Michigan and Michigan State are in serious trouble, as both could end up missing the 2015 national tournament, and that would be an obvious mind-boggling blow to the Spartans, who have made 17 straight under coach Tom Izzo.
As for the Wolverines, well, this season has been riddled with injury, bad luck, more bumps and bruises, and another pile of bad luck. At the beginning of the season, it would have been crazy to say that the Wolverines would have hung around without Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton.
But they have. More power to them.
I’ll get more into Michigan and Michigan State on Bleacher Report this week, but until then, here are my thoughts on each team’s likelihood of making the Big Dance.
Not Good for Michigan State
Five of the Spartans’ next eight games are on the road, and they’ll have to win at least five to have a good shot on Selection Sunday.
At 15-8 (6-4 Big Ten), reaching the 20-win plateau is necessary for Izzo, who could be without freshman Javon Bess (foot) for the rest of year, per Joe Rexrode of The Lansing State Journal.
The Spartans are at Northwestern on Tuesday night, followed by hosting No. 23-ranked Ohio State before going on the road to Michigan and Illinois, which just won in East Lansing this past Saturday.
Oh, and then they have No. 5-ranked Wisconsin before ending the regular season March 7 at Indiana, which just beat Michigan—a team that, despite being battered, could easily down Izzo’s team in Ann Arbor on Feb. 17. Michigan took Michigan State into overtime prior to suffering a 76-66 loss on Feb. 1.
Does MSU make the tournament? It has a slightly better chance than Michigan, but that’s only if it can win at least five more regular-season games and make some noise in the Big Ten Tournament.
Even Worse for Michigan
Short and sweet for the Wolverines, who have done nothing but continually impress with a crippled roster. Three of the Wolverines’ final six regular-season games are on the road, including a duel with No. 19-ranked Maryland on Feb. 28.
Michigan (13-11, 6-6 B1G) closes its season by hosting Rutgers on March 7.
John Beilein has done wonders with his resources, but he’ll probably have to make an appearance in the Big Ten tourney title game—not to mention win at least five of his final six, and beating Maryland would help—to be considered for March Madness.
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