After early season wins over UCLA and Duke, it appeared that Michigan was well on its way toward making the NCAA basketball tournament for the first time since 1998. Now I'm not so sure. The Wolverines are 15-10 and they have lost seven of their last nine. The tournament committee weighs heavily how a team finishes its regular season.
Michigan has four of its final six games on the road beginning Sunday at Northwestern-- no lock victory. And one of the two home games is with Purdue. The Wolverines continue to fire away from three point range and if they make a few, well they're in the game no matter who they play. But they haven't made many lately (four of 24 against Michigan State on Tuesday) and when they miss they just don't score often enough.
Michigan is going to have to play at a notch higher than what it has demonstrated the past few weeks and whether the Wolverines are capable of such or not remains to be seen. This team frankly, played its best in a loss at top ranked Connecticut last Saturday, losing 69-61 and leading for much of the way. But the Wolverines can also play poorly on the road and with that schedule ahead, it could be NIT time again after the season. The only question will be-- will the first round NIT game against Notre Dame be in South Bend or in Ann Arbor?