Over the last few weeks, the world has been turned upside down for Michigan basketball fans. After coming off one of the best 3 years stretches for any Big Ten team in recent memory, the Wolverines have gotten off to an extremely slow start highlighted by home upsets against Eastern Michigan and NJIT. In fact, it might even be safe to call the start "disastrous," considering that the team is just 8-5 with two bad losses on its resume.
Now, with conference play heating up, fans are beginning to wonder about the ramifications of Michigan's slow start to the season. What will this mean for March? Is there still reason to hope for an NCAA Tournament bid? Are people overrating the significance of these losses?
The first thing to acknowledge is that these are all valid questions. Regardless of what anyone is stating or implying at this point, nobody knows what Michigan's 8-5 start will mean for a potential NCAA Tournament bid or for potential seeding. That doesn't mean it's wrong to speculate or project, but it should at least be pointed out that nobody can say how teams will finish and how the committee will view certain wins or losses a few months down the line.
This leads me to this post. Everybody knows Michigan suffered some bad losses, but for a team with as much recent success as Michigan, it seems odd to count them out this quickly, so it seemed like a good time to take a look at the slate for the Wolverines and take a shot at projecting how it might impact things when conference play wraps up in March. This will give us a better idea of where Michigan might sitting in wins, losses, and the quality of the team's resume. Then we can get an idea of the "damage" that might already be done.
Michigan's Remaining Schedule:
- at Purdue
- at Penn State
- at Ohio State
- at Rutgers
- at Michigan State
- at Indiana
- at Illinois
- Michigan State
- Ohio State
- at Maryland
- at Northwestern
Notable KenPom Stats For Michigan's Remaining Schedule:
- Michigan is projected to finish Big Ten play at 8-10.
- Michigan is favored in 5 remaining Big Ten games.
- Michigan has at least 70% odds to win in 3 remaining games (Nebraska, Northwestern, Rutgers).
- Michigan has at least 40% odds to win 9 remaining games.
- Michigan has at least 35% odds to win 11 remaining games.
- Michigan has 20% or lower odds to win 4 remaining games.
There is no doubt that this Michigan team has its work cut out for it if it hopes to even be in the NCAA Tournament discussion. However, with a guaranteed 18 games remaining and a good hunk of games that are winnable, things aren't over just yet for the Wolverines. The next three games will be crucial for Michigan and could determine whether this team truly does have a shot at making a run.