TEAM: Michigan Wolverines
RECORD: 18-10 (8-7 in-conference)
GAMES LEFT: Purdue (home), Northwestern (away), Nebraska (away)
PROBABLE B1G TOURNEY SEED: 7 seed
PROBABLE NCAA TOURNEY SEED: 10 seed
KEY PLAYERS: G Derrick Walton Jr. (14.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.0 APG), F Mo Wagner (12.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG)
DIAGNOSIS: The Wolverines are bubbling quite similarly to last year’s bubble team that won a few late games and barely made their way into the NCAA Tournament. This is not a good rebounding team, but the defense has improved markedly since mid-season, and it’s those kinds of "improvements" that we can hope the Tourney Committee will note when considering Michigan’s resume. Yeah, the Wolverines can’t win road games, but I’ll bet one more regular season win will move them somewhat safely into the Tourney. One or two B1G Tourney wins would be the icing on the cake.
Beating Wisconsin (even though the Badgers seem to be struggling) was a monster monster win for this squad. Surviving Rutgers kept the Wolverine’s tourney resume spotless when it comes to BAD losses (Iowa and Ohio State are considered not great losses, but not Rutgers-level bad).
OTHER QUESTIONS: When Michigan was struggling and the defense looked clueless, there was some MGo discussion about the Wolverines looking for a new coach. Hopefully we’ve moved on from that? Michigan is not Kansas, or Maryland, or MSU, not that the program doesn’t have tremendous potential, but this is a football school that doesn’t typically attract big-time basketball recruits.
Zach Irvin was always a stable presence who liked taking big shots. He went away for most of the season and Walton picked up the slack. Which Irvin do we get for the next two weeks?