Michigan women's basketball team learns Monday if it will join EMU in the NCAA Tournament
The Eastern Michigan women’s basketball team punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
But will the Eagles’ Washtenaw County neighbors be joining them?
Coach Kevin Borseth and his Michigan women’s basketball team think the Wolverines have the resume to warrant one of the 33 at-large spots.
“I think we deserve to be one of them, but it doesn’t matter what I think,” Borseth said earlier this week. “It’s what the committee thinks at this point, right now.
"We want to be one of those teams.”
They’ll find out if the selection committee agrees on Monday night. ESPN will release the tournament field live at 7 p.m. during its Selection Monday Special.
Eastern Michigan, in the tournament for the second time in school history, will learn its first-round opponent and location during the show. The school is hosting a viewing party at Buffalo Wild Wings in Ypsilanti and the public is invited to help celebrate the Eagles’ first appearance since 2004.
ESPN “bracketology” expert Charlie Creme projects EMU to be a No. 13 seed and face No. 4 Georgia in a first-round game in Bowling Green, Ohio, on Monday, March 18.
Michigan’s viewing experience will be much more nerve-wracking. According to the Creme, the Wolverines are one of the “last four out” of the NCAA field.
“It’s hard because you want it so bad, but there’s nothing you can do anymore,” senior guard Courtney Boylan said. “It’s in the hands of the committee, and that’s what it’s been for the past couple years. Just hoping that it turns out good for us.”
The Wolverines (20-11) have an RPI rating of 44 and the nation’s 43rd-best strength of schedule, according to realtimeRPI.com, and their resume boasts four victories against top 50 teams (Florida, Iowa State, Ohio State and Nebraska). But going 4-6 over their last 10 games won’t help.
For Michigan to be selected, the committee would also need to deem the Big Ten worthy of seven tournament teams.
Purdue earned the Big Ten’s automatic bid by beating league newcomer Nebraska in the conference tournament title game. Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue and Ohio State appear to be locks for NCAA bids.
Creme also has Michigan State in his “last four in” category. The Spartans (20-11) swept two regular season games against Michigan.
If the Wolverines fail to get their first NCAA Tournament invitation since 2001, they’ll likely play in the WNIT for the fourth time in five years.
But they won’t play a home game, which is commonplace for major programs. Like last season, when the Wolverines lost a first-round WNIT game at Eastern Michigan, the university has closed the Crisler Center for renovations.
“That’s what we’ve been working for since we got here, is to get into the NCAA Tournament,” Boylan said. “For me, it would mean pretty much everything to get in. Even if we don’t, we’re still playing. And so I still look forward to keep playing, even if it’s in the WNIT.”