Tracking the Brackets: Michigan State Slides to a 3-Seed

Michigan’s clutch win over Michigan State on Sunday shook up both the Big Ten standings — Indiana clinched at least a share of the conference title on that result — and the respective teams’ tournament outlooks.

A mid-season hot streak had the Spartans in the mix for a No. 1 seed come NCAA Tournament time. Their current three-game losing streak, however, has dropped them down a couple of lines, and Thursday’s matchup with Wisconsin stands as another major test.

Michigan, meanwhile, is coming off a confusing week. The Wolverines blew a 15-point lead to lose at Penn State, then turned around and scored a win over No. 9 MSU.

What’s it all mean for the NCAA Tournament?

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi actually bumped up Michigan, from a three-seed to a two in his latest Bracketology. Lunardi has the Wolverines in the West region, with Gonzaga as the No. 1, opening against 15-seed Montana. The 7-10 matchup there is North Carolina-Oklahoma.

Michigan State, meanwhile, slipped to a No. 3 line in Lunardi’s Tuesday update. The Spartans, like Michigan, still open in Auburn Hills, but they would do so against No. 14 Stony Brook; the winner there would face either No. 6 Notre Dame or No. 11 Middle Tennessee. Both Kansas (1-seed) and Duke (2-seed) also occupy that region.

Over at CBSSports.com, Jerry Palm dropped the Spartans down two seeds, from a one last week to a three at the start of this week. He has Tom Izzo’s team in the South region (Georgetown No. 1, Kansas No. 2), with an opener in Auburn Hills again Davidson. Like Lunardi, Palm has Michigan State potentially running into No. 6 Notre Dame in Round 3 — the Irish are pitted against La Salle here.

Palm also sent Michigan to Auburn Hills as a No. 3 seed. He has them in the East (Duke No. 1, Louisville No. 2). Michigan’s first opponent: 14-seed South Dakota State, with either No. 6 Oregon or No. 11 Boise State waiting.

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