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History lesson

Just a follow up on my story today about Michigan State's chances at a top seed in the NCAA tournament. After I filed last night, I spoke with RPI guru Jerry Palm and today I had the occasion to talk to a member of the selection committee. While the committee member didn't shed much light with six weeks left in the regular season, Palm said MSU is a longshot to get a one seed.

"I wouldn't entirely rule it out," he said. "If Michigan State were to win out and they finish the year 29-2, certainly they'd be in the picture for that. But I think it's going to take a pretty remarkable record for that."

Palm said If the bracket were picked today, MSU would be a two seed. The reality is, that might be the best-case scenario for the Spartans.

Kansas and Memphis are lock No. 1s, and in all likelihood one of those will represent the Midwest Regional at Ford Field (the other will no doubt head south to Houston). With the ACC champ out East, the fourth No. 1 appears destined for Phoenix.

Spartan fans hoping for a virtual home-court advantage in Detroit may still get their wish if the Spartans win the Big Ten and earn a two seed. Last year, UCLA stayed home in San Jose as a two and Texas A&M played in San Antonio as a three. In 2006, the Bruins were a two seed in Oakland. UCLA, it should be noted, reached the Final Four each of the last two years (beating No. 1 Kansas last year and No. 1 Memphis in 2006).

Would the committee do Kansas or Memphis a disservice and put a lower-seeded home-state team in its bracket again? We won't know until March 16, but history says it's possible.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

29-2 gets a 1 and that's it? THat seems a little absurd. If we win the Big 10 we should get the 1 at Ford Field. Kansas can go to Phoenix. That can't be much further than Detroit. Palm's an idiot. DOn't get sucked in.

9:32 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

Just did a quick Mapquest and Lawrence, Kan., is about 400 miles closer to Detroit than it is to Phoenix, site of the West Regional. If Memphis wins out, the Tigers will no doubt be the 1 seed in Houston. The ACC champ is staying home in Carolina. Kansas, despite yesterday's loss to Kansas State, is still a 1 and therefore likely headed to Detroit. That's good for local dining establishments, who'll welcome tons of Rock Chalk fans, but not necessarily MSU. The Spartans still could end up in Detroit as I pointed out, but Kansas is the most talented team in the country and my late January bet to win it all.

As for MSU getting a 1, Palm is right that MSU has little room for error. I'm sure I'll address this again over the next six weeks, but for now the Big Ten champ appears to trail North Carolina, Duke and UCLA in the pecking order, and be on par with Georgetown and Tennessee. If MSU wins the conference it should be at least a 2. If Indiana takes the crown, expect the Spartans to travel as a 3.

10:56 AM 

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