Michigan Basketball: A Tale of Two Tournaments -- Preview

GBMWolverine Basketball TidbitsPosted at 9:45am — 3/11/2014

Michigan Basketball: A Tale of Two Tournaments — Preview

The conference championship is won, the tournament awaits. This is a true crap-shoot this year, no doubt, no debate. Teams that are playing on the first day, Ohio State, Iowa, and Indiana could make a run and pull off a final win. Usually, a team that has to play four days is cooked. But those teams have enough substance to make a big run.

2014 Big Ten TournamentThe top four teams are not going to be easy to beat, but this could happen, the supposition is not a stretch. All four are in the tournament, excepting the still puzzling case of Nebraska. By now the Huskers should be in the mix, but the committee results await.

Michigan State and Wisconsin are best suited for the tough play of the tournament. But Michigan State is wounded and winded. This was demonstrated at Ohio State on Sunday. Wisconsin plays a tough and disciplined style that lends itself to getting to the final game. Nebraska likely feels it needs to continue to validate its ascension. But out of the friendly confines of Lincoln, the Huskers are vulnerable.

Mar 8, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines players and coaches pose with the regular season Big Ten championship trophy after the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Crisler Arena. Michigan won 84-80. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan? Well, Michigan is playing on house money. Win two and a third seed is likely guaranteed, lose game one and the ranking may drop to a four seed, which the bracket makers would not like, seeing as how Michigan is the league champ in what is probably one of the two toughest leagues in the country: the Big 12 being the other. The PAC whatever is much better this year and could make some big noise or pull another quick and illustrious flame out.

Michigan will play with a purpose, perhaps for fun, but the team awaits another NCAA run, no doubt.

Now what to think about the tank rule of thumb? In the past, many coaches were silently happy when a two or three seed team tanked out of a tournament early. The bad news was anxiety among the fan base, the reward was rest and preparation. The smaller conferences play tournaments early for two reasons: (1) exposure, and (2) rest.

Mar 8, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach John Beilein cuts down the net after the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Crisler Arena. Michigan won 84-80. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When the atmosphere is one and done, teams react differently. Some teams play uptight/ferociously with a reality of no margin of error. Other teams sleep walk with no purpose. The typical team that has already secured a bid, just plays and sees where the chips fall. Michigan will have to beat teams with more marbles in the game, and maybe that will be very difficult. Wisconsin probably blew a chance at a one seed. Michigan needs some good results to hit a two seed. Michigan State probably has to win the tournament to gain a three seed. Iowa is now on the downswing and may have to win a game, but should, should being the usable word. Iowa has won twenty games, but a loss to Northwestern would cause committee consternation, not a good medical condition.

So, this entertainment venue is fit for a long-term beer party. It would be a shock of shocks if the brackets fell as seeded. Some years, I enjoy the conference tournaments more so than the dance.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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