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College Basketball Insider

Big Ten: Michigan, Mich. St. play for bragging rights, one school's 1-seed

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So what we'll have in Indianapolis on Sunday, after three days featuring 10 games in this Big Ten tournament, is two in-state rivals playing for a championship on CBS with massive stakes on the line, not to mention bragging rights. And this is the way it should be, probably.

The preseason favorite vs. the regular-season champion.

A team trying to prove it's as good as anybody vs. a team trying to grab a No. 1 seed.

Who will win?

I couldn't begin to guess.

But what's better than spending the afternoon of Selection Sunday watching a Michigan State team that looks as good as anybody when healthy try to prevent its historical rival from joining Florida, Wichita State and Arizona as No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament?

That's a rhetorical question, by the way.

Because I already know that nothing is better.

And, yes, I genuinely believe that the fourth No. 1 seed is Michigan's to grab regardless of what happens in the ACC title game because the Wolverines' body of work, with one more win over Michigan State, would be obviously superior to whatever Virginia or Duke could take to the selection committee. Michigan, with one more win over Michigan State, would have 12 top-50 RPI wins and just one loss outside of the top 100. Meanwhile, Virginia will finish with no more than six top-50 RPI wins regardless of what happens in Greensboro, and Duke will have fewer top-50 RPI wins than Michigan and more losses outside of the top 100 than Michigan even if the Blue Devils beat the Cavs by a million points.

If Michigan loses, then, yeah, we can talk.

But the Wolverines should get a No. 1 seed if they beat Michigan State.

Tipoff is at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Plan accordingly.

Tom Izzo has his Michigan State crew playing as well as it has all season at the right time. (USATSI)
Tom Izzo has his Michigan State crew playing as well as it has all season at the right time. (USATSI)

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