2013-14 Season

Bracket Watch: March 12th, 2014

Michigan 84, Indiana 80-1
Dustin Johnston

Last time we checked in, Michigan was attempting to climb the S-curve to the two seed line. While a few projections had Michigan as a two, everyone else had them as a three seed, which is where the Wolverines had been for a while.

That has changed. Notable bracketologists are unanimous in projecting Michigan as having locked in a two seed and the Wolverines are a comfortable a two seed in the latest Bracket Matrix.

Michigan’s odds of earning a top seed appear to be low, but they aren’t dead. The Wolverines would need to win the Big Ten tournament to have any claim at a one seed, but teams above them would also probably have to slip up.

Wichita State, Florida and Arizona all look to be comfortable No. 1 seeds at this point. Villanova appears to hold the final No. 1 seed right now but Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin and a potential ACC Tournament champion (Duke, Syracuse, Virginia) are all fighting for the top line.

Of course, those are the same teams that Michigan is fighting for positioning on the two seed line. The Wolverines will be very focused on Wisconsin and Kansas — the two teams that will want to play in the Midwest regional in Indianapolis. Kansas is without Joel Embiid which could affect its Big XII tournament performance and NCAA seeding, while the Wolverines will be hoping that Wisconsin makes an early exit in the Big Ten Tournament.

Last season, the Wolverines came into the conference tournament battered, bruised and disheartened after a soul-crushing regular-season finale against Indiana that cost them a Big Tent title. This season, Michigan is playing better than it ever has this season — at least on the offensive end — going into the postseason. The Wolverines have won their last five games and almost all of their rotation players are playing well.

Michigan won the Big Ten regular season title, but there is a lot of season left. The Wolverines have a chance to make a major statement in the Big Ten tournament that could go a long way toward locking down a two seed and potentially staying close to home in the Midwest region (Indianapolis), especially if Wisconsin and Kansas falter.

After the jump we have an in-depth look at Michigan NCAA tournament resume, predictions from notable bracketologists as far as Michigan’s potential seeding and a discussion of how other Big Ten teams are faring in the most recent bracket projections.

Nitty Gritty

  • Record: 23-7
  • RPI: 9
  • SOS: 9
  • Home: 13-2
  • Away: 7-4
  • Neutral: 3-1
  • vs. RPI top-50: 8-5
  • Vs. RPI top-100: 13-6

Bracketology Rundown

Around the Big Ten

We’ll also keep a close eye on the rest of the Big Ten and let you know who’s in, who should be in, who could be on the bubble and which games this week have the biggest tournament implications.

Locks:

  • Wisconsin (25-6 overall, 12-6 Big Ten, 6 RPI) The Badgers have wrapped up a two seed. With a few wins in the Big Ten tournament, coupled with an early loss for Kansas in its conference tournament, Wisconsin could find itself in the Midwest region. Many were considering the Badgers to be top seed material, but those chances took a severe hit when Wisconsin dropped its final regular-season game to Nebraska on the road. At this point, the badgers find themselves in a similar position to Michigan — a solid two seed that needs to win some games in order to move into its desired region.
  • Michigan (23-7 overall, 15-3 Big Ten, 10 RPI) Michigan is hoping for a solid run in the Big Ten tournament, but even more so its eye is on what other teams do in the coming weekend. Specifically, Michigan needs Wisconsin and Kansas to lay eggs. The Wolverines are positioned well and have played their way to a two seed — but their most pressing concern at this point is location, location, location.
  • Michigan State (23-8 overall, 12-6 Big Ten, 25 RPI) Michigan State went out with a whimper at the end of conference play, losing three out of its final four games, culminating in a demoralizing loss to Ohio State on the road. The Spartans turned it over on a quarter of their possessions against the Buckeyes, and it’s tough to win when that happens. Despite the disappointing finish, Michigan State is holding steady at a five seed in most bracket – of course that seed is three spots lower than Michigan State was ranked in the preseason polls. .At this point, the Spartans are hoping for a run in the Big Ten tournament simply for the chance to get Keith Appling, Brendan Dawson and Adreian Payne reps and back into form.
  • Ohio State (23-8 overall, 10-8 Big Ten, 24 RPI) While Michigan State is in the 4-5 seed range, the Buckeyes find themselves just a notch below, in the 5-6 seed range. The majority of projections have them as a six seed, and it appears Ohio State’s recent defeat of the Spartans had little effect on its seeding. If the Buckeyes can figure out a way to score and make a run in the Big Ten tournament, and Michigan State doesn’t do anything, the two teams could switch places.
  • Iowa (19-11 overall, 9-9 Big Ten, 49 RPI) If Michigan State went out with a whimper, Iowa went out crying like a baby. The Hawkeyes dropped an amazing five of their final six Big Ten games, finishing with a loss at home to lowly Illinois. Unlike Michigan, Iowa’s offense just couldn’t keep up with its inability to stop anyone. Now, the Hawkeyes are sitting steady with an eight seed in most projections. It’s unlikely they can do much about their seeding at this point besides moving up to a seven with a run in the Big Ten tournament.

Bubble In:

  • Nebraska (19-11 overall, 11-7 Big Ten, 41 RPI) It’s tough to see Nebraska getting left out of the NCAA tournament at this point. The Cornhuskers appeared to have played their way in after a rousing home victory over Wisconsin gave them a first-round bye in the Big Ten tournament. The fact that they have a first-round bye is especially impressive given that Nebraska lost five of its first six games in conference play with a brutal schedule to start off. The Huskers are projected as an 11-12 seed with many bracketologists giving them the last-four-in treatment. There is little question Nebraska has played its way in — if it can win a few Big Ten tournament games it will solidify itself more firmly in the field and take a bit of the edge off on Selection Sunday.

Bubble out:

  • Minnesota (18-12 overall, 8-10 Big Ten, 51 RPI) The Gophers had their chances. In the past month, Minnesota had the chance to beat Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan — and lost every one of those games. The only quality win it achieved after beating Wisconsin at home on January 22nd was against Iowa, also at home. But with the Hawkeyes in a tailspin themselves, that win didn’t end up helping the Gophers much. Minnesota is among the first four out in most projections.

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