The Michigan State Spartans host this week’s marquee college basketball game on Tuesday night, as No. 1 Indiana visits East Lansing. For the fourth-ranked Spartans, the game stands as a huge one — MSU could take a stranglehold on the Big Ten race with a win, as well as close in on a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament.
But could a victory also push Michigan State close to the No. 1 spot overall spot in current tournament seedings? It sure seems as if things trending in that direction.
Here’s an updated look at where some “bracketologists” have Michigan State and Michigan in their latest projections:
• Jerry Palm, CBS (updated Feb. 17): As of Sunday night Palm had the Spartans as a No. 1 seed in the South — based off locations and matchups, they appear to be the lowest one-seed in Palm’s bracket. Michigan State would have to travel to Arlington, Tex., in that scenario, and Palm has Florida as the two-seed in that region.
Michigan State’s current second-round matchup there (the first round of games once the field gets to 64) is against the winner of a Niagara-Norfolk State play-in game. MSU’s Round of 32 foe would be either VCU or Colorado.
Michigan, meanwhile, is down to a two-seed, after Palm had the Wolverines as his No. 1 overall team last week. Palm currently has Michigan in the East, with 15-seed Long Beach up first, followed by either Oklahoma or Wichita State. The top seed in the East bracket is Miami, though in this scenario, Michigan would open in Auburn Hills and be closer to the regional final site (Washington D.C.).
• Joe Lunardi, ESPN (updated Feb. 15): Lunardi figures to unleash a new bracket sometime Monday, so we’ll update then. For now, the ESPN bracket expert has Michigan State as the No. 2 seed in the East (Duke is No. 1) and Michigan as a No. 2 in the South.
Both teams are at Auburn Hills to start in Lunardi’s projections, as well — Michigan State against Montana, then either Creighton or Ole Miss; Michigan vs. Florida Gulf Coast, then Cincinnati or Kentucky.
• Patrick Stevens, USA Today (updated Feb. 18): Here, Stevens projects Michigan State to win the Big Ten Tournament title, thus securing the No. 1 seed in the South. The Spartans’ first game would pit them against Mercer or Charleston Southern in Auburn Hills, with the Notre Dame-North Carolina winner waiting for a tantalizing third-round game.
Stevens also keeps Michigan in Auburn Hills, though the Wolverines are a two-seed in the West (Duke No. 1). Their opener: 15-seed Niagara, followed by either Oklahoma or St. Louis with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.