The Big Ten Tournament starts next week and that means the postseason will be in full swing.
Michigan State has a storied history in March. Of course, It always helps your chances in March to get good seedings in the tournaments.
In terms of the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans are considered a lock to make it. Most NCAA tournament models have Michigan State as a No.7 seed. Depending on the outcome of this weekend and the Big Ten Tournament, some projections have the Spartans as high as a 6 seed, while others have them as low as a 9 seed.
For the Big Ten Tournament, the Spartans have a similar looking set of possible seeding.
The Big Ten Tournament is a five day marathon. Finishing in the top four spots in the conference means you are not required to play in the first two days of the tournament. This is obviously a huge advantage to teams to be able to start on Friday and play only three games to win the conference title.
For those not eligible for the double buy, the seeds that everyone wants to avoid - including Michigan State - is the 8 or 9 seed. These seeds allows you to miss the first day of the tournament, but sets up the winner with a Friday matchup against Purdue - the one truly consistent team in the Big Ten.
Currently, Michigan State is ranked number 8. If the tournament were held today, Michigan State would matchup against Rutgers on Thursday night. But this year’s Big Ten means nothing is set in stone.
Purdue has locked up the number 1 seed in the tournament. The chaos comes in because the Big Ten has a six-way tie for second, with every team having an 11-8 Big Ten record. These teams include: Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Northwestern, Iowa, Michigan.
Michigan State would most likely have made that a 7-way tie if they had not canceled their game against Minnesota in the wake of the tragic campus shooting.
While it seemed out of reach just a week ago, Michigan State is still technically in play for the double-buy seeding in the Big Ten Tournament.
Michigan State would of course need to win their game on Saturday against Ohio State. It’s safe to say Spartan fans are in favor of that outcome.
The question is, who else do Spartan fans need to win in a crazy finish to the Big Ten regular season.
Spartan Cheering Guide for Last Weekend of Big Ten Play - AKA Your Sunday Funday
- Penn State needs to win over Maryland - Sunday, 12 noon on BTN
- Purdue over Illinois (On Purdue senior day, this seems like a lock) 12:30pm on FOX
- Nebraska to beat Iowa (Iowa at home - a tall, tall task) 2pm on BTN
- Indiana over UMich (for obvious reasons, this game will help and hurt MSU regardless of outcome) 4:30pm on CBS
- Rutgers over Northwestern, 7:30pm on BTN
If Michigan State beats Ohio State, then they need four of the 6 teams tied at 11-8 to lose.
Fortunately, only one pair of the 11-8 teams are playing one another, Indiana and University of Michigan. That gives MSU a guaranteed loss for one of the 6 teams, but it also means that the game guarantees one of the six teams gets a win. Spartan fans can unite in a common theme of anti-Michigan fervor to vote that the winner is Indiana, particularly as that may truly close the case that Michigan has any case to make the NCAA tournament.
Outside of the Michigan game, MSU needs three of the remaining four teams tied for 2nd to lose.
Considering how good Iowa is at home, that most likely means MSU is relying on a trio fo teams hosting their senior games. Specifically that means Penn State to beat Maryland, Purdue to take care of business against Illinois, and Rutgers to win against Northwestern.
Relying on two teams to pull out upsets may may sound like a lot of conditions, but in this Big Ten season much much crazier things have already happened.