While some people are looking at bracket projections as far back as the start of the season, it really isn’t worth getting worked up about until the season starts to take shape. Well we are now 21 games into the season for MSU, and halfway through the conference slate. February is just around the corner so let’s check in with some of the bracketologists and see what they think selection Sunday will hold for the Spartans.
We will check in weekly with five different bracket projectors. They are SBNation, NCAA, CBSSports, Fox Sports, and ESPN.
Of those five sites, four of them have MSU as a number one seed, the other has the Spartans as a two seed.
Let’s start with the outlier, CBSSports, who has MSU as a two seed in the Midwest region. The Spartans would play in Columbus for the first weekend, which is consistent throughout the projections for those that give early round locations.
The path for the two seeded Spartans would include a second round possible matchup with either Auburn or Buffalo, and likely Houston in the Sweet Sixteen. That’s not so bad right? Well awaiting MSU on the other side of the bracket is the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils. No thank you.
I gotta say sticking MSU as a two seed in Duke’s region would be pretty close to worst case scenario as of now.
Both Fox and SBNation have Michigan State as the number one seed in the Midwest, while NCAA and ESPN place the Spartans in the West region as the top seed. The Midwest plays the second weekend in Kansas City, while the West is in Anaheim. Obviously the Midwest makes travel easier for the Spartan faithful, but a trip to California would be a pretty easy sell as well.
Some interesting notes from those other brackets:
Both ESPN and SBNation have the Spartans possibly facing their same second round opponent as last year, Syracuse. Surely seeing the Orange’s zone defense waiting for them will have some Spartan fans feeling PTSD from last year.
The SBNation bracket also has Houston on MSU’s side of the bracket as the four seed, while ESPN has them on the other side of the bracket as a three. That is three of the five that include Houston in MSU’s region.
Both NCAA and ESPN, which have MSU in the West, have Gonzaga as the two seed in that region.
Meanwhile, SBNation and Fox Sports both have North Carolina as a possible Elite Eight game for MSU. SBNation has MSU, UNC and Kansas all in the same region.
Both ESPN and NCAA have possible rematches with Louisville, one of the three teams to beat the Spartans this year, in the Sweet Sixteen.
Of the five, I think the Fox Sports one is the most favorable. Number one seed in the Midwest, getting the play-in winner in the first round, then either Florida State or Utah State in the second round, Iowa State or Maryland in the Sweet 16, and either UNC or LSU in the Elite Eight.
We will continue to check in on this as we work our way through February, but right now MSU is in pretty good shape, but that can change pretty quickly, especially if the Spartans get tripped up in their two matchups with Michigan.
The Spartans currently sit sixth in the NCAA Net Rankings, which are the replacement for RPI that the committee will lean on, along with some of the other advanced ranking systems. So while the bracketologists feel good about MSU, the Net Rankings have them as a two seed.