The Wolverine

February 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2018 THE WOLVERINE 37 shot, but there are a lot of winnable games left on the sched- ule. Eleven or 12 conference wins seem most likely. 5. Indiana (12-8, 5-3 Big Ten) Remaining Schedule: at Illinois, Purdue, at Ohio State, Michigan State, at Rutgers, Minnesota, Illinois, at Iowa, at Ne- braska and Ohio State. Summary: The Hoosiers have the toughest remaining schedule of all Big Ten teams and are probably a long shot to make the NCAA Tournament. 6. Nebraska (14-8, 5-4 Big Ten) Remaining Schedule: at Rutgers, Iowa, at Wisconsin, at Minnesota, Rutgers, Maryland, at Illinois, Indiana and Penn State. Summary: The Cornhuskers have one of the best home- court advantages in the league. They're also very beatable on the road, but the schedule is not daunting. They could make the NCAA Tournament. 7. Maryland (15-7, 4-5 Big Ten) Remaining Schedule: Michigan State, at Purdue, Wisconsin, at Penn State, Northwestern, at Nebraska, Rutgers, at North- western and Michigan. Summary: The Terrapins have been plagued by injuries, but have talent and a great home-court advantage. They could make a run. 8. Wisconsin (10-10, 3-4 Big Ten) Remaining Schedule: at Iowa, at Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, at Maryland, at Illinois, Michigan, Purdue, Min- nesota, at Northwestern and Michigan State. Summary: Wisconsin has lost its swagger this year, but the Badgers will still be tough to beat in Madison. However, they won't likely make the NCAA Tournament. 9. Penn State (13-8, 3-5 Big Ten) Remaining Schedule: at Ohio State, Rutgers, at Michigan State, Iowa, Maryland, at Illinois, Ohio State, at Purdue, Michi- gan and at Nebraska. Summary: PSU will win a game or two it shouldn't, but they'll be underdogs in all but three of their last 10 games. 10. Northwestern (12-9, 3-5 Big Ten) Remaining Schedule: at Minnesota, at Michigan, at Wis- consin, Michigan, at Maryland, at Rutgers, Michigan State, Maryland, Wisconsin and at Iowa. Summary: The Wildcats have the talent and the coaching to be better than they are. They'll win some games in the second half of the season. 11. Minnesota (14-8, 3-6 Big Ten) Remaining Schedule: Northwestern, at Iowa, at Michigan, Nebraska, at Indiana, Michigan State, at Wisconsin, Iowa and at Purdue. Summary: The Golden Gophers are the league's biggest disappointment at the halfway mark. They have plenty of win- nable games left, but not if they don't pick it up. 12. Rutgers (12-9, 2-6 Big Ten) Remaining Schedule: Nebraska, at Penn State, at Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, at Nebraska, Northwestern, at Maryland, at Ohio State and Illinois. Summary: This team is athletic, plays hard and has taken very good teams to the wire with its defense. The Scarlet Knights will burst a bubble or two in the second half of the season. 13. Iowa (10-11, 1-7 Big Ten) Remaining Schedule: Wisconsin, at Nebraska, Minnesota, at Penn State, Michigan State, at Ohio State, at Michigan, Indiana, at Minnesota and Northwestern. Summary: Another of the league's biggest disappointments. The Hawkeyes have some players, but this team is dysfunc- tional. 14. Illinois (10-11, 0-8 Big Ten) Remaining Schedule: Indiana, Rutgers, at Ohio State, Wis- consin, Penn State, at Indiana, Nebraska, at Michigan State, Purdue and at Rutgers. Summary: This is a well-coached team that will win a few games it shouldn't down the stretch, but will probably finish in the basement. the schedule (from a logistics stand- point) behind them. "It's much needed," Abdur-Rahk- man said of the team's day off Jan. 22. "I don't want to blame anything on fatigue, because everybody goes through it. We've just got to continue to grind." Michigan and Minnesota were the only two conference teams to play nine Big Ten games by Jan. 21. "We'll be well rested for the last stretch," said Wagner. "I'm pleased with [the 6-3 league mark], though it could be better. Both teams up there right now [Ohio State and Purdue] we lost to even though we should have won, in our opinion. We'll get our chance back, luckily." They were looking forward to a Jan. 25 rematch with a Purdue team that got a bit of a gift in Ann Arbor, when officials overturned an out-of- bounds call late in a tie game that gave Purdue one more possession. Big man Isaac Haas then made one of two free throws after a question- able foul call, allowing the Boiler- makers to escape with a one-point win. U-M blew a 20-point lead at OSU, too, but gets the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor. There appear to be a lot of other winnable games down the stretch, and though this might be an atypical Michigan team by Beilein standards — better defensively, struggling of- fensively at times — it's got a chance to be pretty good. "Now we have some time to retool and refresh a little bit," Beilein said af- ter the win over Rutgers. "Hopefully we'll be better through it. With nine games left in the schedule, to have a percentage like that would be a good percentage as we go forward." One that could earn the Wolverines a very solid seed in the NCAA Tour- nament. ❏ Head coach John Beilein on his team "I love the way we're growing."

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