With one game left in the regular season, Michigan finds itself facing the possibility of a mid-week trip to Dayton — if it makes the NCAA tournament field.
The Wolverines are projected by most bracketologists among the last four teams in the tournament, meaning they would be headed to the First Four in Dayton on either Tuesday or Wednesday. With more games to play and bids to be stolen, that means that Michigan isn’t safe and has its work cut out to make the tournament field.
A home win over Iowa on Saturday night would be Michigan’s fourth against a top-25 team and might just do the trick. Following that up with a win in its opening game of the Big Ten Tournament (likely to be Penn State in the 8-9 game), would seal the deal.
But if Michigan loses on Saturday against the Hawkeyes, it could have a monumental task in front of it in Indianapolis. Merely adding a third win over Penn State to the resume might not be enough and that could mean that the Wolverines need to knock off the Big Ten Tournament No. 1 seed to crack the field.
The Wolverines still appear to control their own destiny for now, but they are running out of second chances to get the job done.
- Record: 20-10
- RPI: 55
- SOS: 60
- Home: 13-3
- Away: 4-6
- Neutral: 3-1
- vs. RPI top-50: 3-8
- vs. RPI top-100: 5-10
- Joe Lunardi/ESPN: 11 seed vs. Butler (First Four)
- Jerry Palm/CBS: 10 Seed vs. St. Bonaventure (First Four)
- Yahoo Big Board: 10 Seed
- Crashing the Dance: 10 Seed (First Four)
- Bracket Matrix: 11 Seed
- 1-3-1 Sports: 11 Seed (First Four)
- Michigan State (24-5, 14 RPI): Michigan State looks like it has a legitimate chance at the No. 1 seed line and several bracketologists have already given the Spartans the bump. Michigan State closes the conference with a trip to Rutgers and a home game against Ohio State and looks like a strong Big Ten Tournament performance could have it on the top line.
- Maryland (22-5, 10 RPI): There was a time that Maryland looked like it had a chance to play its way as high as the 1-seed line, but the Terps currently sit as a three seed. They still have a chance to share the Big Ten title, but after losing three of their last four there’s some clear work to be done.
- Indiana (23-6, 27 RPI): Indiana could lock up the Big Ten Championship outright this week with a win, but the question is how high can the Hoosiers rise up the s-curve? Conventional wisdom puts them around the 6 seed line right now, but they have two chances for quality wins this week at Iowa and vs. Maryland.
- Purdue (22-7, 18 RPI): Purdue sits around the 5 seed line and picked up a much-needed win over Maryland on Saturday.
- Iowa (20-8, 22 RPI): Iowa is crumbling, losing four of its last five games and it has to play Indiana, which will be fighting for an outright Big Ten title, and at Michigan, which will be fighting for its NCAA tournament life. The Hawkeyes still have sweeps over Michigan State and Purdue, but need to turn their season around in a hurry.
- Wisconsin (19-10, 33 RPI): Wisconsin might not be a lock yet, but it is certainly close. The Badgers have won 10 of 11 games including a pair of quality victories at Iowa and over Michigan last week. Wisconsin’s resume still has those early bad losses, but there is just too much quality to leave the Badgers out of the tourney.
- Michigan (19-10, 56 RPI): Michigan needs to beat Iowa on Saturday or it could be in for a long day on Selection Sunday. A win over the Hawkeyes would shore up the Wolverines’ resume, but a loss would leave it looking fairly mediocre heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
- Ohio State (18-10, 70 RPI): Ohio State picked up a quality win at home over Iowa, but still isn’t sniffing the NCAA tournament conversation. The Buckeyes would need to win at Michigan State, a team which beat them in Columbus by 19 on Tuesday, to stake any claim in the bubble race.