Ohio State lost again last night, this time at Michigan, 56-51. The Buckeyes have lost 2 of 3 and the defeat in Ann Arbor very likely cost them a shot at a No. 1 seed. Ohio State still has to travel to Michigan State in the regular season finale (Sparty won the first meeting), and if Jared Sullinger wants a No. 1 seed, the Buckeyes not only have to win that game, but also the Big Ten tournament.
Here’s how the jockeying for the No. 1/No. 2 seeds looks right now:
1. Michigan State
2. North Carolina
2. Ohio State
That being said, I don’t think Michigan St. will wind up with a No. 1 seed. The Spartans will probably lose at Indiana, and for reasons that aren’t quite clear, they never seem to do well in the Big Ten tournament (haven’t reached the Final since 2000). At 21-5, Tom Izzo’s probably done one of his best coaching jobs ever considering what they lost (starting backcourt, forward Delvin Roe), and the fact that they opened 0-2 with neutral court losses to UNC and Duke.
My guess is that UNC will win its last four games (three on the road, including Duke) and then the ACC title and sneak in and grab the 4th No. 1 seed. If Kansas can beat Missouri twice – at home and in the Big 12 tourney, then I can see Kansas as the No. 3 seed.
I think Marquette is pretty solidly locked in as a No. 3 seed, but if one of these eight teams completely tanks in the next three weeks, perhaps the Golden Eagles could sneak onto the No. 2 line.