NCAA Tournament seeds: UM No. 7, MSU No. 9
- Author: Julie Sanders Mar 13, 2017,
Mar 13, 2017, 6:23
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The victor of the OSU-Michigan game will face the victor of No. 2 seed Louisville and No. 15 seed Jacksonville State. They also lost three of their last four, including an ACC tournament quarterfinal thumping at the hands of North Carolina.
Their paths crossed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 2006. The Cowboys went through a tough stretch to start Big 12 play by starting 0-6 against conference opponents. U-M has reached the 20-win mark for the 27th time in program history and the seventh time during Beilein's tenure.
The exception is Wisconsin, the No. 8 seed and Big Ten tournament runner-up, which opens as a five-point favorite over Virginia Tech. An unlikely story as Michigan's plane slid off the runway and set them way behind in getting to Washington DC for the Big 10 Tournament. Beilein is 17-10 in NCAA Tournament games, taking MI to the National Championship game in 2013 and the Elite Eight in 2014. The Spartans deserved to be in the field of 68 teams.
If it does that, MSU has the potential of becoming one of the biggest stories of the tournament if for no other reason than it's the 321st youngest of 351 Division I teams and size-wise, it ranks 291st. He also guided Le Moyne College to the NCAA Division II Tournament in 1988.
A No.7 seed is certainly nothing to scoff at, especially for a team with 11 losses, however, after adding three neutral-court wins over NCAA tournament teams, the Wolverines deserved to be higher. Of their 16 conference wins, 11 were by seven points or less, including home-game escapes against a couple of middle-of-the-road teams.
OSU finished the regular season 20-12 and 9-9 in Big 12 play. That all led to an intense tournament run that included a regional weekend at The Palace of Auburn Hills before the Final Four in Indianapolis when they were seniors.