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A week from now, the Big Ten will know whether the members of the NCAA tournament selection committee were like so many amateur landscapers getting ready for spring.

Were the majority of the seven conference teams headed to the tournament underseeded, leaving the decision to make Big Ten tournament champion Michigan State a No. 2 seed and regular season winner Indiana a No. 5 seed as splotchy as the average lawn in mid-March?

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Or did the committee — after weeks of preparation — put together the perfect mix to get it right?

The answer will be found beginning Thursday and Friday, but several coaches who've watched the league closely — including one Hall of Famer who's coached in the league and one who has taken his lumps coaching in it the past two years — were surprised by some of the Big Ten teams' seedings.

Northwestern coach Chris Collins waved the Big Ten's banner Monday in assessing how the league was viewed by the committee, which had one member, Michigan State athletic director and former selection chairman Mark Hollis, in the hotel room in Indianapolis when the seedings were made.

"Quite frankly, I thought most of the Big Ten schools were underseeded for whatever reason," said Collins, whose Wildcats finished ninth in the league with an 8-10 record. "I don't know what the thought process was of the committee. I definitely thought Michigan State was a No. 1 seed the way they're playing."

Collins points to the fact that the Spartans defeated Kansas, the No. 1 overall seed, on a neutral floor early in the season and, after finishing second to the Hoosiers during the regular season, won the league tournament this past weekend.

"To beat Maryland and Purdue the last two games, I thought they were worthy of being a 1 seed," Collins said. "I thought Maryland, Indiana, Purdue, all three of those schools were underseeded as 5's. … The fact that Indiana won the league by two games and gets a 5, I thought that was definite underseeding."

Former Maryland coach and Hall of Famer Gary Williams, who spent three seasons coaching at Ohio State, said the committee didn't seem to take into consideration that three of Michigan State's losses in the league came while Big Ten player of the year Denzel Valentine was rehabbing after midseason knee surgery.

"They came from losing a couple of really close games when Valentine was out with the injury to being talked about — not just by Big Ten people but on a national level by the Jay Bilases of the world — of being one of the top four teams in the country the last three weeks," Williams said Monday. "They did nothing down the stretch to change that opinion of the national experts."

Like many, Williams was astounded to see Oregon picked ahead of Michigan State as a No. 1 seed.

"Where the committee came up with the idea that Oregon should be rated ahead of them, I'll never know," Williams said. "The committee makes the decisions. It's hard but if you have a question about a team, they will use whatever reason that's available to them to make their decision. You can't argue with them."

College basketball television analyst Len Elmore said that Michigan State "lost a few games at home and continued losing when [Valentine] came back, so compare that to the teams on the 1 line who apparently never had the kind of yip if you will."

Elmore said that choosing the Ducks as a No. 1 seed might have been a long-overdue reward for a league, the Pac-12, that rarely gets rewarded by the NCAA selection committee. Elmore added that if teams are equally hot coming into the tournament, "then you've got to keep going backward."

Collins said that having two very weak teams at the bottom, Minnesota and Rutgers, affected the committee's perception of the Big Ten's strength as a league.

"Our league was viewed as not very strong," Collins said. "Everyone talks about the bottom of our league, but we won the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. We won at Virginia Tech, Nebraska took Miami to overtime, Minnesota beat Clemson. Every league has a couple of teams at the bottom that struggle."

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Elmore said the success of the league during this year's NCAA tournament could depend largely on how the games are officiated. The emphasis this season nationally on freedom of movement on the perimeter could hurt teams such as Michigan State and Purdue while benefiting Indiana and Maryland.

"If the officials hold true to freedom of movement principals — and I watched in the Big Ten championship game, they let the defenders play a little bit more physically — I think Big Ten teams will have some difficulty, with the exception of the more finesse teams like Indiana and Maryland," Elmore said.

Some of the Big Ten's first-round games — and some potential second-round matchups – will determine how the selection committee fared in its seeding.

Iowa, considered a potential No. 1 seed at midseason, is a No. 7 seed after a late-season slide and could have a difficult test in No. 10 Temple on Friday in Brooklyn. Indiana could have the most difficult second-round matchup in the entire tournament if it plays No. 4 Kentucky on Saturday in Des Moines.

Though Michigan State was bumped down a line in favor of Oregon, the Spartans seemingly have a potentially easier road than a No. 1 seed such as North Carolina. Carolina is also in the same part of the draw as the uber-talented Wildcats, who seemingly are peaking at the right time.

"It's easy to say the committee messed up now, but it'll all come out in the wash," Elmore said.

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