Michigan needed to beat Michigan State to keep its bubble hopes alive and managed to get it done. Now, with just six days until Selection Sunday, things start to get interesting. As things stand today, Michigan would very likely have a spot in the tournament. Unfortunately the next six days of basketball tend to be some of the most dramatic in the sport, outside of the NCAA Tournament itself. Mid-major schools will steal bids and major conference schools will make surprising conference tournament runs. The bubble will change significantly by Selection Sunday.
Michigan’s bye puts the Wolverines in a precarious situation. Several other bubble teams will play games against much lower ranked foes. Those games present the opportunity for a disastrous loss but easy wins also have a treading water effect that can be helpful – see Michigan’s win over Iowa two years ago. Michigan’s situation is different entirely. The Wolverines open the tournament in the quarterfinals against a fellow bubble team, Illinois. This is not only a great position to start a legitimate tournament run, it’s also a great spot to bolster the bubble resume with a win over a fellow bubble team. A loss gives the committee easy ammunition to say “they had their chance to prove something, and let it slip away”. Michigan might not need a win on Friday but it would certainly make things a lot easier.
We have a full rundown of the latest bracketology updates after the jump.
- Joe Lunardi/ESPN: 11 seed
- Bracketology 101: 11 seed
- Crashing the Dance: 2nd team out
- SI.com Bubble Watch: The Wolverines got the critical sweep of Michigan State and now let the debates begin. Whichever team ends up ahead in the pecking order will come down to Big Ten tourney performance. Right now, I think the Spartans are barely ahead on the basis of better top-quality wins (although two of MSU’s three top-50 wins came with Korie Lucious on the roster).
- Jerry Palm/CBS: 11 seed
- NBC Sports: 11 seed
- Bracket Matrix: 12 seed