In the midst of pressing for an NCAA Tournament show, the Michigan Wolverines took a big step back with a loss on the road in Madison. Because of the results of the match and the actions of coach Joanne Howard and the players who escalated the quarrel. Now, we’re all waiting for the reprimand from Big Ten sporting director and UM Warde Manuel.
Now ranked 14-11 and seventh in the Big Ten, Michigan is still a bubble team. But with five games remaining against five existing leagues or bubble teams, it is very likely that the Wolverines will be without their head coach and perhaps some important players. The uphill task has become a formidable one, and they probably need to win at least three of them, along with a match or two in the Big Ten Tournament, to feel satisfied heading into Selection Sunday.
Here’s what the experts said ahead of Sunday’s events about the Wolverines’ chances:
ESPN’s Joe Lonardi: The Last Four in
Wolverines are included as one of the four 11 seeds who are the “last four in” in the Lunardi arc. They join North Carolina, Creighton and Memphis.
Lunardi The Wolverines head to Milwaukee to face a tough Memphis team led by explosive big man Galen Doreen. It’s going to be really fun to see the Howard/Benny Hardaway coaching match, as both teams have a bunch of talent but haven’t figured out what’s working this season.
The 11th-ranked winner, Memphis-Michigan, will go on to play the number 6 UConn seed with defending National Champions Baylor as the Round of 32 contender.
Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: No. 11 Michigan vs. No. 6 St. Mary’s
At Jerry Palm’s Bracket, Michigan was a bona fide 11th seed in the tournament after winning on the road against Iowa. Meanwhile, the Hockeys were relegated to the “last four in” stage with Indiana and Memphis.
The Wolverines move into solid eastern territory in this category that includes No. 4 ranked Wisconsin as a potential Sweet-16 match for Michigan. Third seed Villanova could be the contender for the Wolverines’ round of 32 in the 2016 National Championship rematch. The No. 1 seed in the Eastern District is Kansas.
Michigan is one of the nine great teams in the Jerry Palm class. Rutgers moves into the powerful 11th seed after four consecutive wins over the top 20 opponents. Michigan’s game with the Scarlet Knights on Wednesday could be a deciding factor for them to win or miss the championship.
SBNation’s Chris Dubertian: No. 11 in Michigan vs No. 6 Marquette
Like Palm, the Dobbertean had the Wolverines as one of the last four NCAA Tournaments bye. Instead of matching with St. Mary’s, Michigan will taste a little Shaka Smart instead. In his first season with the show, there’s a lot of hype coming from Milwaukee for a team that has a lot of height and a lot of shooting ability from deep within.
In the Midwest, Michigan could have a round of 32 games with Texas Tech and the No. 2 ranked Purdue Boilermakers next. Auburn is the #1 overall seed in this region.
Dobbertean also has nine Big Ten teams in his arc, including five lockups: Purdue, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio State, and Michigan State. Then four bubble teams: Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and Rutgers.
Fox Sports: First Four Out’s Mike Decorcy (prior to Thursday’s win over Iowa State)
Decourcy has been relatively low on the Wolverines all season, but they are finally back in their bubble this week. Michigan shares the bubble with San Francisco, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Memphis, North Carolina, Belmont, and SDSU.
The Big Ten leads the way with eight teams in the Decourcy class, including moving up from the Rutgers to the No. 11 seed.
Check out his full collection:
As a bubbly team, the Wolverines’ path to the championship was already tough, and it got even tougher. We’ll learn really quickly what this team is made of during the last five games of the regular season.