How Michigan Basketball Stays in NCAA Tournament Contention

Michigan basketball is off to a 2-4 start in the Big Ten conference and with a rough schedule ahead, a turnaround is not guaranteed.

For much of Tuesday’s game against Wisconsin, Michigan basketball looked like it was going to score a key victory. Yet, for what seems like the umpteenth time this season, the Wolverines fell apart at the end.

A 15-0 run turned a six-point UM lead into a nine-point deficit. Michigan’s frantic comeback in the final seconds wasn’t enough and the Wolverines lost another important game they could have won.

Soon, Michigan basketball will need to start winning those games. After spending most of the year projected in the NCAA Tournament — the Wolverines are now on the outside looking in.

Michigan is 12-7 overall and 2-4 in the Big Ten. And after the loss to the Badgers, the Wolverines are squarely on the bubble, if, they are on it at all.

The problem for Michigan, is that the road doesn’t get any easier, in fact, it gets harder.

The Wolverines host Illinois Saturday, in a game that simply put, is a must win. That’s followed with another home game against Indiana Thursday. Then, there is a trip to East Lansing to battle the Spartans, before back-to-back home games against Ohio State and Michigan State.

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With four of five games at home, Michigan basketball has a chance to play itself back into things, yet, there is little room for error.

Even if Michigan wins four of five, which would require at least beating Indiana and Michigan State at home, that would still put the Wolverines at 6-5 in conference.

That would put UM in better position, but it would still be far from a lock for the tournament.

The three next games are at Indiana, home against Wisconsin and at Minnesota. In case you didn’t know those are all projected to be tournament teams, which means heading into that stretch with just four of five conference wins isn’t a good idea.

So for now, the next five games will define the season. A 2-3 mark, means starting 4-7 in conference, 3-2 means 5-6 and 4-1 mean 6-5.

There is time for Michigan basketball to turn it around, however, the Wolverines must start winning and that needs to start Saturday vs Illinois, because if UM losses that game or many others, it can kiss the bubble goodbye.

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