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Spartan Bracketology: Last One Before Selection Sunday

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The Spartans are set on the two line as we head into the conference tournaments.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Well this is it, our last bracketology post before Selection Sunday. There hasn’t been too much volatility in the brackets for MSU over the season, with them pretty much staying as a top three seed for most of the year.

If you remember back to the NCAA selection committee rankings a month back, they had MSU as a two seed. Well here we are done with the regular season and MSU is still a two seed, across the board this week, in the bracket projections.

While all five of the brackets we look at have Michigan State on the two line, the region remains up for debate. Three of the brackets have MSU in the Midwest, with the other two putting them in the West region.

Let’s start with the three that have them in the Midwest, which plays the second weekend in Kansas City. SBNation and NCAA.com both have them in the Midwest and playing in Columbus the first weekend. They also both have Houston as the three seed in that region as a possible Sweet Sixteen match up. They also both have an ACC team as the number one seed, but not the same ACC team. SBNation has North Carolina, while Andy Katz has Duke still on the top line.

The other bracket with MSU in the Midwest is ESPN, where Joe Lunardi has them playing in Des Moines the first weekend. In his bracket, Texas Tech is the three seed in the region, with North Carolina on the top line.

The other two brackets, from CBSSports and Fox Sports both have Michigan State as the two seed in the West. CBS also has them headed for Des Moines the first weekend and has Houston as the three seed with Gonzaga up top. Fox has LSU as the three seed, with the Zags on the top line.

As for the NCAA NET Rankings, the Spartans currently check in at eighth.

Some other interesting notes from the brackets:

SBNation and ESPN both have the Spartans potentially facing a very dangerous mid-major team in the second round. SBNation has Buffalo as a seven seed and a possible second round opponent, you might remember them from last year’s upset win over Arizona in the first round.

Meanwhile, ESPN has Wofford lurking as a possible second round game. The Terriers are ranked 18th in the Kenpom rankings and are the number two three-point shooting team in the nation.

The other three brackets have mostly major conference teams playing in the 7/10 game. Baylor shows up on a couple of the brackets. Louisville also is in there, a team that beat MSU earlier in the year.

As for what the Spartans have to gain or lose this weekend in Chicago, I don’t really think it is too much either way. The Spartans are pretty well ahead of Purdue in the NET rankings and has two wins over Michigan already so I don’t see either of those teams jumping them regardless of the outcome in the Big Ten Tournament.

I also don’t see Houston making the jump, despite their win-loss record. Texas Tech is a team that could possibly move up to the two line with a conference tournament win, but that is really the only one I see.

At the same time I don’t see MSU being in danger of falling below the two line unless there is some crazy series of events that go all against them. The Spartans still have the most Quad One wins in the country with eleven. That is five more than Texas Tech, six more than Houston, four more than Tennessee, and two more than LSU.

Both of MSU’s possible Friday opponents are ranked just outside the top 50 in the NET rankings. Indiana is currently 51st, while Ohio State is 55th. In order for the Spartans to pick up another Quad One win on Friday, whoever they play needs to move into the top-50.

In addition to there being minimal concern about the Spartans moving down, I see basically no chance of them moving up either. Gonzaga (despite the loss last night), Virginia, Duke or UNC, and Kentucky or Tennessee are all pretty locked into being either one or two seeds.

What the Spartans might be able to control is where they go in the first weekend, with Columbus being the preferred destination. But even that depends on what other teams do as well.

So, in many ways, the Big Ten Tournament this weekend is akin to the Spartans playing with house money. Winning would be great, because who doesn’t like winning? But losing wouldn’t be the worst thing, and either scenario likely lands them in the same seeding line.

So, if at all possible, enjoy a relatively stress free tournament viewing weekend, and we will see you after the brackets come out on Selection Sunday.