It might take some time for No. 3 Michigan to shake off its disappointing 65-62 loss to Wisconsin Saturday afternoon in Madison. After a rainbow three from Tim Hardaway, Jr. sailed through with 0:02 remaining, it looked all but over, until a half-court buzzer-beater from Ben Brust sent the game into overtime where the Wolverines lost control.
But fret not, Michigan. In the nation’s toughest conference, your upcoming schedule is perhaps the most favorable of any of the Big Ten contenders.
Of Michigan’s three remaining road games, they face a tough No. 12 Michigan State team, but then move on to play Penn State and Purdue. By contrast, No. 1 Indiana has four games remaining on the road, all of which are against ranked team. The Hoosiers meet No. 10 Ohio State in Columbus Sunday, then No. 12 Michigan State, then No. 18 Minnesota, and end the season on the road against this very same Michigan team.
Michigan State has the benefit of playing Purdue and Nebraska as two of its four remaining road games, but also meets No. 10 Ohio State and Michigan away from East Lansing.
Then, of course, factor in Wisconsin and Ohio State into the race and the plot thickens.
But, for Michigan, despite the loss, the road is built to keep them solidly in the race for the Big Ten title. Mitch McGary showed Saturday that he can be the final piece of a four-scorers-plus-one lineup that also includes Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, and Hardaway, Jr.
The Big Ten race won’t be a cake walk, but Michigan controls one important category: the luck of the draw in scheduling.