DETROIT – The winner of this weekend's Michigan-Michigan State basketball game will earn at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title and be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.
When Tuesday night's hoops slate began, the Wolverines and Spartans sat one loss behind Purdue in the standings, but after the Boilermakers were upset at Minnesota, the Michigan schools are in the driver's seat.
For two teams ranked in the top 10 in the AP, NET and Kenpom rankings, it feels right that a highly anticipated head-to-head matchup will determine who finishes atop the Big Ten standings.
It will be the second meeting between the two teams in the span of two weeks. Michigan State went into Ann Arbor on Feb. 24 and upset Michigan on its own court. The Spartans looked like the much better team and cruised to a 77-70 victory with a dominant final 10 minutes.
MSU was without Joshua Langford and Nick Ward in the first matchup, but there's a chance Ward could return for the rematch. Backup Kyle Ahrens is also dealing with a back injury that could limit him during the game.
Michigan has been without its only senior, Charles Matthews, for the last two games against Nebraska and Maryland. His status for the game is also in doubt.
Big Ten Tournament seeding
Even if Purdue wins its final game at Northwestern, the winner of the Michigan-MSU game will earn the No. 1 seed at the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago.
Michigan would hold the tiebreaker against Purdue because of its head-to-head win. Michigan State would hold the tiebreaker because it would have a better record against Michigan than Purdue does -- the second tiebreaker after head-to-head.
If Purdue loses to Northwestern, the loser of Michigan-MSU will earn the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Otherwise, the loser will settle for the No. 3 seed.
Michigan has won the last two Big Ten tournaments in Washington, D.C., and New York. This year, the tournament will return to Chicago.