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Michigan, MSU climbing in bracket projections

The Detroit News

Michigan and Michigan State appear to have escaped the bubble.

The Wolverines and Spartans secured victories this weekend against Top 25 opponents, building their resume for bids in the NCAA Tournament. The in-state rivals have climbed, seemingly from the bubble to single-digit seeds, at least according to the latest round of bracket projections.

Michigan (19-10) has won five of its last six, including Saturday’s 82-70 victory over then-No. 14 Purdue. Michigan State (18-11), meanwhile, has won four of five, including Sunday’s 84-74 victory over then-No. 16 Wisconsin.

Joe Lunardi, ESPN’s bracketologist-in-chief, has Michigan as a No. 8 seed in the South, facing Virginia Commonwealth in a rematch of a 2013 second-round game en route to an eventual title-game appearance. Meanwhile, Lunardi has MSU slotted as a No. 9 seed in the Midwest, facing Wichita State in a rematch of the Battle 4 Atlantis third-place game, won by the Spartans, 77-72, in Novemeber in the Bahamas.

Similarly, Jerry Palm of CBS Sports has Michigan and Michigan State as No. 9 seeds — Michigan facing Miami (Fla.) in the Midwest, and Michigan State taking on Virginia Tech in the East.

The Spartans and Wolverines are No. 8 seeds, according to USA Today, with Michigan State set to face VCU in the East, and Michigan taking on Xavier in the South.

Michigan and Michigan State still have two regular-season games, plus the Big Ten tournament, to strengthen — or weaken — their cases before Selection Sunday on March 12.

Michigan is at Northwestern, vying for its first NCAA Tournament bid, on Wednesday, while Michigan State is at Illinois on Wednesday.