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2023 NCAA Tournament: Can This College Team Turn The Tables?

If you had looked at the University of Michigan’s men’s college basketball team in January, you would’ve said there’s no way this team would make the NCAA tournament. Well, one month later and the team went from losing games that they should win to winning those games. After going 4-5 in January, the Wolverines responded well by going 6-2 in February. The team is currently riding a three-game winning streak with two games remaining on the schedule.

2023 NCAA Tournament: March Madness

This year the NCAA tournament will start on Tuesday, March 14th, and end on Monday, April 3rd. With less than a week left of regular season games remaining, things will get interesting heading into Selection Sunday, which is on March 12, 2023. Starting this week, some NCAA divisions will begin hosting their tournaments as part of a last-ditch effort to impress the NCAA panel into inviting them to March Madness. Michigan is a part of the Big Ten, whose division tournament will take place between March 8-12 at the United Center in Chicago, IL.

Can Michigan Make Their Seventh NCAA Tournament In A Row?

Michigan started the season very cold compared to last year and this has affected its NCAA tournament status. With tight victories over Eastern Michigan and Ohio to an ugly loss to Central Michigan, the end of 2022 was not nice to the Wolverines. Whenever Michigan has been able to rally to a two or three-win streak, they fall back down to earth and compile a couple of losses before starting anew. Even after all of the woes that Michigan has dealt with this season, they have found themselves tied for second in the Big Ten standings with two games left before the Big Ten tournament.

One of the teams that are currently tied with Michigan for second is the Northwestern Wildcats. Michigan swept their series with Northwestern already which will help their chances of receiving a bid. Northwestern is almost guaranteed a spot in the NCAA tournament as a seventh seed. The other two teams are Indiana, who Michigan has lost to once already and will face off against them March 5, as the last game of the regular season, and Maryland, which the two teams split the series. The other team left on the schedule is against Illinois. Both games will be away and difficult but if Michigan can at least beat Indiana, their stock will go up leading into the Big Ten Tournament.

Does Michigan Have A Legit Shot At The NCAA Tournament?

Yes, very much so. After beating Michigan State, Rutgers, and Wisconsin in the last three games, the Wolverines have set themselves up well for the Big Ten tournament. The top four seeds get a double-bye and with four teams tied for second place, there will be one team left out. Ideally, it would benefit Michigan more to get the fifth seed and run the table but a couple of extra days of rest would greatly benefit the health of the team.

The Wolverines currently have a 59.2% chance to make the NCAA tournament this year. Their most likely seed entering the tournament would be 11th. This would be the same seed that the team received in the 2022 tournament. Last year Michigan was able to reach the sweet sixteen before getting knocked out by Villanova.

What Happens If The Wolverines Fall Short Of The NCAA Tournament?

Michigan’s head coach, Juwan Howard, is currently in his fourth year with the team. He signed a contract extension after being named the men’s basketball coach of the year and is on the contract until June 2026. If the Michigan Wolverines fall just short of the NCAA tournament this year, Howard will be on the hot seat. When he had an elite team, he strived as a coach. This year, the team is very young and inexperienced which has led to some questions regarding Howard’s coaching.

With how young the team is, there wouldn’t be much turnover going into the new season. Big man Hunter Dickinson would most likely announce his departure depending on his projected NBA draft rank. The team would also lose graduate students Joey Baker and Jaelin Llewellyn. As Forward Terrance Williams II continues to get pushed out of the game plan, he may elect to enter the transfer portal for his Senior year.



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