That was a big week for Michigan, to say the least.
The Wolverines beat Iowa handily at home. Then they captured their third Quadrant 1 win of the season with a with a 74-62 home victory over Ohio State.
The Wolverines made several big moves across projected brackets, as well. Michigan is comfortably in the NCAA Tournament and the only remaining question is how high they can climb up the S-Curve.
The Wolverines are the final 6-seed in the most recent aggregate update at the BracketMatrix, but some projections (including ESPN’s Joe Lunardi) have them as high as a 5-seed. Michigan also has plenty of opportunities remaining to improve its resume.
- Record: 21-7
- RPI: 30 (up 8)
- SOS: 75
- SOR: 15
- Home: 15-1
- Away: 4-5
- Neutral: 2-1
- Quadrant 1: 3-5
- Quadrant 2: 3-2
- Quadrant 3: 6-0
- Quadrant 4: 9-0
Note: Division II games don’t count toward RPI record
- Joe Lunardi/ESPN: 5 seed vs. Loyola-Chicago (Boise) — Feb. 19
- Jerry Palm/CBS: 7 seed vs. NC State (Charlotte) — Feb. 19
- SI.com: 8 seed vs. Virginia Tech — Feb. 19
- Crashing the Dance: 6 seed — Feb. 19
- Bracket Matrix: 6 seed — Feb. 19
- Joseph Cook/1-3-1 Sports: 7 seed vs. Kansas State (Charlotte) — Feb. 19
- Andy Bottoms/Inside the Hall: 7 seed vs. NC State (Nashville) – Feb. 20
- Chris Dobbertean/SBNation: 9 seed — Feb. 16
- Michigan State (26-3, 15 RPI): The Spartans got some help in the Big Ten title race with Michigan’s win over Ohio State. They got some help with Purdue’s recent slide, too — they’re now projected to be the highest-seeded Big Ten team, with an average seed of 2.25.
- Purdue (24-5, 11 RPI): Rough stretch for the Boilermakers, who dropped three consecutive games to Ohio State, Michigan State and … Wisconsin? The former two are excusable; the latter almost qualifies as a Quadrant 3 loss. Either way, Purdue has fallen from a projected one seed to a 2 or 3 seed in most brackets.
- Ohio State (22-7, 20 RPI): Another Big Ten team with some recent struggles, the Buckeyes have lost two straight games, getting blasted on the road by Penn State and dropping a game at Michigan. They’ve got an easy close to the regular season, though, with games against Rutgers and Indiana. Lose either one of those and Ohio State could potentially drop from the 4-5 seed line that it’s been sitting on.
- Michigan (21-7, 28 RPI): The Wolverines jumped up 8 spots in the RPI. The win over Ohio State was big, especially considering Michigan couldn’t knock off Purdue and was probably looking for an additional marquee win in addition to its road win against Michigan State from January.
- Nebraska (20-9, 60 RPI): The Cornhuskers earned a crucial win over Maryland last Tuesday. But they probably biffed their chances at sneaking off the bubble with a horrendous Quadrant 3 loss at Illinois, this year’s conference doormat, on Sunday night.
- Maryland (18-11, 59 RPI): Maryland isn’t really in the conversation right now. But the Terrapins could have a couple chances at earning a Q1 win before Selection Sunday — first, against Michigan on Saturday, and then against potentially Michigan State (or Ohio State) assuming they win their 8-9 matchup in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
- Penn State (19-10, 76 RPI): The Nittany Lions’ résumé is currently being held down by losses to teams such as Wisconsin, Rider, Minnesota, Indiana and Northwestern. Penn State is playing well down the stretch, earning its second win of the year over Ohio State last Thursday before playing Purdue tough on the road, and has two more chances at earning Quadrant 1 wins: at home against Michigan this Wednesday and at Nebraska on Sunday. At this point, winning both may be necessary.
Bracket Debate: How far can Michigan climb?
The Wolverines are in a weird spot. They’re a pretty safe bet to make the tournament right now after their past two wins. Yet there’s a ton of variation in Michigan’s projected seeding — some have it as high as a five or six seed, while others have it around the eight or nine range.
Many fans would probably love to have the draw Joe Lunardi released today, with Michigan heading to Boise as a five seed in the same pod as fourth-seeded Tennessee. The projected regional also includes Xavier, Purdue and Clemson as the 1, 2 and 3 seeds, respectively.
That type of seed might be attainable, especially considering the Wolverines still have a pair of juicy games left, both of which could qualify as Quadrant 1 games, depending on where Penn State and Maryland fall in the final RPI. Where do you think Michigan might find itself if it can snag road wins against both the Nittany Lions and Maryland?