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.
- 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
- Andy Glockner/SI: 3 seed vs. Harvard (Auburn Hills/Arlington) – March 16
- Jerry Palm/CBS: 2 seed vs. Vermont (Auburn Hills/Los Angeles) – March 16
- USA Today: 3 seed vs. South Dakota State (Auburn Hills/Los Angeles) – March 16
- SBNation: 3 seed vs. Harvard (Auburn Hills/Arlington) – March 16
- Yahoo!: 3 seed – March 16
- Crashing the Dance: 3 seed — March 16
- Bracket Matrix: 3 seed — March 16
- Joe Lunardi/ESPN: 4 seed vs. Akron (Salt Lake City/Arlington) — March 15
- Bracketography: 3 seed vs. New Mexico State (Auburn Hills/Indianapolis) – March 16
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.