Bracket Watch: March 12th, 2016

Dylan Burkhardt

In or out? The conversation is a lot more real after Michigan’s buzzer-beating win over Indiana. The Wolverines might have played their way into the NCAA tournament, but it’s far from a guarantee.

Notable bracketologists have Michigan hovering around the precious final spots in the NCAA tournament with a trip to Dayton for a play-in game looking like a real possibility.

A win over Purdue this afternoon — which would be Michigan’s fifth against a top-30 opponent — could be pivotal, but a loss could leave the Wolverines watching, waiting, and hoping for the best on Sunday evening.

Michigan’s resume is tough to define by conventional bracketing norms. The Wolverines only have four wins over top-100 teams — an ugly red flag by most guidelines — but those four wins are all against top-30 teams in the RPI. There aren’t many bubble teams that have beaten the sort of teams that Michigan has knocked off. As for their 11 losses, only one has come against teams outside of the top-50, at #71 Ohio State.

Nitty Gritty

  • Record: 22-11
  • RPI: 56
  • SOS: 48
  • Home:  13-4
  • Away:  4-6
  • Neutral:  5-1
  • vs. RPI top-50:  4-10
  • vs. RPI top-100: 4-11

Bracketology Rundown

Bracket projections will be updated throughout the morning. Several were last updated at some time on Saturday. Our list was last updated on Mar. 12 at 12:02 p.m.


  • Michigan State (26-5, 15 RPI): Can Michigan State earn a 1-seed? The Spartans might have to win the Big Ten Tournament to do just that, but it’s tough to question that with how they’re playing. Today’s re-match with Maryland should be a good one.
  • Purdue (25-7, 16 RPI): Purdue sits around the 4 seed line and is taking care of business in the Big Ten Tournament to cement its seed. Four top-50 wins, nine top-100 wins and an RPI in the top-20, about the only area where Purdue’s resume is lacking is on the road.
  • Indiana (25-7, 22 RPI):  Indiana cruised to an outright Big Ten Championship only to be knocked off in its first game of the Big Ten Tournament by Michigan. The Hoosiers were probably playing for a 3-seed in Indianapolis, but now are probably somewhere between the 4 and 5 lines.
  • Maryland (23-7, 13 RPI): Maryland is hovering around the 5-seed line on most bracket projections, but the Terps have a golden opportunity against Michigan State. We’ve seen the selection committee overcompensate with seeding adjustments due to conference tournament results and a win could propel Maryland up the s-curve.
  • Iowa (21-10, 28 RPI): Iowa lost 5 of its last 6 games to close the season and its anyone’s guess as to how far the Hawkeyes will slide down the s-curve. Iowa’s seniors managed to win only one Big Ten Tournament game in four years — vs. Northwestern in 2013.
  • Wisconsin (20-12, 41 RPI): Wisconsin should still be comfortably in the tournament with quality wins at Maryland, at Iowa, vs. Michigan State and vs. Indiana, but an early exit from the Big Ten Tournament and those bad early season losses should limit the Badgers’ seed.

Bubble In

  • Michigan (21-11, 56 RPI): Michigan doesn’t seem to be as ‘in’ as it would hope after a statement win over Indiana. The Wolverines are still out of many bracket projections and appear to be headed to Dayton as a best-case scenario. A win over Purdue could do the trick to push Michigan into the field once and for all.

Potential Bid Thieves

Memphis and Tulane will face off in the American semifinals today which means one will get a chance to play for an auto-bid. Michigan and other bubble teams badly need Temple or potentially UConn, another bubble team, to take care of business on the other side of the bracket and win the tournament. Davidson is also still alive in the Atlantic 10 tournament and could be another candidate to snatch a bid away on Selection Sunday. Bubble fans probably want Dayton to win the league, with VCU and St. Joseph’s still on the bubble to a certain extent.

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  • GTFOmycourt

    Our resume is very unique and actually very impressive, but it is only impressive if you look at with a very specific lens. I believe that the committee will refine their lens to distinguish between teams, after the tournaments play out, and Michigan will be in easily.

  • Tony DeMaria

    People kept telling me I was crazy to suggest there was only a ~50% chance of making it if we only beat NW and Indiana. Like it or not, people still rely on RPI too much and because we played a couple of really crappy D1 teams, ours is not great.

    Hopefully the committee sees past those faulty metrics. They’ve been known to surprise in the past. Could see them leaving us out, could also see us randomly make it and avoid Dayton. Let’s remove the doubt and win today

  • AC1997

    I don’t get it. How are we still out on so many projections?? 22 wins, 12-8 against conference foes, 4 big wins, no bad losses. Yes, they are a middling major team. Yes they got blown out some. Yes, they also are missing two of their best players.

    • Please pay close attention to when the brackets were updated. Some were last updated yesterday so aren’t necessarily up to date.

      • Carl

        Dylan, do you think we will get in with a loss today?

    • Carl

      Nothing else though..

  • gobluemd16

    Right now, in my estimation, we are probably 60/40 in, but at the mercy of the committee. At best, we are probably going to Dayton at this point, coming off 3 games in 3 days. To eliminate the potential for us to be angry on Sunday, let’s take all doubt away and win today against Purdue!

  • Tony DeMaria

    My guess is:

    Lose today: 50% Dayton, 10% bye, 40% out
    Win today: 50% Dayton, 49% bye, 1% out (you never know)
    Win today and Sunday: 100% bye (can’t be a Dayton team with auto bid unless you are some crappy low major team)

  • David Remmler

    It is mind-boggling that Michigan may not be picked for the NCAA tournament with their record. They have a winning record in arguably the best conference, 4 very high quality wins against 4 different top 30 teams, zero bad losses and 21 D1 wins. In the past 15 years, MSU has made it to the tourney every year. But in 6 of those years, they had a worse record than Michigan this year. Six!!! It would be a travesty if Michigan isn’t in the tournament.

    • AA7596

      It’s not that surprising. The B1G is 5th in RPI and we played a soft nonconference schedule (189th).

      • MLaw

        The big ten being very disjointed this year is really hurting. Either really good or really bad. No middle teams (other than Michigan and OSU, so 1 game)

  • Nick

    I love that 1-3-1 sports has us in.

  • bobohle

    Just win today and remove all doubt. The prognosticators that have us out are the ones that always promote the East bubble teams.

  • mistersuits

    Michigan is in the field with their win over Indiana, book it. Momentum from projections is slow to catch up but the BracketMatrix has us in now and even Lunardi has us right there. Today’s game will likely determine whether or not they are in the first-four games at Dayton.

    LSU, Georgia, Fresno State, Davidson, Tulane, and Memphis (possibly Arkansas Little-Rock) lurk as your remaining bid thieves.

  • Rich74

    Question: Does anybody think, with MSU’s AD Hollis being vice chair on the selection committee, that Michigan will get dissed by the committee?