Rooting Interests: Tournament Week
Remember the many years we spent refreshing ESPN’s Bubble Watch only to be disappointed when the Tommy Amaker led teams landed in the NIT? A few years later that disappointment turned to joy when we landed a 10-seed in 2009, or an 8-seed in 2011. Now we spend our time refreshing Bracket Matrix, retweeting Ken Pomeroy and endlessly justifying our two-seed over MSU and other Midwestern squads.
As of this writing, Bracket Matrix has Michigan a 3-seed and the 12th overall team, the AP Poll has the Wolverines seventh and Ken Pomeroy has the squad ranked ninth. Of course, none of those guarantee anything come selection Sunday. And while the committee has an obligation to put the top 16-teams as close to home as possible, that may not be logistically possible with MSU, Purdue, Cincinnati and Xavier all so close. Thankfully, other sites in Nashville and Pittsburgh give us hope.
Here are a few other things to root for this week: (note, I left out a lot of games that could impact RPI. Of course we want CMU to win the MAC and a bunch of other things, but I tried to focus on bigger games)
San Francisco over Gonzaga
San Francisco is so bad, chances are you don’t know their nickname. Okay, they aren’t that bad. Currently 18-14 and 4th in the WCC. Also, they are the Dons and everyone on their team is named Don. Maybe. Anyway, Gonzaga is a top-10 Ken Pom unit but a 5 in the matrix. Not a huge threat at the moment but wouldn’t it be cool if they lost anyway? Yes it would. Also lets root for BYU over St. Mary’s because we don’t need Gonzaga to beat a top 25 team this week. Maybe it won’t matter anyway, but why take the chance.
Edit: The Dons lost. Badly. But CMU won its first round matchup vs. Bowling Green. The No. 8 seed in the MAC plays No. 1 seed Buffalo on Thursday.
Pittsburgh over Notre Dame
There is like a .1% chance this happens. Pittsburgh is a winless piece of trash. But what better way to devalue MSU’s early season win over Notre Dame. The Irish were banged up all season sure, but this wouldn’t hurt.
Edit: Holy crap ND only won by three!
Anyone over Gonzaga or St. Mary’s
See above. Tuesday would be the WCC finals.
Edit: Gonzaga beat BYU
California over Stanford
Simply for RPI purposes to get Penn State to 75 and Quadrant 1.
Anyone over North Carolina
While they beat Michigan head to head, they are a two seed in the bracket matrix. Losing early to a bad team could drop them. The winner of Syracuse/Wake Forest awaits and upset here would do the trick. If this doesn’t happen Wednesday, we again root against UNC Thursday when they play Duke
Texas over Iowa State
We want the Longhorns to play themselves squarely in to the tournament. Currently projected as an 11-seed by the Bracket Matrix but with some wins, a more quality victory for UM. Also can help on Thursday.
Duke over UNC
If (when) UNC wins Tuesday, they get Duke again. A loss here doesn’t hurt that much, but doesn’t help either. Likely not enough to drop them behind UM. Root for a 42-point loss, here.
Some Trashbag Team over Xavier
Hopefully woeful St. Johns beats also woeful Georgetown. I only say this because St. Johns stormed over a few top teams earlier this year. A win vs. Xavier could bump the Musketeers down a peg in the pecking order before selection Sunday.
Texas or Iowa State over Texas Tech
Here’s where things get interesting. The Big 12 has a lot of teams around Michigan. And while Kansas or Texas Tech aren’t necessarily competing for the same region as Michigan isn’t it just easier if every other team loses? Of course, if top Big 12 teams start winning, they can rack up quality wins. Texas Tech could stay on the three line or move up. Same with other teams like West Virginia. Texas Tech getting knocked out early wouldn’t hurt.
Baylor over West Virginia
A team from Oklahoma Over Kansas
Colorado or ASU over Arizona
On the other side of the world, but also on the 4-line. Jumping Michigan with a conference title could happen. Things are gotten get sweaty either way (that’s a Sean Miller joke).
LSU over Miss. State
We lost to this LSU team in what feels like three seasons ago. It would be cool if they won four games in four days and made the loss look less bad. Also would be cool if Northwestern could go back in time and beat like four ranked teams.
Anyone over West Virginia or Texas Tech
Here’s where it REALLY gets interesting. While the Big 12 is still not in the Midwest (unless we are talking football expansion – bring on Oklahoma, and go home Rutgers!), we want TTU and WVU to lose. Since Kansas is on the one-line, we would root for Kansas over either team here. All things considered, if Kansas can’t win, then we maybe want Texas Tech because WVU is closer to the Midwest and we want to stay ahead of them? Honestly, this is complete guess. I have no idea.
Anyone over Xavier
This one is the conference semifinals, so not likely that a loss here would drop Xavier at all. But there are no Big Ten games to watch, what else are you going to do? Root against these guys for fun.
SMU or UCONN over Cincinnati
Maybe the UCONN women will show up and be beating Cincy 43-5 like happened in the first half of the women’s tournament on this evening (Monday). Cincy losing would be great to help position Michigan better on the two-line and keep them home.
Tulane or Temple over Wichita State
It is only fun to root for Wichita State when it is at the expense of another team, like Kansas, Kansas or Kansas. If Tulane or Temple can win, we can avoid a Wichita State/Cincy rematch which could propel a team higher.
LSU or Miss. State over Tennessee
If LSU makes it here we have two reasons to root for the Tigers. It makes Michigan look incrementally less bad, and Tennessee could get further away from the two-line opening up Nashville for another school. UT is currently on the three line, one spot above Michigan. Having them lose would definitely move Michigan up in some brackets.
Alabama or Texas A&M over Auburn
This would be a prime matchup to unclutter the top of the standings even though Auburn is in the South. But directions don’t matter to your rooting interests. Just root for the underdogs won’t you? Auburn like Tennessee is on the three line so if both lose it is triple good because it is always good when the SEC loses at things.
UCLA/Stanford or ASU over Arizona
Same as above. We just don’t want Arizona to get hot because first, Sean Miller will get sweaty and second, we want Michigan to be no. 1 in the standings and no. 1 in our hearts.
Anyone vs. Cincinnati
It’s getting late early in the AAC semifinals. If Cincy wins here they will be well positioned against UM no matter what. And even a loss here may not be that bad unless it is against a terrible team – like if Pittsburgh somehow gets relegated to the AAC in the next 5 days.
Anyone vs. Wichita State
Somewhat the same as above.
Random SEC Yokels over Auburn and Tennessee
Auburn and Tennessee are on opposite sides of the bracket so they could both end up playing on Saturday and Sunday. The further they go the worse it is for Michigan. So if they can lose to some terrible team that got hot (Georgia?) then that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. If both teams make the finals, I don’t know what you root for. Maybe a player walkout/NCAA protest?
Cincinnati vs. Wichita State
If this happens, I think we want Cincinnati here. While it wouldn’t be ideal for Michigan, we also don’t want to get jumped by Wichita State. I’m not sure it would happen, but this is MGOBLOG, we plan for the worst!
Ken Pom/Bracket Matrix over the Committee
We know Ken Pom loves him some UM. But will the committee? Let’s hope so.
TLDR: Root for all the underdogs unless Kansas and Cincy get hot in which case, root for them to beat down other solid squads like Wichita State, Texas Tech and West Virginia.