MSU, U-M projected to travel to Auburn Hills for NCAA tourney
Although they’re arch rivals on the court, the Spartans and Wolverines might start their march toward a national championship together, not far from their respective hometowns.
The latest projected NCAA Tournament bracket released by ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi today has the No. 13 MSU men’s basketball team (17-4 overall, 6-2 Big Ten) and No. 1 Michigan (18-1, 6-1) both traveling to nearby Auburn Hills, Mich., to begin their quest for an NCAA title.
Lunardi projects the Spartans as a No. 3 seed in the South region, facing off against No. 14 seed Harvard, led by former U-M head coach Tommy Amaker.
The move to a No. 3 seed is an improvement from Lunardi’s projection of a week ago, when he pegged the Spartans as a No. 4 seed.
Meanwhile U-M remains a No. 1 seed in the Midwest region, scheduled to play the winner of a first round game between Charleston Southern and Norfolk State for the No. 16 seed.
Although both teams are predicted to open tournament play at the Palace of Auburn Hills, home to the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, U-M and MSU would not square off against each other until the Final Four, if both were to make it that far, due to both teams being in separate regions of the bracket.
Three of MSU’s four losses have come against teams in the top-15 of the Ratings Percentage Index, or RPI, a rating system used by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee to help determine the quality of each college basketball team. The fourth loss, a 66-62 defeat in the season opener, came against Connecticut, which currently is 27th in the RPI.
MSU returns to action when they host Illinois (15-6, 2-5) on Thursday (7:00 p.m., ESPN). It is the Spartans’ only game of the week.