Michigan women's basketball squarely on NCAA tournament bubble

Following a loss to Michigan State on Saturday, Michigan women's basketball is in real trouble of missing the NCAA tournament.
Michigan guard Lauren Hansen (1) looks to pass during a NCAA Big Ten Conference women's basketball
Michigan guard Lauren Hansen (1) looks to pass during a NCAA Big Ten Conference women's basketball / Joseph Cress/For the Register / USA

The Michigan women's basketball team had a difficult week. First, the Wolverines had to play Iowa on the road and surrendered 49 points to Caitlin Clark in a loss to Iowa earlier this week.

There's no shame in losing to the Hawkeyes, who are ranked No. 4. The Michigan women's basketball team gave up 106 points in the 106-89 loss and missed out on an opportunity to improve their NCAA tournament resume.

Going into the weekend, Michigan women's basketball was listed among the last four teams in the NCAA tournament according to the ESPN women's bracketology. Michigan State, the opponent on Sunday, is projected as a No. 7 seed.

The Spartans outscored the Wolverines 16-9 in the second quarter and Michigan women's basketball wasn't able to recover in a 70-66 defeat. Laila Phelia had a stellar effort for the Wovlerines in the loss with 23 points and seven rebounds. Jordan Hobbs added 15 points for U-M. Elissa Britt finished with 11.

Michigan women's basketball is 16-11 overall with three games remaining and not much margin for error. Michigan travels to Northwestern and second-ranked Ohio State before finishing the season at home against Purdue.

The Wolverines need to win two of those three games at least to feel good about their chances of making the tournament. A win or two in the Big Ten tournament would help, as would an upset of the Buckeyes but that's much easier said than done.

Unfortunately, Northwestern and Purdue are among the worst teams in the conference, so Michigan won't get much credit for beating them, which is why Sunday's loss to MSU stings so badly.