With injuries and a tough non-conference schedule, the Michigan Basketball team may be one of six or seven Big Ten conference teams that get in the NCAA tournament. The conference last year had seven teams get NCAA tournament bids, which was the highest amount by any conference. With so much success over the last few years, this team shows they are very hungry for a chance at a run. They are doing everything possible to stay out of the “first four teams out” conversation.
With a huge 61-56 win over No. 18 Purdue this past weekend, it certainly helped their chances by adding a resume building win over a very impressive team this year in the conference. Some may look at that win as their biggest and gutsiest so far as the amount of games left before the conference tournament is now down to five. The addition of Caris Levert after missing eleven straight games with a leg injury, did not make a huge impact with eleven scoreless minutes. What it came down to was the hustle and toughness by a great rebounding team. The Boilermakers were the only team in the country that hasn’t been out rebounded in a game all season. Michigan rebounded 39 compared to Purdue’s 35 giving them the advantage allowing them to come out with the win.
With an upcoming game in Columbus tonight to a potential NIT bound Buckeye team, they are close to a “must win” situation until March 5th when they end regular season play against Iowa at home. If they win at least three-of-five, it will help put them in a more comfortable position currently forth in the conference at 9-4 keeping them ahead of Maryland and Michigan State.
The Big Ten conference will get a well-respected five-to-seven teams in the NCAA tournament and will be one of the most widespread championship contended years with a constant change in the top twenty-five weekly and more parody than ever. Teams outside of the top twenty-five have a chance at making a late run getting hot when it counts. We only have a few short weeks before the madness of the NCAA tournament begins and Michigan has a great chance to make the NCAA Tournament.
– David Noe