The Michigan women's basketball team's loss to Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament seriously damaged their chances for an NCAA tourney bid. In their updated brackets, both Creme and Palm pushed Michigan down into the "last four in" category. The team is thus in exactly the same position they were in last year--barely clinging to a spot in the field with a week of conference tournament play to go, giving any number of other teams the chance to steal their spot.
Creme provided this quick summary of the team's position:
The Wolverines played themselves into a more precarious situation. The No. 3 seed in the Big Ten tournament meant nothing with the loss to Illinois. They aren't necessarily so automatic anymore.
The only good news from the Big Ten Tournament was OSU beating MSU in the semis and then winning the championship. Michigan twice beat OSU, which is now in the top ten in RPI, so U-M has those two "signature" wins plus another over Iowa. Unfortunately, they have no signature nonconference wins, have only 17 wins overall, and are saddled with four bad losses (Detroit, Minnesota twice, and Illinois). Plus, the recent losses to Minnesota and Illinois have pushed their RPI down from the 30s into the 50s, and their strength of schedule has dropped from around 10 to around 30.
So, it wouldn't be at all surprising if the women end up in the WNIT again.
There's an obvious lesson here for the men's team: Don't assume you're already in the tournament--beat the Illini on Friday and get off the bubble.