After a topsy turvy season, Michigan enters the Big Ten Tournament as a No. 8 seed sitting firmly on the Tournament bubble. With the Wolverines set to begin play in the Big Ten Tournament against No. 9 seed Indiana on Thursday morning, The Daily’s men’s basketball beat predicts Michigan’s fate and who will take home the title.
How does Michigan do?
Josh Taubman: Loses in quarterfinals
I know Michigan has gone to impressive levels to not win two games in a row but I just think the Wolverines come out more motivated and beat an Indiana team that has no real offense. However, I think that’s about as far as Michigan goes. I’d like them better against some other teams, but top-seeded Illinois is just loaded with talent — and too much for a flawed Wolverines team to contain. Michigan keeps it close but bows out in the quarterfinals. However, I think they do enough to not need to sweat out earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament next week.
Nick Stoll: Loses in quarterfinals
Look, as inconsistent as Michigan is, Indiana is not a good basketball team. Since the teams’ first meeting back in January, the Hoosiers are 4-8. Over the same stretch, the Wolverines are 9-6. For both teams, this game has hearty NCAA Tournament implications, for Indiana even more so than Michigan. I don’t really buy into the “desperate teams play better” narrative, so I think the Wolverines take their first game simply because they’re the better team. The same can be said for the round they exit. Illinois is the better team and will get it done on Friday, sending Michigan home to await Selection Sunday and find out where it’ll end up.
Jack Kingsley: Loses in quarterfinals
As everyone knows, Michigan hasn’t won back-to-back games in a long time. But the last time they won two in a row, one of the teams was Penn State — a bad team. Indiana is also a bad team, especially over the last month. The Wolverines also match up well with the Hoosiers. Indiana doesn’t have the shooters to exploit Michigan on the perimeter, and the Wolverines have an answer for forward Trayce-Jackson Davis in sophomore center Hunter Dickinson. I don’t see Michigan beating Illinois, though. The last time the two teams met, the Illini tore apart the Wolverines, and in the first meeting between the two teams, the only reason Michigan was in the game for its majority was due to an uncharacteristically poor shooting night for Illinois. The Wolverines won’t get it done this time, either.
Spencer Raines: Loses in semifinals
Look, in order to do this Michigan would have to win not one, not two, but three games in a row — almost unthinkable. But hear me out, the Wolverines can’t beat two good teams in a row, right? Well, here’s some calculus: Michigan can’t beat two good teams in a row as it has shown over the past month, but if you consult the schedule prior to that, the Wolverines can win multiple games in a row if their opponents aren’t all “good” teams. It all comes down to how you view Indiana and how the “good” team counter affects Michigan. Is it reset after the Wolverines beat a bad team? Is Indiana a bad team? All valid questions. In this case, I think the Hoosiers qualify as bad and that the counter resets. So, if Michigan beats a good team and then a bad team, the Wolverines can once again beat a good team. In conclusion, Michigan will beat Indiana, then Illinois, but lose to Iowa in the semifinals. It’s really simple math.
Who wins the Big Ten Tournament?
Who is the Tournament MVP?
Taubman: Trevion Williams
Stoll: Keegan Murray
Kingsley: Keegan Murray
Raines: Jaden Ivey