Michigan State’s shot at grabbing a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament seemingly disappeared after the Spartans lost to Michigan 75-64 on Saturday in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
The Spartans are in good shape for a high seed in the Big Dance, but they don’t control their destiny anymore.
On ESPN’s bracketology, Joe Lunardi had Michigan State as a No. 2 seed in the Detroit region before the Big Ten Tournament semis on Saturday.
The big thing here: Xavier, Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Duke and North Carolina still have games to play. They could suffer big losses, but they also have chances to get quality wins and move up. Michigan State is finished with Big Ten Tournament play, so it’s unlikely those teams all lose enough that the selection committee elevates the Spartans.
Michigan State’s lack of a quality nonconference schedule is what comes back to hurt the Spartans. They played high-profile games against Duke (a loss), against North Carolina (a win) and Notre Dame (a win). That’s basically it.
KenPom ranks their out-of-conference schedule as 311st in the nation. Not great. This six-game stretch is likely going to factor into the selection committee’s decision.
That was somewhat in Michigan State’s control. The team’s Big Ten schedule wasn’t, but that will count against the Spartans all the same. They lost to Ohio State and Michigan, so their only big-time win in the conference was against Purdue. The Big Ten was bad this year, so Michigan State’s wins over Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, Northwestern, Rutgers and Wisconsin don’t do much for their strength of schedule.
The NCAA will release the official tournament bracket on Selection Sunday, which is March 11.