As I said last week we would likely get some more clarity and consistency from the bracket projections following the release of the top 16 teams by the committee last Saturday. That is exactly what has happened. The projected brackets are much more consistent across the various sites, at least for now.
First up in case you didn’t see, Michigan State checked in at number eight on the committee’s top 16, making them the final two seed in the field. They were placed by the committee in the West bracket with Gonzaga, Kansas, and Louisville rounding out the other top four teams.
Interestingly enough MSU has already played all three of these teams, losing to Kansas and Louisville early in the year and participating in a closed scrimmage with Gonzaga before the season started.
As for the NET Rankings that the committee is using this year, Michigan State is up to seven after their win Tuesday night over Wisconsin, jumping Michigan in the process.
Now onto the brackets. Most of the sites are still working off the committee’s brackets right now, so several of them are almost the same. SBNation, NCAA, and Fox Sports all have MSU in the West with the other top three teams from the top 16 show.
Both SBNation and Fox Sports have MSU facing off with the Anteaters of UC-Irvine in the first round before facing the winner of Washington and Alabama in the second round.
NCAA has the Spartans taking on Texas State in the first round and getting the winner of Floridan State and Seton Hall.
CBSSports also has Michigan State in the West with Gonzaga, but has Houston as the three seed. That bracket has MSU facing Montana in the first round and the winner of Mississippi State and Lipscomb in the second round. Personally this bracket is my favorite from a Spartan perspective.
The lone outlier as of now is ESPN. They have MSU as a two seed in the East, facing Loyola-Chicago in the first round and awaiting the winner of Buffalo and Alabama. The three seed is Marquette and the number one seed is...Duke. Yuck.
However, as of Wednesday morning, Joe Lunardi had moved MSU up to the fifth spot in his overall seedings, which would make them the top two seed. That puts a one seed back on the table as a possibility.
Location wise, all of the brackets that list projected sites for the opening weekend of the tournament have MSU playing in Des Moines. Columbus is still in play, but it will likely take MSU needing to jump a few teams, like Michigan for one, to get there.
The good news for Michigan State is that, unlike last year, the committee seems to have them about the same as the bracketologists do at this point. The Spartans still have massive games coming up that will likely determine not only the conference championship, but where MSU ends up when it comes time to go dancing.