Chat with Joe Lunardi
Lunardi is the resident bracketologist for ESPN. In fact, he invented Bracketology and has been projecting the NCAA Tournament field for ESPN.com since its inception. Check out his lastest bracket.
Send your questions now and join Lunardi in The Show on Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
Joe Lunardi (3:03 PM)
Hi, all. I'm getting settled and will be starting the Chat in a minute or two. Changing locations and computers and just need to re-connect.
Joe Lunardi (3:07 PM)
OK, I'm back. Thanks for waiting.
Owen (Milwaukee, WI)
Joe is there supposed to be an updated bracket today? If so do you have a time in which you are going to put it up? Thanks for what you do, it is great!
Joe Lunardi (3:08 PM)
It's coming, Owen, I promise. Some data glitches at my end (not ESPN). You'll probably see it sometime during this Chat, and I'll tease its contents in my answers.
Hey Joe! Northern Iowa has really taken over the MVC. Are they playing their way onto the bubble for an at large bid should they not win the MVC tournament?
Joe Lunardi (3:09 PM)
I don't think so, Jason. UNI has a huge lead in the conference, but virtually nothing out of conference. And the NonConf SOS number is particularly dreadful. I wouldn't be optimistic for an at-large.
Michael (Evansville, IN)
Joe. I've got a question about the RPI and its use by the comittee (specifically how a team fared against the RPI TOP 50/100 and a team's strenght of schedule). You've talked recently of your fondness of adjusted scoring margin. And, I know that there are also other numbers out there besides RPI (like Jeff Sagarin's #s or Ken Pomeroy's #s). My question is: does the selection committee look only at how a team fared against the RPI Top 50/100 and the team's SOS BASED ON THE RPI???? Can the committee decide that those numbers aren't reflective of how the teams should be selected/seeded and throw them out (deciding instead to go with ASM or to look at how the team did and what their SOS was based only on Sagarin or Pomeroy's numbers). Concrete example would be Siena or Butler who the RPI really like but who Ken Pomeroy's numbers most assuredly do not like.
Joe Lunardi (3:14 PM)
Great question, Michael. On the surface, the answer is "yes" (the pure numbers reviewed by the Committee, vs. 1-25 or 1-50, are RPI based). However, members can and do disregard this data based on their individual evaluations of the teams involved. In general, the final seedings often involve a "splitting of the differences" in the various ratings methods.
What would you say is the best seed Memphis could end up with if they win out? Or if they lose to Gonzaga and win out? Thanks.
Joe Lunardi (3:16 PM)
If Memphis wins out, including Gonzaga, I could see the Tigers as a No. 2. Without that win, a No. 4 is more likely. This is a really big game for both teams and their eventual seeding.
Kevin St Petersburg Fl
Joe I thought I had sent this but perhaps didn't. I have a question in regards to the top lines of the bracket and trying to sort those teams out. I look at Oklahoma's strength of schedule of 15 and 15-1 against rpi top 100 and have lots of trouble putting them behind my beloved UConn Huskies at 39 and 11-1. What makes UConn #1 on your s-curve? I have a similar problem distinguishing between Pitt and NC - I guess if I had to make the choice I'd make them a 1 and a 2 in the same region and let them sort it out but I really can't tell who's who based upon the available data. Thanks for the great work.
Joe Lunardi (3:19 PM)
With UConn and Oklahoma, to me, it's the quality of each team's loss. Arkansas is hurting the Sooners just a little more than Georgetown is hurting Connecticut. And no more worries about Carolina and Pitt. Both are on the top line of today's bracket.
Is WVU on the bubble?
Joe Lunardi (3:20 PM)
Any team with a losing conference record has to be a little nervous. But this year, in this Big East, a broader context is required. I still like WVU's chances and see them eventually in an 8/9 game.
With Illinois struggling on the road, and a heavy dose of road gomes still coming, are they in danger of playing their way out of the dance entirely?
Joe Lunardi (3:21 PM)
Anything is possible, Brad. It's only been two years, for instance, since a 17-0 Clemson team faded its way to the NIT. Bottom line for Illinois (and others like them): Best the teams you should and all will be well.
Does our little brother, University of Cincinnati, have a prayer?
Joe Lunardi (3:23 PM)
That's mean, John, but I like your spunk. Let's see in Cincy can win again against Georgetown and take a look then. If that were to happen this weekend, I'm pretty sure the Bearcats would be in MOnday's bracket.
mike. rhode island
A-10 seems to be getting 2 bids any chance you see Rhode Island sneaking in if they win out and win a game or 2 in the A-14 conference?
Joe Lunardi (3:24 PM)
Not gonna' happen, Mike. Rhode Island maybe could have been in the at-large mix had they won last month's game against Xavier. No one other than the two top teams have much of an at-large profile from the A-10.
How many teams do you see the Big East getting come March and where will Nova be seeded?
Joe Lunardi (3:26 PM)
Villanova will most likely be in the 6-7 seed range (they are a No. 5 today). The schedule gets a little tougher and there is obviously plenty of serious competition in the Big East. Overall, the Big East is losing ground in its bid for a record 9 or 10 teams. The league is sitting at 8 right now and the total is slipping, not growing.
Were you suprised at how badly Duke got beat by Clemson this past week?
Joe Lunardi (3:26 PM)
chase rambo, gildford, montana
joe, with the big east and acc top dogs beating on each other, do u think xavier could grab a one seed?
Joe Lunardi (3:27 PM)
Nope. Even with the "beating up" effect, someone is winning the games and staying atop those two conferences.
Why does the Big East continue to get so much credit, isn't possible that a lot of those teams are just average beating on one another, personally i think top to bottom the ACC is much stronger, what are your thoughts?
Joe Lunardi (3:28 PM)
I have written about this recently and continue to believe the ACC is better this season (by a hair) and historically (by a bushel). But I wouldn't call the bulk of the Big East average, at least not this season.
corey chapel hill north carolina
who do you think will win the national championship?
Joe Lunardi (3:29 PM)
Depends on who asks the questions, Corey. In your case, North Carolina of course!
Joe Lunardi (3:30 PM)
Got to switch computers again, sorry. Give me another minute or two.
Joe Lunardi (3:34 PM)
Would you say you are terrible at seeding teams? Or just bad?
Joe Lunardi (3:35 PM)
I'll take my chances on Selection Sunday. Send me yours and we'll compare!
Steve Boston, MA
Do you think BC is in the tourney? And, do you think their inconsistent play is due to their youth?
Joe Lunardi (3:36 PM)
Repeat after me, Steve: No more bad losses! That would probably get the Eagles into the dance this year.
Is Syracuse back on track after a win vs. West Virginia?
Joe Lunardi (3:36 PM)
Only if your ignore their schedule for the rest of the month.
Trent (Monticello, IN)
Will the committee take into consideration Robbie Hummel's injury when seeding the Boilermakers? With Mr. Hummel on the floor Purdue has only lost to Oklahoma and Duke. Thoughts?
Joe Lunardi (3:38 PM)
Most likely yes, Trent. The Purdue situation is fairly clear-cut in that it has significant results both with and without Hummel to evaluate. We (and the Committee) probably won't be that lucky when it comes time to evalutate St. Mary's if/when Patty Mills comes back.
Jon (Lexington, KY)
How bad in re the big picture does Kentucky need to beat Florida on Tuesday night?
Joe Lunardi (3:39 PM)
NIT bad, if that answers your question.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Mr. Lunardi: Do you know if the selection committee prepicks teams before conference tournaments begin then adjusts them based upon results of those tournaments or do they simply make their picks when all is said and done?
Joe Lunardi (3:41 PM)
It's a very fluid process (and has to be), as it is taking place simultaneously with most conference tournaments. There is no "pre-picking" other than to nominate teams to and from the at-large consideration pool. The field changes several times between the start of the Committee process and its conclusion, with Sunday resulting in several either/or scenarios depending on the final days outcomes.
Tate, New York, NY
What kind of statement do you think was made by the two 27 point losses by Wake and Duke this weekend? Do you think they are overrated?
Joe Lunardi (3:42 PM)
I subscribe to the two four-letter word theory: "road" and "game".
Justin (NY, NY)
With last night's win over Penn State, is Michigan no longer on the outside looking in?
Joe Lunardi (3:43 PM)
Just out (but still hopeful!).
Is your bracket a projection of what will come next month...or what the picture would look like if the tourney were tomorrow?
Joe Lunardi (3:44 PM)
Leans strongly toward the latter, Mike, not that I'm ever short on opinions for what will happen down the line!
What are the chances my AU Eagles are above a 16 seed?
Joe Lunardi (3:45 PM)
Decent, Zach. Remember, there are going to be non-favorites winning a few of the one-bid leagues. These winners tend to slot under other favorite and create a "rising" effect at the very bottom of the bracket.
Has MSU lost its shot at a #1, even #2 seed with the losses at home to PSU and Northwestern?
Joe Lunardi (3:46 PM)
I don't see a No. 1 seed happening, Shawn, but Michigan State is very much in line (including today's bracket) for a No. 2 seed.
Howard (New Britain CT)
Is this the year the NEC finally wins an NCAA Tournament game?
Joe Lunardi (3:47 PM)
Let's wait and see which team gets in and who they play, no?
Buzzmaster (3:54 PM)
Hey all...I just spoke with Joe and he's having some computer problems. I think his laptop is smoking right now. So, we're going to end the chat now. Thanks for stopping by!