home after the first game to practice for two more weeks as good for team and player development as five games in the NIT including a trip back to NYC? I don’t know the answer, but if Kentucky was worth last year, Michigan is this year!

  • JimC

    Dugan Fife, on WTKA yesterday, said that from a players standpoint you only want the big dance.
    More news: the Pope is Catholic.

  • Josh B

    Great Tuesday night, teams doing favors for Michigan all over. Cinncinnati loses to South Florida, Georgetown loses to St. John’s, Kansas State loses to Oklahoma State, Maryland loses to Wake, and Duke won.

    About the only help that M didn’t get was from Iowa, who found a way to lose to OSU.

    Its been said all over this site, but Michigan still needs a win against Minnesota and 1 BTT win. With everything that happened tonight, and a little more help this week, Michigan should be dancing with 2 more W’s.

  • Georgetown was already out of it I’m sure. But certainly the others help us out mightily. Won’t matter if we don’t beat Minny.

  • ch125

    Favors from all other conferences, minus OURS

    Georgetown to the NIT w/ loss to St. Johns
    Maryland – missed opportunity against Wake
    Cincinatti to the NIT w/ loss at South Florida (176)
    K state to the NIT w/ loss at OK State (30)
    Notre Dame to the NIT
    UK to the NIT w/ loss to Georgia (204)
    Florida – another RPI 50-100 loss (88)
    Miami – to the NIT w/ loss to GT (159)
    Va Tech – missed opportunity vs UNC
    Boston College – RPI 102 loss (N.C. State)

    Only bad news is that Minnesota won, which makes Saturday’s game that much more important.