Bracket Watch: Selection Sunday

Orion Sang

The Wolverines have had one hell of a week — the type of week that will almost assuredly find a place within Michigan basketball lore. The story, at this point, has been discussed ad nauseam, but it bears repeating just one more time. After all, the Wolverines went from enduring a plane accident on Wednesday afternoon to winning three consecutive games at the Big Ten Tournament.

It has, to put it simply, been quite the story. Michigan’s three wins in Washington D.C. have propelled it up every bracket projection; it now stands at No. 24 in the KenPom rankings, as well. The win over regular-season champ Purdue in the quarterfinals coupled with a win over Minnesota in the semifinals has the Wolverines safely on the 7-line — and as a 6 seed in many projections — with a real chance at further movement after tomorrow’s championship game.

Nitty Gritty

  • Record: 23-11
  • RPI: 30
  • SOS: 29
  • Home: 15-3
  • Away: 3-8
  • Neutral: 5-0
  • vs. RPI top-50: 5-7
  • vs. RPI top-100: 12-11

Bracketology Rundown


  • Purdue (25-7, 20 RPI): The Boilermakers will most likely be the Big Ten’s highest-seeded team, at either a 4 or 5 seed. They are currently the highest 5 seed on Bracket Matrix, with an average seed number of 4.56, after being replaced as the lowest 4 seed by Notre Dame.
  • Minnesota (24-9, 21 RPI): The Golden Gophers ended the season on a tear and should be a 5 or 6 seed.
  • Wisconsin (25-8, 32 RPI): The Badgers find themselves currently as a 6 seed. They’ll meet Michigan in the championship game tomorrow after beating Northwestern in the semifinals on Saturday.
  • Michigan (23-11, 30 RPI): The Wolverines are quite simply rolling, having won four straight games to continue their move up in the bracket projections.
  • Maryland (23-8, 34 RPI): The Terrapins dropped their quarterfinal game to Northwestern on Friday and at this point should be a 7 seed, with an average seed of 6.79, according to Bracket Matrix.
  • Northwestern (23-11, 50 RPI): The Wildcats are on that 9-10 seed line and will receive their first NCAA Tournament berth in school history.

Bubble In

  • Michigan State (19-14, 51 RPI): The Spartans notched a first-round victory over Penn State but fell to Minnesota in the following round, missing a crucial opportunity to add another resume-building win. At this point, they’ll keep the ‘Bubble In’ designation — most projections have them as a 10 seed, with an average seed of 10.04.

Bracket Debate: How high has Michigan pushed its seed?

The Wolverines’ big week has them safely off the 8/9 line, but moving up from a 7 seed to a 6 seed could be crucial to Michigan’s chances of making it to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

The big question is how big of an effect did the Wolverines’ win over Minnesota have — are they already a No. 6 seed regardless of what happens in the conference championship game, or will they need a win over Wisconsin to reach that coveted 6 seed? Most recent bracket projections have Michigan pushing toward a potential 6 seed, but the fact that the Big Ten Tournament championship will finish minutes before the Selection Show (which producers assure us will feature the actual brackets sooner than later) means that it might be too late.

What’s your take? Where will Michigan be seeded and will the final have an impact?

  • gobluemd16

    If the results of the BTT championship may be too late, as is stated in the last paragraph, why would the game always be played right before the selection show? Makes no sense. Hopefully there are two brackets, and the game does effect M and Wisconsin’s seeding.

    • The game is played when it is played for TV.

      • TOTO-Lover

        Next year, with the BTT in MSG, it’s done a week in advance, but I’d still rather play it this weekend

  • ChiMan

    For some reason, I thought I’ve read in the past that basically the committee has two brackets completed for each situation for the BTT final. That seems to make sense, as it would simply be one bracket over the other. No?

    • They’ve mentioned that they do that in the past, but usually for bubble or maybe 1-2 seed type of scenarios. Even last year, MSU won the Big Ten ‘ship and most people thought they would jump to a 1 but they stayed a 2.

  • GTFOmycourt

    It might not be a bad thing if the result, of UM versus Wisconsin, is not factored in. We seem to always start very strong, so a significant UM halftime lead might sway some on the committee just as much as a win.

  • JVS

    This is framed in a way that presumes a 6 is the absolute ceiling. May be the most likely case, but on championship sunday why not paint the picture or raise the question that a 5 is in play? Personally, I think it is at least a possibility with a W

    To the point on timing, as I understand it they will have scenarios for each case already worked out. When we played MSU in 14, they had us in a 1seed if we’d won, and swapped around UVA and us as 1/2 (and MSU as well) based on the outcome. Personally I don’t think it is frozen, but there are limited degrees of freedom.

    • GTFOmycourt

      Yep, it seems like fans have been conservative in their projections. The fact is most people like UM a lot. Plus the story…

    • Personally, I think a 6 is the ceiling just given the other teams out there. But I obviously don’t make the bracket :-)

      • JVS

        Hopefully we get to find out, but your point that it is reasonable to say it is a hard ceiling at 6 if there are no slots in the top 20 is fair if proven out. Undisputed top 5 seeds to be would be: Vill/Gonz/KU/NC/Duke/ND/UK/Purd/Ore/UCLA/Zona/Lville/(one of SMU/Cincy)/Baylor.

        After that, Lunardi has FLA/WVU/BUT/UVA/IowaSt/FSU. Will come down to value of full season vs recent performance in the case of us vs all those except the cyclones. Also the B1G would have only a 4/5 in Purdue above the 6 line in that scenario as well. A case can be articulated….

        Also, for the elders, the 97-98 team/seeding was quite similar. I think we finished 4th or 5th in conf, and the discussions were about 6/7 seeds, and we got a 3 on the back of the tourney performance. different times, different B1G, different context for sure, but that came to mind upon seeing this late run.

    • jemblue

      Per Bracket Matrix, our average seed is 7.14 (there is one outlier calling us a 9, and a small handful calling us an 8). So 6 is probably the best-case scenario.

      I’m OK with that though. The 6 seems to draw a bubble at-large team in the first round, and avoids the 1 seed until the Elite Eight, while the 5 often draws a strong auto-bid team in the first round and probably plays the 1 seed in the Sweet 16.

  • MrLG

    Michigan will be a 6 because it has the best storyline and everyone wants them to make it to the sweet sixteen. This doesn’t mean that the committee people will come out and say that, or even think it, but it will creep into the deliberations and will push Mich over the hump.

    Today’s game is totally meaningless, IMHO.

  • Fab 5 Legends

    was hoping to catch Michigan in Buffalo :) heading there for the first two rds…geograhically speaking where would we have a lot of support? Indianapolis? Buffalo? Milwaukee

    • Fab 5 Legends

      i think this year has ended up being very successfully…couldnt imagine playing in the big ten tourny final…after watching some bad performances during the year…if they make it to the 2nd weekend…kudos to Beilein and senior leadership…Go Blue! consistency has been Michigan basketball for years now

    • ChathaM

      I’m hoping for Indy, just because it fits best for me to make the trip. I’m hoping the committee decides to send us somewhere that we don’t have to fly, which would make Indy a good option. I thought that Buffalo was a likely spot as a 8/9 seed in Villanova’s bracket, but that’s less likely now that we’ll be a higher seed. I might go to Milwaukee if we end up there, but it’s a long drive around that lake.

      • Fab 5 Legends

        Lol I hear you, my exact issue with milwaukee/indy – both a decent drive where I am – I would love to see them in NYC even though the MSG has ridiculous prices…saw them @ barcalys couple years back vs WV – trey Burke and company national title finalist year and it felt like UM home game with fans drapped in maize maize blue

  • jemblue

    I hope Chris Dobbertean knows what he’s talking about. Being the 6 seed and playing on Friday against Vandy, and then probably Baylor – I’d take that for sure.