Michigan State Spartans guard Keith Appling (11) sets the play during the second half against the Wisconsin Badgers at Jack Breslin Students Events Center. MSU won 69-55. Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

How close is Michigan State to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament?

The Michigan State Spartans are one of the hottest teams in the nation, posting back-to-back wins against two top 20 teams in Ohio State (on the road) and Wisconsin (a blowout win at home).

So how close are the No. 7 Spartans to becoming a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament?

Really close.

According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, the Spartans (21-5 overall) are currently a No. 2 seed.

But if you look at MSU’s resume, it is one of the best in the nation. The Spartans have an RPI rank of No. 4 and a strength of schedule of No. 3. The Spartans also have eight wins against the RPI’s top 50 and six wins — the most in the nation — against top 25-ranked teams.

Had the team not lost to Northwestern or Illinois — both on the road — there would be no question the Spartans would be on the top line.

But here is the best way to a No. 1 seed: Win the Big Ten title. Whether it’s Ohio State or Michigan State that wins the regular season championship, the winner is almost guaranteed to earn a No. 1 seed. After all, the Big Ten is considered the No. 1 conference in the nation this season.

The runner-up, well, that team will get a No. 2 seed, which isn’t that bad.

In total, the Big Ten should get seven or eight teams in the Big Dance. MSU, OSU, Michigan, Wisconsin are locks, but Purdue, Northwestern, Minnesota and Illinois still have some work to do.

Tags: Big Ten Basketball ESPN Bracketology Michigan State Basketball Ohio State Basketball

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