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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 02/ 4/2011

NCAA tournament 2011: What to do with Michigan State

By Eric Prisbell

Wanted to take a close look at where Michigan State stands in relation to other so-called bubble teams. These are not the only bubble teams MSU needs to worry about, but they represent two different type of bubble teams: a mid-major and middling major program. I am giving George Mason the automatic berth in the CAA at the moment, which makes VCU an at-large candidate. All records reflect games only against Division 1 competition.

Michigan State
Record: 12-9
RPI: 42
SOS: 7
Vs. top 50: 3-7
Vs. top 100: 6-8
Best win: Wisconsin (22 in RPI)
Worst loss: Iowa (151)
Road-neutral court: 3-7

Virginia Commonwealth
Record: 18-6
RPI: 63
SOS: 166
Vs. top 50: 2-2
Vs. top 100: 4-3
Best win: at Old Dominion (33)
Worst loss: at Georgia State (224)
Road-neutral court: 7-6

Colorado
Record: 14-8
RPI: 88
SOS: 110
Vs. top 50: 4-2
Vs. top 100: 5-6
Best win: Missouri (31)
Worst loss: at San Francisco (115)
Road-neutral court: 3-7

If you take into account the eye test, which is a component in the selection process, it's hard to give Michigan State the benefit of the doubt. The Spartans have hit rock bottom, Coach Tom Izzo does not appear to have any answers and it remains to be seen whether they have any interest in making a late-season push. Iowa turned its recent blowout over MSU into a layup drill. That said, taking MSU out of the bracket at this point may be a bit reactionary. They still compare favorably to most other bubble teams when you look at the overall body of work. Colorado has one more win against top 50 competition, but the Spartans have a slightly better signature win and have played a much tougher schedule. Same deal when you compare VCU to Michigan State. And VCU's profile is stained with a ghastly loss to Georgia State. With six consecutive upcoming opponents against top 50 competition, the Spartans will quickly play their way into or out of the NCAA tournament. And they might be out of it after their trip to Wisconsin on Sunday. But, as of now, they are still hanging on the edge.

By Eric Prisbell  | February 4, 2011; 9:00 AM ET
 
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Next: Bracketology: Eric Prisbell's NCAA tournament field of 68

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