For the second consecutive year, Michigan has won the Big Ten Tournament Championship.
Yet there is one crucial difference — this year’s conference tournament ended a week before Selection Sunday. Last year’s final against Wisconsin was on the same day.
That could make a difference, as the selection committee now has more time to process Michigan’s recent performance. It also means the Wolverines will sit and watch other teams as the rest of the country begins one final week of play.
Either way, Michigan has made a significant move up the S-Curve over the past few weeks. Just how significant of a move that turns out to be will be determined in one week.
- Record: 27-7
- RPI: 13 (up 12)
- SOS: 56
- SOR: 7
- Home: 15-1
- Away: 6-5
- Neutral: 6-1
- Quadrant 1: 6-5
- Quadrant 2: 5-1
- Quadrant 3: 5-1
- Quadrant 4: 11-0
Note: Division II games don’t count toward RPI record
- Joe Lunardi/ESPN: 3 seed vs. Bucknell — March 5
- Jerry Palm/CBS: 4 seed vs. Louisiana — March 5
- SI.com: 4 seed vs. South Dakota State — March 5
- Ryan Fagan/Sporting News: 3 seed — March 5
- Crashing the Dance: 4 seed — March 5
- Bracket Matrix: 3 seed — March 5
- Joseph Cook/1-3-1 Sports: 3 seed vs. College of Charleston — March 5
- Chris Dobbertean/SBNation: 3 seed vs. Bucknell — March 5
- Purdue (28-6, 9 RPI): Purdue still appears to be the class of the Big Ten, and rightfully so. The Boilermakers have six Q-1 wins and the highest RPI in the league. According to Bracket Matrix, Purdue is holding steady as a two seed.
- Michigan (27-7, 13 RPI): The Wolverines have made a huge jump. As of now, they have a legitimate case to be the second-highest seeded team coming out of the Big Ten. They have more Q-1 wins than Michigan State, a higher RPI and two head-to-head victories, one on the road and one at a neutral site. The Spartans may have more overall wins, but that’s not what the committee will be looking at.
- Michigan State (29-4, 15 RPI): The Spartans had a chance to boost their résumé at Madison Square Garden. That didn’t happen, and now Michigan State will have to rely on the eye test if it hopes to garner anything higher than a 3 seed, because everything else about the Spartans would suggest otherwise.
- Ohio State (24-8, 23 RPI): With three losses in their past five games, the Buckeyes have faltered some down the stretch. It doesn’t help that two of those losses are now categorized as Q-2 losses, as Penn State’s RPI fell to 76. Ohio State may be hanging tenuously to its status as a projected five seed.
- Nebraska (22-10, 64 RPI): There is no reason the Cornhuskers should make the tournament at this point. They have a gaudy number of conference wins, and a decent overall record. But they didn’t play anyone, and they certainly didn’t beat anyone good, with just three combined Q-1 and Q-2 wins.
- Maryland (18-13, 70 RPI): At this point, teams are hoping Maryland doesn’t fall beyond the top-75 RPI line. That’s about the only conversation the Terrapins will figure in when it comes to March Madness.
- Penn State (21-13, 76 RPI): The Nittany Lions are in a similar case as Maryland. Penn State and the two aforementioned teams should be seeded pretty highly in the NIT. If only the Nittany Lions played as well against other Q-1 opponents as they did against Ohio State, the victim of all three of their Q-1 wins this season.
Bracket Debate: Did Michigan play its way to a 3 seed?
We wrote in the last edition of Bracket Watch that we figured the Wolverines would finish as a four seed in the event that they won the Big Ten Tournament. As of now, that still appears to be the likely scenario. It’s tough to predict either way, considering teams in front of and behind Michigan have more games to play this week.
But after impressive wins over Michigan State and Purdue, the Wolverines have found their way to the 3-seed line on numerous brackets.
Michigan might have given itself a legitimate chance of opening the NCAA Tournament in the Detroit pod as well.
There are a lot of teams that are close to Detroit — the two Big Ten teams, Xavier and Cincinnati — but there are also other options like Nashville and Pittsburgh that could be potential landing spots.
Michigan would probably need to jump at least one of the Big Ten teams to end up in the Detroit pod, but there are so many moving pieces over the final week that it will be tough to project. Just this weekend, the committee chair said less than an hour is spent on bracketing as they just go down the S-curve and follow location protocol in order.
Do you think the Wolverines have earned a 3 seed? Will they open the NCAA Tournament in Detroit? Let us know in the comments.