The Michigan Wolverines had a shot to clinch a share of the Big Ten regular-season title and possibly reenter the conversation for an NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed on Sunday. Instead, a heartbreaking loss to the Indiana Hoosiers dropped Michigan to fifth in the Big Ten.
That outcome did not, however, strike too much of a blow against the Wolverines’ March Madness standing, based on some of the latest Bracketology projections.
Here’s a look at where the Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans stand as the Big Ten Tournament approaches:
• Patrick Stevens, USA Today: (3) Michigan vs. (14) BIG SKY/Montana; (2) Michigan State vs. (15) IVY/Harvard
Both the Wolverines and Spartans remain slated for Auburn Hills here, as they do just about everywhere else. Michigan State is in better shape from a seeding perspective, though the Spartans’ bracket would force them to run through either North Carolina or Notre Dame in Round 3, then potentially through Florida and Louisville to get to the Final Four.
The Wolverines, meanwhile, would open with Montana and then have to deal with either VCU or the Kentucky/Villanova play-in winner in Round 3. New Mexico is the No. 2 seed here, with Duke the No. 1.
• Jerry Palm, CBSSports.com: (3) Michigan vs. (15) Vermont; (2) Michigan State vs. (15) Florida International
Befitting Monday’s theme, in which Michigan held at No. 8 in the Coaches’ Poll and moved up to No. 6 in the AP Poll, Palm kept the Wolverines planted on the 2-line in his latest bracket. The 7-10 matchup there is Notre Dame-Temple, with No. 3 Arizona and No. 1 Gonzaga also in Michigan’s region.
Michigan State is ahead of the Wolverines in Palm’s overall seeding — Michigan is in the West, with a potential regional semifinal/final in Los Angeles; Michigan State in the East, with a trip to Washington D.C. prior to the Final Four. After Florida International, the Spartans would face either San Diego State or Cal. Florida stands as the 3-seed in Palm’s East region, with Duke at No. 1.
• Joe Lunardi, ESPN.com: (3) Michigan vs. (14) Montana; (3) Michigan State vs. (14) Harvard
The news is slightly more disappointing for the in-state crowd here, as Lunardi slots both the Wolverines and Spartans in as 3-seeds right now. His “S-curve” has Michigan as the No. 11 overall team in the field, and Michigan State at No. 9 — so both have the opportunity to move up, and at least Michigan could still drop.
The Wolverines are in Lunardi’s West bracket, with Miami (Fla.) as the No. 2 and Gonzaga again the No. 1. Michigan would have to get through Montana and either VCU or Villanova to reach the tournament’s second weekend.
Michigan State is in the South in Lunardi’s projection, alongside No. 2 Kansas and No. 1 Louisville. The Spartans’ Round 3 opponent, should they get by Harvard, would be either UCLA or the winner of a Kentucky-La Salle play-in.
• Andy Glockner, Sports Illustrated: (2) Michigan vs. (15) Vermont; (3) Michigan State vs. (14) Davidson
Another bracket where Michigan held on the No. 2 line and Michigan State stayed at No. 3. Glockner’s explanation for keeping Michigan up: New Mexico was his highest 3-seed and Michigan the lowest 2-seed, but by swapping those, New Mexico would be punished and have to join the East region.
Instead, Michigan’s in the East and New Mexico the West. That leaves the Wolverines in the two spot, with an opener against Vermont, then a matchup with the UNLV-Wichita State winner. Marquette is Glockner’s 3-seed out East, with Duke again the 1.
Michigan State is in the South here, with No. 6 Colorado State or No. 11 Iowa State up in the third round. No. 2 Georgetown and No. 1 Kansas also potentially block the Spartans’ path to the Final Four.