Michigan Basketball: 3 takeaways from an excruciating loss to Illinois

Mar 2, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Dug McDaniel (0) loses possession against Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) during the second half at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Dug McDaniel (0) loses possession against Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) during the second half at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Michigan’s arduous road ahead

With one more road trip on Sunday, Michigan basketball will wrap up its regular season at either 17-14 or 18-13.

In 2022, 17-14 was enough to earn them an 11 seed in the big dance even after losing a bubble battle to Indiana on Thursday of the Big Ten tournament. They also had 11 wins in the Big Ten as they do now. This year’s story is different though.

Michigan doesn’t have the quality wins in the non-conference slate and lacks a win over a ranked team. They’ve made some noise in the Big Ten, but it’s not enough according to the bracketologists. They’ll presumably have to win at Indiana on Sunday and then realistically win at least two more in Chicago next weekend to feel safe about making the field.

As far as the Big Ten tourney is concerned, Michigan can still earn a double-bye with help. The probability of that happening is not good.

Next. Gut reactions to a back-breaking loss to Illinois. dark

The most likely scenario will be that they get a single-bye and play on Thursday. Winning at Bloomington is achievable though, as they did so a year ago to get their resume going and on Tuesday, Iowa went into Assembly Hall and improved to just 4-7 away from home.