Since we just did a ESPN Bracketology extensive breakdown for Friday's bracket and with all seeds remaining the same for the Big Ten teams in the new bracket that came out Monday, which you can check out here, I decided to look at the only thing that is different from Friday's bracket to Monday's bracket, at least as far as the Big Ten is concerned. Michigan State, last projected a 10 seed, and Penn State, last projected a 12 seed, have been thrown out of the field, leaving the Big Ten with only five teams. Michigan State and Penn State are now on the outside looking it, yes they are on the bubble, but it is going to take some work from both of them if they want to be NCAA Tournament bound instead of an NIT consideration. There is a huge game coming up between the two on Thursday; last time Penn State upset then-18th ranked Michigan State in the Bryce Jordan Center. It's been downhill from there for the Spartans. They're both desperate for the win, so who wants it more?
(PSU and MSU analysis after the jump)
Big Ten Teams on the bubble:
Last Four In:
First Four Out: Michigan State- The Spartans find themselves in the First Four Out. The road doesn't get any easier for Michigan State from here on out. Michigan State's remaining schedule looks like this: PSU, OSU, Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, Iowa and Michigan (home games are in bold). If Michigan State wants to make the NCAA Tournament, they are going to have to snag some top 25 wins, if they can do so now that Illinois and Minnesota aren't ranked. They are also going to need to turn their team around, and turn it around fast. They probably will need to have a winning record in their remaining games, which means a serious turnaround. In a way, the Big Ten is rooting for you to improve enough to get into the NCAA Tournament. The Big Ten wants another team in the tournament. We definitely want at least six. The good news is, MSU is sitting in the First Four Out right now, which means they are a step away from being back in the tournament, but it won't be easy at all. It's no longer up to Tom Izzo. I don't doubt that he has done everything in his power to bring this team back to life, and instead he keeps getting a product that is getting worse and worse. This is up to the players now, do what you know you are capable of. Use everything inside of you, pull together, and win a game.. score more than 60 points... something.
Next Four Out: Penn State- Penn State's loss to Michigan at home last week, was exactly what the Nittany Lions were trying to avoid. Penn State was making a strong case before this loss and saw themselves in the bracket for the first time this year, with the release of the Friday bracket. They have some work to do, to even be considered once again. Their remaining schedule is: MSU, Northwestern, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Ohio State and Minnesota (home games in bold). As you can see, they are going to have a shot at knocking off some pretty noteworthy opponents coming up. We have seen them do it at home, and stay competitive with top 25 teams on the road, but can they get some ranked road wins. They will have opportunities to do so against Wisconsin and possibly Minnesota if they are ranked again by they time Northwestern plays them on the road. They must defend the home court from here on out. When Ohio State rolls into town, they must be ready, because it is a win that could possibly make or break their hopes, depending on what they have done up to that game. Penn State isn't like Michigan State, they weren't expected to be even a thought this year for the NCAA Tournament. They have a chance to prove people wrong, and if I were them right now, thats all the motivation I would need.