Stop giving me false hope. Any hope I've had has been mercilessly crushed all season, all year. STOP. I don't need more pain.
Sneakin' On In?
In Beilein's best season at WVU they played themselves into the tourney going 7-3 to close reg season then made BE final. Just sayin'...
The insinuation, of course, is that it may be possible for this Michigan team to make a similar run to sneak into the NCAA tournament themselves. Although Dylan himself isn't exactly sold on that idea, let's look at what this Michigan team has in common with those Mountaineers.
West Virginia 2005
The Mountaineers, led by Mike Gansey, Tyrone Sally, and Kevin Pittsnogle (pictured at right), finished the regular season with an 18-9 record, 8-8 in the Big East. They won 7 of their final 10 regular season games. In the Big East Tournament, they were the #8 seed, and ran through #9 Providence, #1 Boston College, and #4 Villanova before falling to Syracuse in the tournament final. They were 21-10 going into the NCAA tournament. They were awarded a #7 seed in the West Regional, and managed to make the Elite Eight, where they lost to Louisville in overtime.
For the sake of prediction we'll go with Ken Pomeroy's projections over the final five games. Kenpom gives Michigan wins over Penn State, Illinois, and Minnesota at home and road losses to Ohio State and Michigan State.
In that scenario, the Wolverines would finish the regular season with a 16-14 record, 9-9 in the Big Ten. They would have won 6 of their final 10 regular season games. They would be about the #7 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, facing off against #10 Iowa (the same 7/10 matchup as in last season's Big Ten Tournament). To reach the tournament final, they would have to beat Iowa, then the #2 seed (still up in the air at this point, but Ohio State if the season ended today), and the #3 or #6 seed (Purdue or Northwestern, respectively, if the season ended today). Falling in the tournament final, they would finish with a 19-15 record going into tournament selection.
Though both teams would end their season on a run of sorts, the "Last 10" metric for the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee is not available this season. Michigan's theoretical 6-4 mark over the final 10 regular season games (plus a 3-1 record in the Big Ten Tournament) probably wouldn't be the most impressive mark, anyway.
A key difference between the teams is their respective overall records. Though both would finish with a .500 mark in conference, the Mountaineers only dropped one game to a non-big East team, though it was a terrible Marshall squad. Michigan, on the other hand, struggled mightily outside the league. They've lost to Marquette, Alabama, Boston College, Utah, and Kansas.
jamiemac of Just Cover and the MGoPodcast points out that a strong close to the regular season would give the Wolverines a similar resume to the 2000 Wisconsin Badgers, who finished the season 16-12, but nabbed an 8-seed based on a strong run to end the year, and ended up making the Final Four. Of course, this Michigan team is almost certainly not Final Four material, but getting into the tournament is possible.
Can it be Done?
Michigan would need to finish the year much stronger than West Virginia did if they want to get into the NCAA Tournament. Like I've been saying for quite some time, the NIT is a much more realistic goal at this point. However, it's actually not impossible for the Wolverines to make the Big Dance. It's just a tall, tall task, especially for a team that has struggled with consistency through the entire year and doesn't seem to be making a final push. Edging by Iowa in overtime does not inspire confidence.
The most obvious way for Michigan to make the NCAA tournament is to win the Big Ten Tournament and get the conference's automatic bid. That requires a hot streak, of course, but the rest of the regular season won't play as big a role (of course, the better the record in the regular season, the higher the seed in the B10 Tourney, and the easier the path to a tournament championship). 3-point shooting teams always have a chance in single-elimination format, as long as they get hot from the field.
Without crunching any numbers, Michigan's only other likely chance to get into the NCAA tournament is to lose only one of the road games left (though a road win over Ohio State or Michigan State is highly unlikely), and make it to the tournament final. That would give them a winning record in the conference, with a 17-13 regular season mark. Adding the 3 victories from the Big Ten tournament would give a 20-14 record, with a number of quality wins at the end of the year. Sweeping the regular season games and making it to the tournament final would make the Wolverines a near-lock for the tournament, at 21-13 and an 11-7 mark in the Big Ten.
HOWEVA, all of these scenarios are pipe dreams. The realistic best-case scenario for the Wolverines is to go 3-2 to close out the regular season, take a victory or two in the Big Ten Tournament, and finish their year with a strong run in the NIT.
Looking at last year's bracket, it's unfortunately quite obvious we aren't going to make the NCAA unless we win the B10 Tournament. There were only 6 teams with 20 wins or less in the tournament in 2009.
Chattanooga (18-16) won the Southern Conference Championship and Cal St Northridge (17-13) won the Big West Championship. Those were the autobids.
Arizona (19-13) looked bad going 7-5 down the stretch, but had good wins against Kansas, Gonzaga, UCLA and Washington.
Maryland (20-13) was 18-12 before the ACC tournament loaded with strong teams and won 2 games (NC State & Wake Forest)
Wisconsin (19-12) had a regular season record of 19-12 (10-8 B10) with wins over Michigan and Illinois. They finished the season strong, but they were the one team that many thought shouldn't have been there.
Michigan (20-13) had plenty of resume wins and was a legitimate bubble team in 2009. A win against a slumping Clemson legitimized their selection.
Further complicating things is that there are a few big-name teams that are having down years, but will probably be in on name alone if eligible. UNC and UConn easily come to mind.
I don't think you understand how it works.
Those comments were based on my notes from last year's bracket which happened to be in my very messy work desk. 20 wins is realistically what it takes in a normal year to even be in consideration for a bubble team. Then you mix in some legit wins, RPI, and some press love.
It's not like if you win 20 games you are in. In the Amaker era, we won 20 games a couple times and didnt make it in. It's a very subjective thing that varies from year to year. And this year the bubble is very soft. 19 wins definitely gets us in the mix. 18 might do depending on the quality of wins down the stretch.
past performance is not indicative of future results...
my point being that it's not as simple as saying that this team went 17-14 and didn't get in, so we won't, either (or any "they got in, they didn't, etc." variation, for that matter). there are so many outside factors (mid-major conference tournament results perhaps the greatest) than simple record and conference rank. sometimes the major conference bubble teams get in, sometimes not...
Tim, though less artfully stated, and without the evidence and comparisons to back me up, that is what I said a few days ago:
Possible, yes. Probable, no. But all I wanted to believe was that it was possible.
Thanks for confirming that I'm not totally crazy!
The Year of Infinite Sadness doesn't appreciate attempts to subvert it.
plays too inconsistent. if i had to guess, i bet we lose one of the three we're expected to win, and maybe even win one of the two we're expected to lose.
that this team could get hot because it has shown the ability to play very good at times. Get on a roll and get the confidence going and who knows what happens.
I thought the regular season in basketball was meaningless?? Here's how to look at it. We're in the NCAA tournament right now. If we win the next 6 games we are in just like in the tournament. I think it will be great if we win the next 4 and then go to Breslin. Beating Uconn Duke last year and UCLA were all highly unlikely as well. Let's enjoy the last couple of games, at least until they lose we are still alive.
until we lose in the BTT.
We need to go on a run here to enter the BTT playing well.
And, we should win tomorrow. Go Blue!
M is playing better, no doubt, but this team is not capable of the type of run it would take to make the tourney. I don't think Tim is giving us false hope, reading his post, I give us <1% chance of making the dance.
since when I was a fat kid in fourth grade.
So... you're saying theres a chance?
but snowball meet Hell.
It would be great but we have no game. We need someone to step up and drain the 3's consistently.
the weirdest one?
boston college was apparently a 1 seed in the big east tournament. weird.
5 shining moments is more likely the anthem being sung around these parts... Too bad the late Teddy Pendergrass isn't able to record this one and bring hope to those of us who are more recently a lot more BLUE than Maize...
Thanks for your excellent research and analysis Tim...
Some might not want to admit this, but despite the heartache of this season, there is still an extremely slight chance this team gets an at-large bid with a phenomenal run.
The way I look it at is this:
I love this team. I have been on the roller-coaster all year and this has been the best part of the ride so far, so I'm not getting off now...even if I know there's some crazy twists and turns before it's over.
Beat Penn State - right now, that's all that matters
oops, I meant Boats,
right? we burned the boats last time?
that keep so many Spartan alums employed.
I can see us beating Iowa but I just can't see us beating the number two team in the Big Ten. We are just not on that level.
And were a cheating thug sparty jersey grab away from beating the demons from east lansing. So yeah I think we can beat anyone in the Big Ten
Who cares? We all know this team has the talent to be in the NCAA tournament. Anything worse than that is impossible to get excited about.
An at-large is not happening with anything short of "win every game until the final", and even then it's dicey. No 14-loss team has gotten an at-large with a strength of schedule outside the top 3; Michigan's is #73. So you'd better finish with 13 if you want an at-large. (Yes, I know, every year is different. But the bubble isn't *that* much weaker this year than in the past.)
(Also, when discussing records, don't forget to throw out the Northern Michigan game. As far as the committee's concerned, it doesn't exist. The only way to get to 20 wins that doesn't include an auto-bid is win them all until the final.)
...but, yeah, after checking the RPIs (and why would a Mich fan want to see those), I have to agree.
So, lets say we finish 4-1, and our SOS improves from 68 to the 50s. (Go OOC opponents!) Three games above .500 (+3) w/ a 50s SOS puts us in the range of 81 Minnesota (+4, SOS 51) and 97 Duquense (+1, SOS 55). Then let's say we make it to the final game by going 3-1 in the B10. Now we're +5 and our SOS goes (optimistically) into the 40s. Maybe that gets us in the 74 New Mexico St (+6, SOS 92) - 77 Notre Dame (+7, SOS 54) range. Still not there, methinks. So now let's run the table all the way to the BTT final. That gets us maybe to the 56 S. Fla (+7, SOS 37) range. Albeit with an extremely hot finish.
Seems to me just winning the BTT is easier than going on an 8 game winning streak from here to the BTT final.
Even I'm not this optimistic but I guess the opportunity to post a picture of Pittsnoggle makes this worthwhile