|Derrick Nix battles with Jordan Morgan for a tough board|
The final meeting between long time hated rivals Michigan (23-5; 10-5 Big Ten) and Michigan State (22-6; 11-4 Big Ten) has a lot riding on it. Potential seeding in the Big Ten tournament is key, as the top 4 seeds receive a bye.
A win for the Spartans, currently the number 2 seed, would lock them in as a for sure bye in the Big Ten tournament, also with another two Indiana losses would put them as the number one seed in the tournament. A loss meanwhile puts them in the middle of the pack with 5 conference losses and also in danger of not getting a first round conference bye.
For the Wolverines, currently the number 5 seed, a win would put them in a good spot to possibly overtake Ohio State as the number 4 seed if they were to lose one of their final two games (at Indiana on 3/5; vs Illinois on 3/10). A loss would be devastating for Michigan, as that would put them at 10-6 in conference, making them the number 5 or 6 seed in the tournament.
With the Big Ten being arguably the toughest conference in all of college basketball, it's hard to say if seeding will even matter in the tournament, as many of the teams in the Big Ten have beaten up on each other during regular season play. Home court advantage plays a key factor, as the best road record in the Big Ten belongs to Indiana, at 6-2. For Michigan State, they are 6-4 on the road and need to play better and more efficient to win their last road contest. The Wolverines, are a tout 16-0 at home this season, with their road record being 4-5, have a tremendous advantage in being at home against the Spartans. If Michigan plays like they did on the road against Michigan State on February 12th, the game is all but over. The Spartans, now if they play like they did against Ohio State on February 5th, it will be a long game at the rowdy Crisler Arena. To come out on top, both teams will have to put forth their best game of the year and whoever comes out of this heavyweight fight will be in pretty good shape come the Big Ten and NCAA tournament.