Women's Basketball Bracketology

Submitted by Raoul on February 28th, 2011 at 1:31 PM

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.

Comments

Raoul

February 28th, 2011 at 2:28 PM ^

Well, it is true that Borseth faced UConn before in a similar situation in the 2007 NCAA tournament, and his team (#9-seeded Wisconsin-Green Bay) did better than expected:

When Michigan wanted to become one of the major players in the Big Ten in the spring of 2007, it turned to a coach who had only weeks before earned the respect of no less than Geno Auriemma for leading a great mid-major program into Hartford, Conn., and walking off the court with a halftime lead against Connecticut in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Source: Borseth's major progress at Michigan

Raoul

February 28th, 2011 at 4:59 PM ^

One other women's basketball note, from a U-M release:

Senior guard Veronica Hicks (Chicago, Ill./Thornwood) of the University of Michigan women's basketball team received postseason honors from the Big Ten coaches and media panel on Monday (Feb. 28). Hicks earned All-Big Ten third team from the media panel and received honorable mention from the league's coaches.

Hicks earns her second consecutive All-Big Ten honor after earning honorable mention last season by a vote of the league's coaches and media panel. Hicks becomes one of six players to earn all-conference or all-conference honorable mention in the Kevin Borseth era.

...

The conference office also announced honorees from each of the 11 women's basketball squads for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Sophomore Kate Thompson (Plymouth, Minn. /Wayzata) is Michigan's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree for the first time in her career.

Full rundown of the All-Big Ten teams can be found in this annarbor.com article.