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Tuesday, March 1, 2016
MICHIGAN BASKETBALL BOUNCING ON BUBBLE
March has arrived, that golden time each year when Michigan State Basketball teams gear-up to "make a run" in the post-season tournaments. It's also the time that basketball teams from the University of Michigan flail and fumble and flop and fizzle. And here they go again!
John Beilein's team is right where we thought they would be this week, ON THE BUBBLE. Nobody is denying it, as it is the consensus opinion at this time. ESPN has listed UM as one of the "Last Four In", but most folks agree the Wolverines would have to beat Iowa this weekend or win at least two games in the B1G tournament to make the Big Dance field. In other words, they have "work to do".
An Iowa loss in Ann Arbor may offer a mild benefit to MSU in seeding for the conference tourney, but an Iowa victory could be "the stake" that "gets shoved" into the post-season hopes of the Michigan program.
So, let's go Hawkeyes, right?
Meanwhile, the UM women finished the league season at 9-9, earning a #8-seed in the B1G Women's Basketball tournament that starts up tomorrow. The Lady Wolverines are unranked and insignificant in the NCAA picture, and will remain so without playing their way into the championship game on Sunday. And even if they did, they would likely have to win it to get a Big Dance invitation. That's so different from their "record start" to the season, when they went 7-0 against a list of teams that almost nobody has ever heard about. La-de-da for Coach Bare Arms!
So welcome to the best month of the year for sports. The Spartans send teams into both league tournaments with high-seeds and legitimate championship aspirations. Then they both head to NCAA competition as serious contenders to win games, not just to make the field.
Wolverine fans should look on the bright side of things. After all, their women's team was 8-10 in the league last year, and they improved to 9-9, so that's progress. By dodging the Big Dance, they can pad their record with a short run in the NIT, as they have done so many times in recent years. (A 20-win season is still within reach!) And their men's team had a losing record last year and didn't even make the N.I.T. This year's squad has an NIT-bid locked-down if they miss the NCAAs.
So that's progress, right?
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