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For the better part of 35 years, at least one of Michigan's two Big Ten teams have made the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
Illinois and Indiana, which each have two B1G programs, enjoyed long stretches of success from the Purdue Boilermakers, Illinois Fighting Illini and Indiana Hoosiers in the past three decades (sorry, Northwestern Wildcats) but can't quite match the consistency of the Great Lake State.
The state's streak is assured to continue Sunday when teams around the country learn their postseason fates during the NCAA's selection show. Michigan State basketball is likely to extend its lengthy streak of NCAA appearances thanks to a late-season surge.
ANXIOUSLY WAITING: Examining MSU NCAA tournament prospects: In? Out? A play-in game?
But even if the Spartans somehow miss out — due to their deep struggles at times during the season — Michigan basketball is a shoo-in for a spot, and probably a 1 seed, after winning the Big Ten regular-season championship.
U-M nor MSU made the tournament in 1996-97, a year before Tom Izzo's streak with the Spartans began. Before that, you have to go back to 1984 to find an NCAA tournament free of Michigan's two largest universities.
Enough history, let's look at what experts are currently saying about the Spartans' and Wolverines' resumes ahead of tonight's show at 6 p.m. on CBS:
Michigan: 1 seed in Region 4, facing winner of Norfolk State/Appalachian State (gulp),
Michigan State: 11 seed in Region 3, facing Southern California; one of the last four byes.
The buzz: Under Lunardi's projection, Sparty narrowly avoids playing on the tournament's first day. Fellow Big Ten team Maryland, which beat MSU in the Big Ten tournament Thursday before falling to Michigan on Friday, holds that status. Lunardi does not have a Big Ten team on his first four out or next four out so it seems Maryland and MSU needed every last one of those wins to make Lunardi's field.
U-M is predicted as the top seed of Region 4, one of four Big Ten teams to hold a 1 or 2 seed, which would be the most top-two seeds any conference has sent to the NCAAs.
Michigan: 1 seed in East Region, facing Oral Roberts.
Michigan State: 10 seed in Midwest Region, facing Oregon.
The buzz: Palm led his latest update with a statement that may annoy Wolverines fans: Illinois moved past Michigan as the third-overall seed in the NCAA field Saturday night after U-M lost to Ohio State and Illinois beat Iowa. While that distinction may lead to a tougher draw for the Wolverines, Michigan is still a 1 seed, and that's what really matters, right? Palm also has the Big Ten getting a record four teams with a 1 or 2 seed.
Michigan: 1 seed in East Region, facing winner of Norfolk State/Mount St. Mary's.
Michigan State: 11 seed in South Region, facing Oregon.
The buzz: In Lazarus' and Palm's predictions, Appalachian State (if it wins) is Gonzaga's problem. Lazarus, like Palm and Lunardi, has four top-two seed and nine Big Ten teams in his field, the latter of which would be a record for the conference. The Spartans are the lowest of those programs because they have a "terrible NET but have some elite wins," Lazarus writes.
Can't argue there. But hey, any "elite wins" didn't seem very likely for MSU six weeks ago.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan basketball, Michigan State status ahead of Selection Sunday