Remaining MBB Games: The Path to 30

Submitted by mistersuits on February 8th, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Remaining Games Chart:

Difficulty calculated by averaging rankings and weighting for home/road/neutral game sites.

 

Rank Opponent Difficulty KenPom RPI Result
- MICHIGAN 3 4 3 -
1 @Indiana 6 2 12 73-81
2 Indiana 7 2 12  
3 @Minnesota 9 11 10 83-75 
4 @Ohio 11 8 17 53-56 
5 @MSU 11 15 11  
6 Ohio 13 8 17 76-74
7 MSU 13 15 11  
8 #Pittsburgh 19 6 34 67-62 
9 @Wisconsin 23 14 41  
10 N.C. State 24 29 19 79-72
11 #Kansas St. 26 32 24 71-57
12 @Illinois 34 50 30 74-60
13 Illinois 40 50 30  
14 Iowa 63 33 92 95-67
15 @NW 70 82 83 94-66
16 Arkansas 71 62 79 80-67
17 NW 83 82 83 68-46
18 @Purdue 87 84 120  
19 #WVU 89 99 93 81-66
20 WMU 96 111 81  73-41
21 Purdue 102 84 120 68-53
22 Nebraska 117 146 87 62-47
23 @Bradley 136 164 157  74-66
24 @Penn St. 163 199 184  
25 Penn St. 192 199 184  
26 Cleveland St. 209 237 180 77-47
27 EMU 223 224 222 93-54
28 CMU 238 239 236 88-73
29 IUPUI 308 313 302 91-54
30 Binghampton 339 344 334 67-39
31 Slippery Rock NR NR NR 100-62

 

Notes:

  • MSU and Ohio are teams of indistinguishable difficulty albeit different playstyles. B1G is just brutal this year.
  • Worst major conference record of a team that still made the NCAA tournament was 7-9. Illinois (3-7) has a good shot at breaking that record.
  • Still have no clue what to make of upcoming series against MSU, hope for a split I think.
  • Pitt and Arkansas both had big wins that don't so much help Michigan's SoS as it does help Michigan by keeping the 1-seed line a little bit more accessible.
  • Michigan has 4 "tough" and 4 "winnable" games remaining.
  • Upcoming Penn State games will be a welcome breather, should be able to get the team well rested for a strong homestand finish against MSU and Indiana.
  • Michigan has the "best" losses among all of the top-10 teams in the country.

Path to B1G Conference Title:

 
  • Beat Wisconsin.
  • It's tough to envision a scenario given road game difficulty that doesn't land Indiana, MSU and Ohio all at 4 losses a piece.
  • A big key will be getting Morgan healthy and back into game speed over the Penn State stretch.
  • My earlier prediction was any team finishing 15-3 wins outright, 14-4 gives a shot at a split. This still looks to be precisely the case past the halfway mark in conference play.
  • All of the top five teams in the conference are in the conference title race, it's any of those teams' to win.
  • Beat Wisconsin. It will effectively knock them out of contention.

 

Special Feature - Path To The Most Wins In Michigan BB History:

In 1989 Michigan won 30 games en route to a National Title. In 1993 Michigan won 31 games (but later vacated the season).

Michigan sits at 21 victories with 8 regular season games remaining, a conference tournament that didn't exist twenty years ago, and a shot at a favorable seed for a deep NCAA run.

I'll let someone else run the win probabilities but eyeballing from the chart above Michigan can safely assume a worst case of 4-4 to end the year. They would then need to reach the BTT finals and the Elite 8 to tie for their best (non-vacated) win total in history. This is remarkably within reach.

If we assume a bit more optimism that Michigan will go .500 in their "tough" games and they finish out the season 6-2 they'll reach 27-4 and a shot at Michigan Basketball History will be well within reach.

The thing to take away from this Michigan team, about to face two more Big Ten contenders on the road, is that Michigan's only losses have come from the absolute best games from Top-10 rival teams on the road. And they kept it close both games despite absorbing (or allowing depending on your opinion) ridiculous runs to start each game.

Does Wisconsin (yielded 1.2ppp against Creighton and Florida) have an elite defender like Craft or Oladipo that can force Burke into an inefficient day? I personally don't think so.

I think Michigan wins for the first time in fourteen years up in Madison and carries the #1 ranking up into East Lansing playing with house money for the B1G Conference Title and a shot at their best season ever.

 

 

Comments

StephenRKass

February 8th, 2013 at 12:30 PM ^

If Michigan can beat Wisconsin, largely without Morgan, we might be able to run the table in the Big 10. I think Michigan is unlikely to go without a loss, but it is looking more and more possible. I'll be intrigued by the Wisconsin and MSU games. I think that Michigan is too good for Wisconsin. However, without a healthy Morgan, I really wonder about MSU. Izzo will have them ready, and that will be a game State wants to win at all costs. If Morgan is healthy enough to give 6 - 8 minutes, McGary and Horford should be able to carry the rest of the way.

I am struck with McGary's improvement. As Michigan gets stronger and stronger right at the basket, this makes Michigan even harder to defend. For a while, other good defensive teams (Indiana, Ohio,) were "locking the rails" (think I have the terminology right) and denying the ball to Robinson and Stauskas. If McGary and Horford are more and more able to get open and score inside, it will make it that much harder to keep the ball from both Robinson and Stauskas, and give Michigan yet more options.

As regards Michigan State, it sounds like they are kind of banged up, with 4 guys injured. (LINK:  http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/8927740/michigan-state-spartans-expect-four-injured-players-play-saturday) I never want to beat a team because they're at less than full strength. And yet, this sure doesn't hurt Michigan.

Looking at the remaining schedule, it seems eminently possible, even probable, that Michigan will have the most wins ever in history. I could see at least 35 wins. (7 - 1 balance of regular season, win three to take Big 10 tourney, and win four to get to Final Four.) I'm just not ready to predict a perfect record in the balance of the regular season, nor make predictions in the Final Four.

 

ChiBlueBoy

February 8th, 2013 at 1:42 PM ^

I am encouraged that UM has the "best" losses. Even if we aren't playing our best, we keep it close in the end against the better teams and pull away from the teams we should beat. This bodes well for a long run in the NCAAs. We can be beat, but most likely it won't be by a significantly lesser team.

robbyt003

February 8th, 2013 at 1:58 PM ^

Nix and Payne for MSU worry me.  I don't know if GRIII can match up with Payne inside and I hate the idea of starting 2 of 3 out of Morgan, McGary, and Horford. 

SMJenkins3

February 8th, 2013 at 3:07 PM ^

I agree with this, but then on the flip side, Payne will have to cover GRIII all the way out to the 3 point line.  Think that is a real tough assignment for him as well.  That seems like a game where we need GRIII's best game.  He has to be active in the offense.  He is going to be a real tough cover for MSU. 

DeepBlue83

February 11th, 2013 at 7:18 PM ^

We'll go 4-3 the rest of the regular season, 2-1 in the Big Ten tourney, and 2-1 in the NCAA, which will leave us one short. We have not improved since the BT season started, and we're looking very poor against the other contenders. After tomorrow, we will be 1-4 against the other top contenders, without a single good showing among the 5.