In their latest NCAA women's tournament projections, Charlie Creme and Jerry Palm have Michigan as a #8 seed and a #9 seed, respectively. Creme's bracket was posted today, Palm's on Saturday (before Michigan's win over Illinois yesterday). From his last bracket from a week ago, Creme moved U-M down from a #6 seed, likely because of the team's loss to Minnesota on Thursday.
The team seems to be in strong position to gain their first NCAA bid in a decade regardless of what happens in the BTT. Jeff Sagarin's women's RPI ratings have Michigan at #36 with a top-ten strength of schedule, a 2-6 mark vs. top-25 teams, and an 8-8 record vs. the top 50. The eight wins against top-50 teams seems particularly impressive given that only eleven other teams have eight or more such wins.
Obviously, the BTT results could affect their seeding, and perhaps a win or two could move them out of that dreaded 8-9 game and a potential second-round matchup against the likes of UConn or Baylor. I like their placement in the Big Ten Tournament bracket as both MSU and OSU are on the other side. Michigan's first game against either Wisconsin or Illinois (on Friday at around 2:00 ET on the BTN) is certainly winnable, and then they'd likely face PSU for a chance to get into the final.
On a side note, the following from U-M's post-Illinois game notes shows how historically significant this season is turning out to be for the women's basketball program (which it should be noted has never won a Big Ten title or tournament and has been to the NCAA tournament only four times):
• Today's win ensures the Wolverines of a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan's bye in the Big Ten Tournament is the first time Michigan has received a bye since the 2000-01 season.
• U-M also reached 10 Big Ten wins for the first time since the 2000-01 season. The 10 wins are also the most Big Ten wins in the Kevin Borseth era. The Wolverines posted nine wins in Kevin Borseth's first season in 2007-08.
• Michigan picked up its fifth Big Ten road win of the season with today's win. The win ties the school record for Big Ten road wins. U-M has reached five Big Ten road wins in three seasons prior to this season and in each of those seasons (1997-98, 2000-01 and 2001-02) U-M has advanced to the NCAA Tournament.