When Michigan State won a share of the Big Ten football championship two years ago, Michigan fans were quick to point out that the Spartans split the crown. Due to tiebreakers, Michigan State was sent to the Capitol One Bowl as the conference’s No. 3 team, behind Ohio State and Wisconsin.

But in two weeks, Wolverine fans may be on the other end of the joke from Spartan fans thanks to their school’s basketball team.

Michigan currently sits in second place in the Big Ten, tied with the Buckeyes and a game behind Michigan State.

Following the Wolverines’ win over Northwestern on Tuesday, most analysts have tabbed Michigan’s remaining schedule the easiest of the three frontrunners. The team — which hosts Purdue on Saturday, before road contests at Illinois and Penn State — will likely be favored in each of its final games.

The Spartans and Buckeyes will square off on March 4, meaning one of them won’t win out. Michigan State will also be put to the test on Feb. 28 at Indiana. Ohio State still has tilts with the Badgers and Wildcats before heading to East Lansing.

In the event that the three teams finish tied atop the standings, Michigan will automatically lose the tiebreaker for the conference tournament’s top seed to the Spartans. Because the teams split their two matchups, the next procedure states, “each tied team’s record shall be compared to the team occupying the highest position in the … standings.”

Wisconsin currently sits in fourth place, and since the Spartans swept the Badgers, they’d win the tiebreaker. Even though Michigan beat Wisconsin in the teams’ only matchup, Michigan State’s two wins would edge Michigan in the follow-up tiebreaker.

If fifth-place Indiana finishes the season ahead of the Badgers, Michigan State will still win the tiebreaker. Should the Spartans beat the Hoosiers later this month, they’ll have swept Indiana, which split its series with Michigan. If Michigan State loses in Bloomington, the next tiebreaker looks at the comparison of the two teams against the standings’ next team, Wisconsin, which the Spartans hold the tiebreaker over.

For those reasons, if the Wolverines finish in a two-way tie for first with Michigan State, the Spartans would receive the No. 1 seed.

If a tie were to occur, Michigan’s best shot for the top seed would be to finish tied with just Ohio State. The Buckeyes also split with Indiana, so the deciding tiebreaker would come down to the Ohio State’s matchup with the Badgers this Sunday.

If Ohio State wins, it would be 2-0 against Wisconsin — better than Michigan’s 1-0 record. If the Badgers win, the Wolverines’ perfect record would trump the split, giving Michigan its first No. 1 seed in program history.

Regardless of how things shake out, the Wolverines are on pace to at least match their highest seeding ever, No. 3, which came in 2003. And barring a complete collapse, combined with various other scenarios taking place, Michigan will receive its second-consecutive first-round bye.

BALL IN BURKE’S HAND: In one of the most crucial moments from Michigan’s win on Tuesday in Evanston, the final play of regulation, freshman point guard Trey Burke missed a would-be game winner. It was one of the only times all night when he made a mistake.

That’s because, as he’s done all season, Burke played with poise and control — limiting his turnovers to just two.

The Wildcats and their complex 1-3-1 defense have a propensity for forcing turnovers, especially in recent home games. In its previous two games in Welsh-Ryan Arena, Northwestern has forced, on average, a staggering 18 turnovers.

Though the rare defensive formation doesn’t stifle Michigan like some others teams — the Wolverines also employ the 1-3-1 — a freshman playing 45 minutes in intimidating road conditions would be expected to have more than two turnovers.

But he didn’t, and Michigan turned the ball over just seven times all game.

“A very good Minnesota team came in and had 21 turnovers the other day, and it was really the key to that game,” said Michigan coach John Beilein, referencing the Wildcats win over the Golden Gophers. “You cannot turn the ball over against this team, and they’re good at doing that against some teams, so I liked our poise — and Trey’s obviously got the ball most of the time.

“The seven turnovers is huge — that we only had that many.”

But even the stoic Burke came up rattled on that final possession of regulation.

With Michigan inbounding with only a few seconds left in regulation, Beilein said Burke made the wrong read, forcing him to heave up a long, desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

“We wanted him to turn the corner and make something happen,” Beilein said. “He stopped. He should’ve just continued to go on to the other side, or throw back to Zack when they double-teamed him, and he missed both of them.”

But Burke didn’t dwell on the error for long. The Columbus native re-established himself quickly, draining a three in the opening minute of overtime. The Wolverines never looked back.

NOVAK EMPATHIZES WITH NORTHWESTERN: Even in the thrill of victory, senior guard Zack Novak expressed sympathy for the Wildcats and their star forward John Shurna.

“I was talking to John afterwards and I just told him, ‘We’ve been in this spot before,’ where we had our backs against the wall where they’re at and strung off a couple at the end and got in,” Novak said. “That kid, he deserves to play in the NCAA Tournament.”

Northwestern has never made an NCAA Tournament, and with Shurna — the Wildcats’ all-time leading scorer — due to graduate, this season may be the program’s best opportunity in the coming years.

“Being a senior, playing against him for four years, he does it the right way — really nice kid,” Novak said. “Personally, for them, I hope they can go out and win the next three and get in the tournament. I think they deserve that.”

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