After a rocky finish to end its season, the Michigan baseball team was on the bubble entering Monday’s NCAA Tournament selection show.
Baseball America listed Michigan as one of the “First Four Out” of the 64-team field before the selection show, leaving the Wolverines hoping that they could sneak into the field. Last year, Michigan did not have to sweat out the selection process, as a Big Ten Tournament Title gave it an automatic bid into the tourney.
But this year, the selection committee passed on Wolverines, ending their season prematurely. From the Big Ten, Nebraska and Minnesota earned the at-large bids. No. 23 Ohio State earned their way into the field after winning the Big Ten Tournament.
Michigan entered the season ranked No. 15 in the country, and for a long while, they lived up to the high expectations. They blistered their way to a historic start to the year, holding a 34-12 overall record through May 8.
But the Wolverines hit a rough patch, and stumbled to the finish. Their final two weeks of the season featured losses against Central Michigan and Oakland, and they ended the regular season losing seven of eight heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
The Wolverines, however, still had fight left in them. After an opening round loss to Ohio State, they beat the No. 1 seed Minnesota 3-2 to earn a rematch against the Buckeyes. However, Michigan was again unable to power past Ohio State, and fell, 11-4. Though the Wolverines were unable to repeat as Big Ten Tournament Champions, a win against Minnesota certainly provided a boost to their NCAA résumé.
They held a No. 37 ranking in the ratings percentage index, the highest of any Big Ten school, but the Wolverines were hurt by their lack of marquee wins. They went 4-7 against the Top 50. Also, the only opponent on Michigan’s schedule that currently sits in the Baseball America Top 25 was the Buckeyes. The Wolverines did not win a game against Ohio State in five games played.
Still, dominant sweeps against Big Ten foes like Rutgers and Nebraska, along with out-of-conference wins against Oklahoma State and California, set the stage for a possible selection into the postseason.