Bracket Watch: March 16th, 2013

Dylan Burkhardt
on

Michigan 83, Penn State 66-8
Dustin Johnston

Michigan missed out on a share of the Big Ten regular season crown by a thread and was sent home packing on Friday in the Big Ten Tournament. Now the season comes down to whether the Wolverines can make a NCAA tournament run.

Brackets will be revealed in a little over 24 hours and the Wolverines will finally know how they are seeded, who they are playing and where they are going.

Despite Friday’s frustrating loss to Wisconsin, all is not lost in terms of NCAA tournament seeding. CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm still has Michigan projected as a No. 2 seed entering Saturday’s action while most other bracketologists have the Wolverines as a No. 3 seed. While some have the Wolverines falling to a No. 4, the overwhelming majority seems to have Michigan pegged on the lower half of the 3-line.

Almost every major bracketologist still has Michigan opening the NCAA tournament in Auburn Hills regardless of seed. There’s little clarity among likely regional as projections vary across the board.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi is the one bracketologist that disagrees as his newly updated bracket not only has Michigan as a 4-seed, he has the Wolverines opening tournament play in Salt Lake City.

Find the typical Nitty Gritty and Around the Big Ten sections as well as an expanded rundown of bracket projections and a seeding rooting guide for the rest of today’s action after the jump.

Nitty Gritty:

  • Record: 25-7
  • RPI: 17
  • SOS: 39
  • Home: 16-1
  • Away: 5-5
  • Neutral: 4-1
  • vs. RPI Top 50: 8-6
  • vs. RPI Top 100: 10-6

Bracketology Rundown

Around the Big Ten

Iowa let a second half lead slip away against Michigan State on Friday evening at the United Center and its NCAA tournament hopes probably went out the door at the same time. Minnesota beat Wisconsin and Indiana at home over the last month but is still just 5-11 over its last 16 games. The Gophers will dance because they have so many quality wins but there can’t be many tournament teams playing worse headed into the tournament.

At the top, Indiana hopes to hold onto a No. 1 seed in the Midwest regional. Louisville could pose a real threat to that coveted regional though if it were to beat Syracuse in tonight’s Big East Championship game. Indiana would be best served to knock off Wisconsin in semifinal action today. That won’t be easy considering the Hoosiers have lost 11 straight to Bo Ryan and the Badgers.

Speaking of Wisconsin, the Badgers’ poor non-conference performance has hurt their seeding but a win over Indiana could prove critical. Wisconsin has hovered around the 5-seed line of late but how far could it climb with a win over Indiana?

Michigan State and Ohio State face off in the other conference semifinal and it looks like the winner could be in a very strong position for the No. 2 seed while the loser could slip to the three line.

At the end of the day, the Big Ten looks like it will send seven of its 12 members to the tournament with likely four teams on the top three seed lines. Now the question is whether the league will finally crown a National Champion for the first time since 2000.

Rooting Guide: Holding On

As Michigan looks to hold onto its No. 3 seed in the dying days of the regular season, a couple games should be vitally important as teams behind or around Michigan on the s-curve have opportunities for signature late season wins.

  • Kansas State vs. Kansas – 6:00 p.m. (ESPN) – Kansas State, a team Michigan beat in New York City, is a 4-seed on most brackets but the co-Big 12 regular season champs have a golden opportunity against Kansas. The Jayhawks are a likely 2-seed and Michigan would be best served if Bill Self’s team holds serve.
  • Syracuse vs. Louisville – 8:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Syracuse is another projected 4-seed attempting to climb beyond Michigan. The Orange have a great opportunity to knock off a likely No. 1 seed in the friendly confines of Madison Square Garden.
  • Wisconsin vs. Indiana – 1:40 p.m. (CBS) – Wisconsin is unlikely to hop Michigan, even with a win over Indiana, but the Hoosiers holding serve could help clean up some loose edges.
  • New Mexico vs. UNLV – 6:00 p.m. (CBS) – New Mexico is a 3-seed or even 2-seed in many brackets. A loss to UNLV in the Mountain West Championship could buy Michigan a little breathing room.
  • Miami vs. N.C. State – 1:00 p.m. (ESPN) –  It seems unlikely that Miami would fall below Michigan but a win for the Wolfpack would have the added bonus of boosting Michigan’s resume as the Wolverines knocked off N.C. State back in November,
  • Florida vs. Alabama – 1:00 p.m. (ABC) – This should be a likely Florida win but an upset against Alabama could also be a knock on another projected 3-seed.
  • Mattski

    Palm has us seeded ahead of OSU, which I don’t get, much as I love my team. If OSU is hitting from outside I see them as capable of hanging with anyone. Funny, but the way the season has turned I have found myself admiring that team and increasing my raging h*tred of everyone else! A pox on all your houses MSU and Wisconsin! :)

    • sane1

      If we are hitting our outside shots, we can and probably will beat anyone.

      • AG

        I’d say forcing turnovers so we can get out and run is more important to this team.

  • Adam

    not a good start to these rooting interests haha… Alabama blows a 10 point lead, NC State is gonna lose, and IU is losing.. The biggest games of all are the championships though.. K-State and Syracuse HAVE to lose

  • EchoWhiskey

    Why Kansas over K-state if we beat K-state?

    • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

      Because there’s a chance K-State could hop UM despite head to head.

      • EchoWhiskey

        Gotcha.

      • AG

        I don’t think K-State matters, they’re headed for KC anyway aren’t they? It is nice that there are finally some teams out west deserving of protected seeds, like Gonzaga and New Mexico though.

  • Steve2081

    I think it would be hilarious if we ended up in SLC.

    • Joel_C

      I don’t!! I have tickets for the Palace!

    • AG

      Oh yeah, because getting shipped out west while Wisconsin/Syracuse steals Auburn Hills from us, and then getting stuck playing South Dakota State would be friggin hilarious.

      • Steve2081

        Yes I know!

  • Joel_C

    Well the Wisconsin loss doesn’t seem quite as bad now. UNLV’s gotta win tonight so we can get that 3-seed!

    • Mattski

      Seems worse in a way, considering how awfully Wisconsin shot in the first half. I really regret that loss. But the rest is a silver lining, I think. And the B1G reffing and style have been so ugly this season. . .

  • Andrew Weiss

    UNLV, Louisville and Kansas if all three win guaranteed 3 seed, 2 out of 3 happen good chances at 3.

  • Jeff

    I think we’re going to drop to a four-seed at this point. Pretty much all of our competition has taken care of business this weekend except us. As long as we end up in Auburn Hills it probably doesn’t matter.

    • AG

      In that case, OSU and Lville must win their conf title games. Don’t want Wiscy or Cuse stealin that spot.

  • mattbuckets

    I gotta believe tha the committee will give the teams in the big ten a little extra bonus points for the tough conference this year. That is why michigan will hang on to the 3 seed. on a side note that doesnt matter. I sure hope Gonzaga is the first #1 seed to go down in tournament history in rd 1 (rd 3 actually). It seems to me if it was to ever happen this would be the year

    • AG

      Have you *seen* this year’s crop of 16 seeds? A lot of #1 seeds in conference tournaments got embarrased. The only mid-majors with a shot at an upset are probably South Dakota State, Akron, Davidson, and Bucknell. And Akron doesn’t have its starting PG, Bucknell lost to Penn State, and I’m not even including Belmont because they never play well against major conference teams.

      • mattbuckets

        i guess im not looking a the 16 seeds, rather looking at a team whom i believe has no right sitting on top of the polls

  • Hops

    I can’t see how it is remotely possible that 38 teams have played tougher schedules than U-M. 9 games in conference against top 15 teams plus K State, Pitt and NC State…

    • jemblue

      Those two games against RPI 300 teams apparently cancel out all the other tough scheduling we did. It’s bullcrap.

  • jemblue

    We dodged a bullet with Louisville making a huge second-half comeback tonight. Now we need the Buckeyes to take care of UW and I think we’re headed to Auburn Hills.

  • ChathaM

    Just looking at the RPI now…

    UM is #16 in the RPI, but that doesn’t include today’s games. In any case, 4 of the teams ahead of UM are Memphis, Arizona, Marquette, and Syracuse. I don’t see any of those teams being placed above UM on the S curve. The only team below UM in the RPI that I could potentially see placed above them is K State. But, after today’s Big 12 title game beatdown, I can’t see that happening. I think it’s most likely that UM is placed #12 on the S curve, which makes them a 3 seed, in a region with the best 2 seed, and the worst 1 seed.

    I think getting a 3 seed vs. a 4 would be a significant advantage. The projected 13 seeds look much better than the projected 14 seeds.

    • Brad S

      They don’t seed that way, with the best 2 seed with the worst 3 seed, etc. It’s more about location and keeping same conference teams away from each other. That said, I’d be surprised if we didn’t end up as a 3 seed

      • ChathaM

        Thanks. I thought that they did it that way, with procedural bumps possible due to the factors you mentioned.

        Lunardi has it between UM and KSU for the final 3 seed, with KSU getting the 3. Palm has the opposite, with UM as a 3.

        • Adam St Patrick

          Lunardi is the one that’s been calling us a #4 for a few weeks though, no? Would be amusing to lose that seed to a team we beat. I don’t know enough about the methodology anymore, but it doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense on the surface.

          • ChathaM

            If emphasis were placed on the last 10-12 games, then you could justify KSU over UM. But, I think I remember hearing that the committee doesn’t emphasize that anymore, based on potential unfair treatment of back-weighted schedules.