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Monday, January 4, 2016


Spirits are high in Ann Arbor, as the Wolverine faithful celebrate the rip-roaring 2-0 start for John Beilein and his merry band of long-ball throwers. Yes, they had those double-digit losses in November and December, but this is a new year, and Michigan fans are ablaze with pride to see their Wolverines tied for the top of the B1G standings.

Some may wonder why we predicted UM to land on "The Bubble" in March, with a likely record of 10-8 in the conference, 19-11 overall. Now that Beilein has his team at 2-0, you may think that we were a bit off-base in our pre-season forecast.

Our prediction, however, remains right on track.

The two teams Michigan just beat were expected (by us) to lose to UM, since they are part of the "lower group" of B1G teams by our reckoning. Illinois and Penn State sport a combined record of 17-13 this season, 0-4 in the league.

The "surprising" 2-0 start was part of our predicted 10-8 finish.

Joe Lunardi has just released his first "Bracketology" preview, and he has Michigan listed as a 10-seed, the lowest-seeded B1G team in the tournament field. That's consistent with "bubble-status".

So before the Wolverines order their cases of champagne, let's see how they do in upcoming games against #14 Purdue and #6 Maryland, followed by a road-trip to #19 Iowa. The only question seems to be whether they will be 3-2 or 2-3 on January 18.

Michigan will likely "rally" after losing two or three games, thanks to another easy stretch of the schedule before playing Michigan State in Ann Arbor. They will probably win three or four games leading up to the MSU game, causing headline-writers to carry-on about the "hot streak" and the "season turnaround", and more pro-UM gibberish.

For Beilein to crack our predictions, his team will have to win a game against one of the top teams in the league. Their first chance comes on Thursday of this week, when Michigan travels to Purdue to play the Boilermakers right after Matt Painter's team lost a heart-breaker on their home floor to Iowa. Game-time on January 7th is 7:00 p.m. Coverage on ESPNU.


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