WBB: A Cruel Twist
Michigan needs Leigha Brown in an increasingly chaotic Big Ten title race.
In a crowded Big Ten championship race, one misstep could determine whether Michigan will raise a banner.
Unfortunately, a literal misstep has already cost the Wolverines their advantage on the rest of the field. With two minutes left in Michigan’s triumph over fellow contender Indiana on January 31st, Brown connected on a floater to ice the game, turned to run back on defense, and appeared to step on an IU player’s foot:
She’s sat on the bench in a walking boot for the subsequent three games. After a shootout win over Iowa, Michigan has dropped the last two to a pair of bubble teams, Michigan State and Northwestern.
Last night, Indiana lost to Nebraska and Maryland beat Iowa, compressing the top four while all but knocking the Hawkeyes out of contention. Using win probabilities from Her Hoop Stats, it increasingly looks like the title battle will be fought to the bitter end, and there’s a new favorite:
Ohio State, despite being 0-2 against Michigan, has a narrow advantage because of their easier closing schedule and playing one more game than the Wolverines and Terrapins.
It doesn’t appear likely the Michigan-Illinois game wiped out by bad weather two weeks ago will be made up; the Illini had a spate of postponements and their schedule is already packed with make-up games. That’s another serious blow to the Wolverines, who’d be >95% favorites in that matchup.
Before worrying about the schedule, though, Michigan has to worry about themselves, especially if Brown isn’t back before the postseason.
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