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Big Ten Tournament Bracket 2011: Michigan State Meets Purdue In Quarterfinals

After beating Iowa on Friday, the general consensus is that the Michigan State basketball team is in the NCAA tournament regardless of what happens tonight against Purdue. This is probably the correct line of thinking, but just to be sure its tournament streak will continue, MSU could use a win against the Boilermakers.

Even if Michigan State is in fact in no matter the outcome of tonight's game, what happens could be important for seeding in the Big Dance. Making the NCAA tournament at all would be better than going to the NIT, but an upset against Purdue could vault MSU out of the First Four. There are no guarantees, but beating the second seed seems like it would bump the Spartans up the bubble enough to avoid being one of the last four teams in. Not having to play in Dayton on Tuesday or Wednesday next week would certainly be an added bonus.

If the Spartans do end up beating Purdue, it would be a first for this season. At Purdue back in January, the Boilermakers won, 86-76. Last month in East Lansing, Purdue rolled MSU by 20 points (67-47). Purdue has been the better team by far in their first two meetings, so MSU will have to get it together to pull off the upset tonight.

If Michigan State does win, it would advance to the semifinals to play either Wisconsin or Penn State. The Badgers and Nittany Lions will play 25 minutes after MSU's game comes to a close for the other spot in the second semifinal game. Here is another look at the 2011 Big Ten tournament bracket:

No. 1 Ohio State (beat Northwestern, 67-61 in OT, in quarterfinals) vs. No. 4 Michigan (beat Illinois, 60-55, in quarterfinals)

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No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 7 Michigan State (beat Iowa, 66-61, in first round)

No. 3 Wisconsin vs. No. 6 Penn State (beat Indiana, 61-55, in first round)

For more on the 2011 Big Ten tournament, check out SB Nation Detroit's StoryStream.