Michigan's Tourney Chances Are Alive — and Reliant on Caleb Houstan
Michigan beat Indiana in a fashion that matched the team's lofty preseason expectations. Can the Wolverines and their five-star wing keep it up?
Michigan continued their dominance of Indiana and put the Big Ten on notice with a 80-62 triumph at Assembly Hall on Sunday afternoon.
While the Wolverines’ home blowout of Maryland could be attributed in part to turmoil in the opposing huddle, there were no caveats this time. These were the same Hoosiers that upset top-five Purdue in the same building last week. If you’d skipped the first two months of the season, you’d believe you were watching a Michigan team that had fulfilled its preseason top-five expectations.
Hunter Dickinson hit a trio of three-pointers in a spectacular all-around performance. Caleb Houstan shot the lights out. DeVante’ Jones ran the offense with precision. The defense only allowed Indiana to crest 0.9 points per possession because of some tough shot-making from Trayce Jackson-Davis and Xavier Johnson, the only Hoosiers to finish with double-digit points. Michigan talked a lot of shit in the process.
Michigan is 9-7 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten. They sit, quite deservedly, outside of the field in almost every NCAA Tournament projection. The Wolverines of the last week, though? They’re earning their way in.
Even if the reality is somewhere between the team of the first 14 games and that of the last two, there’s a path to a postseason run that looks easier to navigate after a quality road win.
I’m back to playing around on Bart Torvik’s invaluable site. His Big Ten win probability chart provides a good baseline for expectations the rest of the way, though it should be noted that it presumes the two postponed games will be made up:
Incidentally, finishing with an 11-9 conference record gets Michigan into the tourney field as a ten-seed in Torvik’s projections — they even avoid the play-in games. At that point, they’d just have to avoid tripping up in the first game of the Big Ten Tournament to feel pretty good about their chances.