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ESPN's Joe Lunardi projects Michigan State as 3-seed in NCAA Tournament

The Spartans lead the Big Ten and have set themselves up to make some noise come March

Michigan State is leading the pack in the race for a Big Ten championship, but as January comes to a close we're starting to peak ahead to see where the Spartans might be in March.

On Tuesday, ESPN's Joe Lunardi had Michigan State listed as a 3-seed in the NCAA Bracketology — a forward projection of where teams will be seeded for the NCAA Tournament.

The Spartans are 15-3 overall, 6-1 in the Big Ten and ranked No. 10 in the country. Lunardi projects Michigan State as the automatic qualifier from the Big Ten Conference, with six other league teams making the field of 68 in the NCAA Tournament.

Lunardi has Michigan State as the 3-seed out of the East regional bracket, with the Spartans matched up with 14-seed Princeton — the automatic qualifer out of the Ivy League.

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Other Big Ten teams joining Michigan State in the East region are 7-seed Iowa and 8-seed Indiana.

Purdue is the highest-seeded Big Ten team in Lunardi's projections. The Boilermakers are slotted as the 2-seed in the Midwest region. That bracket also features Ohio State as the 5-seed.

Wisconsin, a 3-seed, is the lone Big Ten representative in the South region, while Illinois, a 5-seed, is the only conference representative in the West region.

Lunardi also projects Michigan on the outside looking in, as one of the "First Four Out" of the field of 68.

There's still over half of the Big Ten schedule left to play, and these projections are going to change a lot between now and March. We'll see how things sort themselves out for Michigan State and the rest of the conference.