From time to time throughout the season I think it’s a good idea to take a look at where things stand and what needs to happen to obtain the goals of the season as they change based on performance. I don’t have to tell anybody that the #1 goal is to win the Big Ten Regular Season Championship. And while that goal may have seemed to take a serious hit with the loss of Mitch McGary, the reality is that Michigan has started 2-0 in conference and is one of only 4 teams that remain unbeaten in league play. I know that a conference crown seems like a long shot, but I’m sure the same could have been said 2 years ago and that season ended with Michigan in a 3-way tie for first, so for now I think this should be our top focus, along with an NCAA tournament bid.
Record: 10-4, 2-0 conference
Ken Pomeroy: 21st
Jerry Palm: 10th seed vs. North Carolina in Midwest Region
Joe Lunardi: 8th seed vs. Georgetown in East Region
A quick glance at these numbers and projections shows about what we should expect based on the season so far. The Ken Pomeroy ranking is higher than expected and is a good sign, as the selection committee has started a trend of focusing as much, if not more, on his data as the RPI. The seeding projections are low, but expected due to Michigan’s lack of quality wins at this time. But with the Big Ten being one of the top 1-2 conferences again this year, there will be several opportunities for quality wins and an increase in seeding.
What to watch for
This section will have more details as the conference season grows and seeding/standing scenarios begin to take more shape. As for now the focus is on winning games and everything else will take care of itself. John Beilein likes to break down the conference schedule by 3, 6-game stretches. At 2-0 to start, Michigan hosts Penn State and Iowa and has trips to Nebraska (Thursday 9pm eastern) and Wisconsin to finish out the first third of the conference slate. A 5-1 start to that schedule would be huge, as the 2nd 6-game stretch is far more difficult. Hopefully this team sees the trip to Nebraska as opportunity to take one step closer to the goal of a Big Ten Championship and will show up in Lincoln ready to play. If so they will leave 3-0 with all their goals still in front of them…