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3-point shot: Spartans have inside track

2/14/2012

1. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said on ESPNU’s "The Experts" on Tuesday that Ohio State is still probably the best team in the Big Ten. Izzo was playing politics and clearly had no reason to boast. But check the results: Michigan State already has road wins at Ohio State and Wisconsin. Yes, the Buckeyes also won at UW this season. But unless OSU can go into East Lansing on March 4 and win, the Spartans are the team to beat.

2. ESPN.com Bracketologist Joe Lunardi made a strong argument about the other two No. 1 seeds outside of Kentucky and Syracuse. The other two will likely be the champions of the Big 12 and Big Ten. Missouri and Kansas will play one more time, possibly twice if they meet in the Big 12 title game. The winner of that game may just get the third or fourth No. 1 seed. Michigan State and Ohio State play one more time, as well, and could easily face each other in the Big Ten title game. The winner of that game will likely get the third or fourth No. 1 seed as well. The top six could easily shape up to be Kentucky, Syracuse, Kansas, Ohio State, Michigan State and Missouri. The other two top-eight schools could be North Carolina and Duke. All eight have the makeup to get to New Orleans.

3. Kentucky is technically closer to St. Louis than to Atlanta, but the latter is an SEC city and the selection committee will likely lean toward placing the Big 12 winner in the Midwest (I’m banking on Syracuse in the East in Boston and the Big Ten winner in Phoenix in the West). If Kentucky continues on its roll, the Wildcats are set up for quite a March run through SEC country with Big Blue Nation ready to pack New Orleans Arena (SEC tournament), Louisville (second and third round), Atlanta (Sweet 16 and Elite Eight) and back to New Orleans for the Final Four in the Superdome.