Michigan and Michigan State's men's basketball teams will be anxiously awaiting their NCAA tournament fates today when the Selection Committee announces the field of 68 teams at 6 p.m. tonight on CBS.
Ohio State and Penn State will play today in the Big Ten championship game, the winner receiving the conference's automatic bid. Penn State might have secured a spot in the field after beating MSU yesterday, but a win certainly wouldn't hurt. Ohio State is virtually a lock for a No. 1 seed regardless of whether they win today or not.
Most think Michigan secured its spot in the field after beating Illinois in the quarterfinals on Friday. Michigan State likely did the same after blowing out Purdue, but nothing is a given at this time of year. Let's look at both squad's tournament resume, a phrase you'll be hearing a lot of today.
Overall record: 20-13, 9-9 Big Ten (4th)
RPI rank: 51
Key wins (RPI in parentheses): Michigan State (47, twice), Harvard (35), Illinois (45), Penn State (40, twice), Clemson (56), Oakland (49)
Bad losses: Indiana, Northwestern
Vs. RPI Top 50: 7-9
Vs. RPI top 100: 10-12
Strength of schedule: 16
Outlook: Throw out the six-game losing streak in the middle of the schedule and Michigan had a terrific season considering they weren't expected to go anywhere this season. They always say that the committee looks at your overall body of work, but Michigan's strong finish is hard to overlook. They're in.
Michigan State Spartans
Overall record: 19-14, 9-9 Big ten (7th)
RPI rank: 47
Key wins: Purdue (12), Washington (33), Oakland (49), Wisconsin (16), Penn State (40), Illinois (45)
Bad losses: Iowa
Vs. RPI Top 50: 6-11
Vs. RPI Top 100: 10-13
Strength of schedule: 11
Bracketology—Lunardi : 11 seed in Southeast Region--Palm: 11 seed in East Region
Outlook: It looked sketchy for awhile for MSU, especially after a terrible late-season loss to Iowa, but the Spartans likely secured their spot after putting a whoopin' on Purdue in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. Other than the loss to the Hawkeyes, Michigan State didn't have any bad losses on their schedule, something that will work to their advantage. Tom Izzo's squad survives and makes it again.
RPI rankings via CBS Sports