Michigan State March Madness, B1G Tourney Results Don’t Correlate Well



Looking for clues on whether or not you should pick Michigan State in your bracket pool? Well, you can consider their Big Ten tournament result as a factor in your equation. #1 seeded Michigan State beat #3 seeded Michigan yesterday 65-60 in the tournament title game in Chicago.

It was the Spartans’ fourth #B1GTourney final in the past six years, with Michigan State winning all but one of those conference tournament final games.

Should you bet on State in the NCAA Tournament? Well, there will be a lot of action on the Spartans this March, as they are considered by some to be the fourth best bet to win it all from the field of 68 teams. From Online casinos UK  to your local sports book, March Madness is arguably the best month of the year for sports gaming.

Before you place a bet on MSU though, you must remember that they haven’t advanced beyond the second weekend of the big dance since 2015. The Big Ten tournament result yields predictive data sometimes, but it’s a mixed bag at best.

State is 32-16 all time in the Big Ten tourney, winning titles in 1999, 2000, 2012, 2014 and 2016. MSU went to the Final Four in ’99, ’00, made the Sweet Sixteen in 2012 and the Elite Eight in 2014. In 2016, they crashed out in the very first game, it was then considered among the greatest NCAA Tournament upsets of all time.

So there’s some correlation, but not really.

Let’s take a look at it from the opposite side. In 1998, 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2010, the Spartans were one & done in the Big Ten Tournament. Their corresponding results in the NCAAs in those years looks like this- Sweet Sixteen, Final Four, first round out, Final Four, Final Four.

So that’s actually a noticeable trend there! However, it’s not statistically significant enough to imply anything, and remember “correlation does not mean causation” like the famous rule of social science says.

What does the man himself think? Program patriarch Tom Izzo, who yesterday became the just the sixth coach to win 600 games at a single school, with a 77-70 triumph over Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, was asked about this topic in postgame.

tom izzo

Izzo doesn’t see commonality in the two tournaments’ results.

“No, that’s the nice thing about me,” Izzo responded.

“I’m kind of universal. I’ve been here to the Big Dance as a 1 seed and got beat the first game. And I’ve been to the Big Dance as a 7 seed and gone to a Final Four. So I’m kind of flexible.”

“We’ve won this thing and — as a No. 1 seed. We’ve lost the opening game. I think it’s always harder on the highest seeds. But it’s good. The tournament is good because it gives you a chance to talk about one-and-done. The uniqueness of our jobs, different than the NBA, a lot like the NFL, but the other three sports, it’s always best of whatever.”

michigan state vs michigan

From 1999-2015, Tom Izzo earned the nickname “Mr. March” as he led the Spartans to seven Final Fours overt that span, but things have certainly changed lately. They haven’t survived the first weekend the past three years, despite being a #2 seed in 2016 and a #3 seed last year.

Will that change next weekend? Well, this weekend’s result in the Big Ten Tournament doesn’t tell us much.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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