Team 103

Bracket Watch: Selection Sunday

Here’s the latest on Michigan’s NCAA Tournament seeding possibilities.

Michigan will play Michigan State for a championship this afternoon but attention will turn to the NCAA Tournament Selection Show minutes after the final horn. There’s hardware on the line in Chicago, but the games next week are even more important.

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Where will Michigan be seeded and where will it play? Here’s a look at the latest bracketology projections across the internet.


Bracketology Rundown

Michigan is close to a consensus 2-seed in most bracket projections, but there are still a few 3-seed projections out there. Most brackets that have Michigan pegged as a 3-seed have Houston as the final 2 seed. The Wolverines average seed rank is a 2.15 across the Bracket Matrix, which puts them at No. 8 overall on the consensus seeding curve.

Most projections still have Michigan headed to play first-round games in Des Moines, but there’s a degree of randomness to location selection that is tough to project.

Here’s where Michigan stands in notable bracket projections:

 Ask the Expert

Joseph Cook-Shugart of 1-3-1 Sports had the best bracket projection in 2018 and is ranked among the best bracketologists on the internet. He’s agreed to answer a few questions in each Bracket Watch as we get closer to Selection Sunday. 

1. Is Michigan locked into a 2-seed regardless of Sunday’s result?

There is a remote chance (<5% chance) that Michigan could move up to a 1 seed if all the stars align, but as a fan, I wouldn’t hold your breath. Michigan is pretty much locked in to a 2-seed at this point. However, the game is not without relevance. Michigan State is likely also on the 2-seed line, the result of tomorrow’s game may very well shift what location and 1-seed Michigan draws in their regional.

2. Why isn’t Michigan State receiving more consideration for a 1-seed given its quality wins?

I don’t think it’s a knock on Michigan State so much as it’s a credit to the quality of top-tier teams this year. The resume’s of the top 8 teams are all quite good. I think getting swept by Indiana and losing at Illinois (3 losses to non-tournament caliber teams) is something that really hurts the Spartans. I think Michigan State will be in the discussion for a 1-seed if they beat Michigan tomorrow, but I still think they likely end up on the 2-seed line.

The late start of the Big Ten Tournament final also doesn’t benefit the participants. The committee seems to like having all their ducks in a row well in advance, and shifting a team in the bracket and adhering to the rules and procedures less than an hour before the selection show is a time crunch. They claim that they have contingency bracketing in place pending results, but I’m skeptical as to the magnitude of changes they’re willing to make late in the process.

3. What is your prediction for biggest Selection Sunday surprise?

I’m about to set the record for the biggest cop-out answer you have ever received. The biggest Selection Sunday surprise is going to be that there won’t be any major surprises. I think with the committee’s reliance on NET and the tournament selection and seeding procedures becoming more transparent in recent years, we’re going to see less and less in terms of surprises.

Notable Replies

  1. Actualelguapo

    Haven’t ever really understood why UNC is considered to be a relatively uncontroversial 1 seed. I don’t see much to separate them from MSU or UM, unless you want to give them full credit for beating Zionless Duke twice.

  2. geoff_clarke

    Sorry if I missed it, but is there by chance a bracket challenge for UM HOOPS members?

  3. ReegsShannon

    IMO, I would make the line Gonzaga -2 or 3 vs Michigan. However, I think Gonzaga has a fairly perilous path to the Elite 8 between Cuse and FSU.

  4. gobluemd16

    I definitely hear your points there. I don’t know how much you’ve seen of Gonzaga, but it completely blitzed the WCC offensively, although it is a much lesser conference. One game against St. Mary’s doesn’t really change my opinion of the Zags.

    I also think Josh Perkins is underrated as a distributor and he has a wealth of experience – he’s 23, in his 5th year of college basketball, and I believe has started every game the last four years.

  5. gobluemd16

    Those stats are nice, some accurate, one not… here are a couple others:

    Gonzaga’s adjusted offensive efficiency is 124.0 for the season, per BartTorvik – best in the nation. Against quality opponents (top 50 adjusted), their offensive efficiency actually increases to 126.2. Against top 100 opponents, it is even higher – 127.4.

    Yes, they only beat Washington by 2 and did lose to St. Mary’s on a neutral court… they also beat St. Mary’s by 48 at home and 14 on the road a week prior to the conference championship.

    You can point to the 4-3 record in Q1 games, but two of those losses are to 2 seed Tennessee and @ North Carolina – nothing to be ashamed of.

    I have seen San Francisco play and they are good, particularly when Gonzaga played them (had a late season swoon). Gonzaga beat them by 30 at home and 13 on the road.

    All of this is to say, yes, Gonzaga didn’t play nearly as good of competition as the Power 5 teams, but when it did, it performed well. They run really good offense, have weapons at all 5 positions, and are difficult to guard.

    Michigan has lost against teams that beat them with offense. Gonzaga wins with offense. Not saying Michigan cannot win (!), just don’t love the match-up.

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