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With the Big Ten Tournament having been in the books for nearly a week, the Wolverines have but one more day to await their fate, with the NCAA selection committee set to unveil their brackets on Selection Sunday. But those seeds won’t be set until all of the teams still participating in their own conference tournaments have gone through each of their paces.
Before the Big Ten Tournament, in which Michigan won four games in four days to win the title, the Wolverines were safely in the NCAA Tournament at-large, projected by many to be something of a five or six seed. However, with the way the maize and blue dispatched teams such as Nebraska, MSU and Purdue, the Wolverines stock rose significantly after the win.
But how significantly?
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While all eyes remain on Detroit, where Little Caesars Arena — a mere 40 miles from Ann Arbor — will play host to several regional games in the upcoming tournament — with the teams ahead of Michigan also seeking geographical closeness, it doesn’t seem likely to bracketologists that Michigan — nor in-state rival MSU — end up at the home of the Detroit Pistons. ESPN bracketology expert Joe Lunardi has been relatively dogged when it comes to prognosticating the Wolverines, but in the past few days, he’s changed his tune somewhat, not only putting Michigan in as a three-seed, but also slotting the maize and blue to play their opening NCAA Tournament salvo in Dallas (TX).
In Lunardi’s most recent bracket (updated the morning of March 10), he has the Wolverines as the second three-seed off the board — whereas the Spartans, also a three-seed, are the last, and head to nearby Wichita (KS). Michigan, in the latest projection, would be in the East bracket, and would face off against 14-seed Charleston in the first-round, with potential matchups against Florida and West Virginia, with possible rematches against Ohio State and North Carolina. Villanova is the 1-seed in Lunardi’s latest projection.
In the last AP and Coaches Poll, the Wolverines were ranked 7th overall. Most seeding projections have Michigan at the three, but the location has varied between Nashville, Wichita and San Diego. Hope still remains that, depending on what happens in the next two days in the remaining conference tournaments, that the Wolverines would get a shot to play near home in Detroit to start the NCAA Tournament off.