Tough to say if Big Ten Tournament timing had a positive or negative effect on the Wolverines' seeding. On the one hand, the world got to watch us smother the Cornhuskers, Spartans, and Boilermakers because no one else was playing. On the other hand, the world watched everybody else in the days and hours leading up to the selection (shit) show while Michigan sat at home.
Sure, by basically every metric, Michigan is better than Michigan State (and this is easily expanded to all metrics beyond basketball and sports of course), and going in to the tournament, Sparty is going to have to make the Final Four to salvage what may be classified as the worst 4-loss season in college basketball history. But I'm not going to quibble over a few spaces with a team full of (undeveloped and whiny) talent like Michigan State has. Yes, they got Detroit. Yes, they seem to have a little easier path through the first weekend. They also started the season at #2 and lost only 4 games. Michigan started unranked and lost 7. Tough to argue. And despite the complete lack of team chemistry (or defense), watching the occasional brilliance of Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson makes all the difference. This committee is the same group of experts that let Trae Young dance and he's only won two games since Feb 1. This is about money. The same money that put the Wolverines in the Outback Bowl and sent Sparty to the Screw-You-Nobody-Wants-to-Watch-You Bowl which I believe aired on tape delay on Christmas Day. Besides, after the first weekend, assuming we both make it through and seeds hold, Sparty will have a date with blue bloods, while Michigan will pick through a pile of mid-majors with a dream.
The Wolverines went from unranked to 3-seed. From bordering on the bubble a week into February to back to back Big Ten Champions. Almost a great season already. But there's still work to be done, and coming up short of getting out of the first weekend will make things feel a little incomplete.
Moving on. Montana is on deck, and if all goes reasonably well a matchup with the winner of Houston and San Diego State will follow. Typical caveats of double digit upstart opponent danger apply. Fill in your own difficult matchup conversation here, either with Montana, then Houston or San Diego State. Every 2,3, and 4-seed is hearing the same story, and their fanbases are having the same anxiety. Somebody's worry is going to be warranted. Things can go wrong. We've got plenty of things that can - ice cold from 3, foul trouble, free throw shooting. But there are a lot more ways for things to go right, and I believe we will be talking about Los Angeles at this time next week. And I also believe in the Bisons.