With 0.2 seconds to go against Indiana, Kameron Chatman hit the biggest shot of Michigan’s season so far. As a lifelong Michigan fan, I couldn’t have been more excited. As the final few minutes of the game went by, it looked like a familiar scenario was playing out: the Wolverines hang around against a good team for most of the game, but then fold down the stretch. But, a game-tying 3 by Duncan Robinson with about 45 seconds left, and then Chatman’s game-winner, changed that.
But does this get Michigan into the at-large field? That was a subject of debate among the ESPN studio crew following the game. On the plus side, the Wolverines have four wins against teams who will likely be high seeds: Purdue, Indiana, Maryland, and Texas. On the minus side, 10 of the team’s 11 losses came by double digits. I have them just out after the win over Indiana. Of course, a win versus Purdue in the Big Ten semifinals tomorrow would remove all doubt.
Elsewhere, I’d love to see Monmouth in the field. I really would. But I know how the Selection Committee operates. Middle of the pack teams from major conferences get the nod over top teams from mid-majors. I struggled with this while finishing this projection, but right now, I have Pittsburgh as my last team in and Monmouth as my first team out. Of course, two things that would help Monmouth’s cause tonight are a Notre Dame (who they beat) win over North Carolina, and a Tulsa (who is among the Last Four In) loss to Memphis. The latter would help Michigan’s cause, as well.
Either way, to quote a text from my dad after the Michigan game, this is why I love March Madness. And with that said, here’s the latest projection.
In since 3/10 update: Middle Tennessee
Out since 3/10 update: Alabama-Birmingham
No new automatic qualifiers since 3/10 update.
Eliminated from at-large consideration since 3/9: Kansas State, UCLA, Stanford, Boise State, Marquette, Creighton, Clemson. These teams all had an extremely slim chance to make the at-large field. They would have needed to advance to the finals of their conference tournaments, in all likelihood, to have a chance at it. This may not have been enough.
As usual, moves up or down are in parentheses, projected automatic qualifiers are in bold, and clinched automatic bids are in bold and underlined.
1s: Kansas, Villanova, Virginia, Oklahoma (+1)
2s: Michigan State (-1), Oregon, North Carolina, Xavier
3s: Utah, West Virginia, Miami, Purdue
4s: Texas A & M, Kentucky, Indiana, California (+1)
5s: Arizona, Duke (-1), Maryland, Baylor (+1)
6s: Iowa State (-1), Notre Dame (+1), Dayton, Texas
7s: Seton Hall, Iowa (-1), Providence (+1), Colorado (+1)
8s: Texas Tech (-1), Wisconsin (-1), Wichita State, Oregon State
9s: Saint Bonaventure, Southern California (+1), Butler, Saint Joe’s
10s: Temple (-1), Cincinnati, Virginia Commonwealth, South Carolina (+1)
11s: Gonzaga, Tulsa, San Diego State, Saint Mary’s, Vanderbilt (-1), Pittsburgh
12s: Chattanooga, Yale, UNC-Wilmington, Akron
13s: Northern Iowa, UC-Irvine, Arkansas-Little Rock, South Dakota State (+1)
14s: Stephen F. Austin (-1), Iona, Stony Brook, Middle Tennessee
15s: Green Bay, UNC-Asheville, New Mexico State, Weber State
16s: Florida Gulf Coast, Austin Peay, Fairleigh-Dickinson, Texas Southern, Hampton, Holy Cross
Last Four In: Tulsa, Saint Mary’s, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh
First Four Out: Monmouth, Connecticut, Michigan (+1), Valparaiso
Next Four Out: Syracuse, Florida (-1), Washington (+1), George Washington
Third Four Out: Alabama, Houston, Ohio State (+1), Florida State (-1)
Look for my next update tomorrow (Saturday) and check out the Bracket Matrix in the meantime.