Chat with Joe Lunardi
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN college basketball Bracketology expert Joe Lunardi will drop by to take your questions on this year's tournament projection.
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 Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Joe Lunardi (3:59 PM)
What a weekend of college hoops! Let's get right to the weekly "chatter."
chris (new haven)
Joe, What are the chances Uconn pulls out a #1 seed?
Joe Lunardi (4:02 PM)
The latest Tourney Odds program put UConn's odds for the top line at 20 percent. That seems a little high to me, but it's certainly possible if Kemba Walker continues to make every shot at crunch time!
Any chance Washington can move up to a 3 seed come March?
Joe Lunardi (4:03 PM)
I think UW is good enough, but it may be the Pac-10 which ultimately weighs them down. For whatever reason, the seeding of Pac-10 and sometimes Mountain West teams is puzzling to me.
Bret Price (San Diego, CA)
If San Diego State pulls out a win against #9 BYU in Provo on Wednesday, does that give them enough to be a #1 seed in the Bracket and move into the top 3 in the nation?
Joe Lunardi (4:05 PM)
This is going to be the question of the week, Bret, if not the season. My quick answer is that, "yes," SDSU would be looking at the top line with a win on Wednesday. And, if one of the current No. 1 seeds (excepting Ohio State) loses this week, then I'll have the Aztecs there for sure.
Does xavier get in if they don't win the a10
Joe Lunardi (4:06 PM)
It's beginning to look better and better for the Musketeers, Mike. While currently "in" as the A-10 automatic qualifier, Xavier is also ahead of several current at-large teams. Their mantra is a simple one the rest of the way: No "bad" losses.
Josh S. (Philly)
What do you think are the best and worst case scenarios for number of teams the big east will get in the tourney this year?
Joe Lunardi (4:08 PM)
Josh, I suppose the best-case scenario is 12 teams (if the currently projected 11 are so solid that all survive an upset winner of the Big East tournament). Conversely, I think it extremely unlikely the Big East drops below eight or nine bids at this point. In fact, last week I set the over/under of Big East teams at nine-and-a-half (and bet the "over").
On your most recent bracket, I noticed that Texas is a 2 seed in the San Antonio region. What are the rules or policies regarding 2 seeds and preferred locations as far as the S-curve is concerned?
Joe Lunardi (4:11 PM)
The Committee places every team into the field one-at-a-time. So in this example, when Texas comes up as No. 6 overall, they are given the closest available first-weekend site in the closest available region (without violating any of the many bracketing principles). What fell into their laps this week was Tulsa/San Antonio, which is obviously a pretty favorable geographic draw. Going forward, Tulsa remains likely while San Antonio will be a bit more of a crap shot as a potential regional assignment.
If Richmond continues their solid play and manages to get two big wins this week against Dayton and Xavier, are they a safe bet for the tourney, assuming no more bad losses?
Joe Lunardi (4:12 PM)
Not sure I'd say "safe," Casey, but it's a big week for the Spiders regardless. Richmond's profile is good, not great, which is why they currently sit on the "First Four Out" list.
Is a team like Northwestern done after getting blown out at home yesterday - at least for an at-large?
Joe Lunardi (4:13 PM)
Pretty much, Jimmy, and it wasn't looking too good even before Sunday's loss to Wisconsin.
As a Zags fan I am perplexed to see us still in the bracket and also St. Mary's? Can you help explain?
Joe Lunardi (4:15 PM)
Well, Mark, there has to be at least one WCC team in the field (and Saint Mary's is the current conference leader). As an at-large candidate, the Zags are still very strong with wins over N-Marquette, N-Baylor, Xavier and Oklahoma State. Compare that list to the large majority of other "bubble" teams and you'll it wasn't a very hard call on Gonzaga this week.
Uconn has arguably the best OOC wins out of any team in the country right now. If they can consistently win throughout the big east, why should duke (who hasnt played nearly as competitive a schedule as Uconn) earn a #1 seed over them?
Joe Lunardi (4:19 PM)
The Committee has trended much more toward "qualitative" (rather than "quantitative") judgments in recent years. While I strongly disagree with this philosophy, it's my job to recognize and report it. That being said, I have a hard time believing the Committee won't eventually vote Duke as one of the four best teams in the country -- and thus a No. 1 seed -- regardless of the points you make. And I happen to agree if the criteria is "who you think is better" as opposed to my preferred "who has done the most."
How can Florida st and West v be seeded ahead of cincy, i assume you will have to swap them when Cincy beats West v Saturday....I mean both teams have terrible losses...
Joe Lunardi (4:20 PM)
There's really no comparison between Cincinnati's best wins and those of Florida State and West Virginia. If and when that changes, we'll move Cincy up.
Nolan (Norfolk, VA)
Why do people have UNC ranked as the 5th best team in the ACC. They are improving every game and starting Marshall seems to give them that offensive spark they need. Can they win a game in March?
Joe Lunardi (4:21 PM)
I'm not one of those "people," Nolan. I have the Tar Heels as the second team in from the ACC, just ahead of Florida State on the S-Curve.
Joe, how high does FSU have to climb to be placed in Tampa? Does the number of ACC teams that get in affect where they go?
Joe Lunardi (4:22 PM)
A No. 3 seed would almost guarantee Tampa, Greg. A No. 4 leaves the possibility, just not as strong.
Owen (San Francisco)
Based on your Texas answer, don't you think that it's more desirable to be #9 on the S-curve (first 3 seed), as opposed to #8 (last 2 seed), since the first team on a seed line gets first placement of geographic sites?
Joe Lunardi (4:23 PM)
I always think it's better to draw the best possible seed as, at least on paper, you then face the weakest possible competition. I'd rather travel and win than stay home and lose.
Is Duquesne really "win the A-10" good or are they a fluke?
Joe Lunardi (4:24 PM)
Neither. The Dukes are vastly improved and hardly a fluke. Have they evolved enough to outlast the league powers in a 16-game race? I don't think so (yet).
Dusty (St. Louis)
Who do you think is going to win the Big 12?
Joe Lunardi (4:25 PM)
Could Ohio State's non-conference schedule hurt them in any way? I see double digit wins (2 away from home) against 3-4 tournament teams as a good thing. I don't understand why people bash their OOC schedule so much.
Joe Lunardi (4:26 PM)
I'm not one of the bashers, Brad. The non-league wins at Florida, Florida State and South Carolina (home) are good enough for me. I'm more than sold on the Buckeyes and have been since before the season began.
Mr. Lunardi!!!! What is the "seed ceiling' for Kentucky and in your opinion, where do you think they end up at the end of the season?
Joe Lunardi (4:27 PM)
The days of UK chasing a No. 1 seed are probably past. However, a sweep of the rest of the SEC season leaves a No. 2 seed in play (although improbable).
Is everyone finally over thinking Purdue isn't a legit team? They lost two games against two tourney teams on the road and a neutral court against a good Richmond team
Joe Lunardi (4:28 PM)
Don't put me in that group, Rick. Most of the chatter I receive on the Boilers suggests I have them too highly regarded.
with the unprecented number of bigeast teams in the field what ncaa principles determine where teams can be placed ie 3 teams in 1 bracket or 2 brackets?
Joe Lunardi (4:30 PM)
When the Committee cannot reconcile the "conference teams cannot meet before a regional final" principle, it can have two teams from a conference meet as early as the third round (formerly the second round). I think they'd prefer to hold off such repeat match ups until the Sweet 16, but it may not be possible given the bloated numbers we're looking at for the Big East this year.
Will all the close losses for Penn State actually mean anything to the selection committee? Let's say they win the games they are supposed to against the lower half of the Big Ten, would they still need a home win vs. an Ohio State or Wisconsin to make it in?
Joe Lunardi (4:31 PM)
Connor, I think what the Nittany Lions need more is a big road win. They've already beaten enough first-division Big Ten teams at home.
Every year there's a different measuring stick - road wins or RPI or SOS or even sometimes how you've played in your last 10 gamesWhats the main measuring stick this year for bubble teams? Theres always one that stands before all others
Joe Lunardi (4:32 PM)
That's always the million-dollar question, Rashard, and we never know the answer in advance. If we did, I'd never miss a team on Selection Sunday!
How about a BC Eagle shoutout? Where do the eagles have to finish in ACC to confirm a spot?
Joe Lunardi (4:32 PM)
Top three or four should get it done, Sean. What a great job thus far by new coach Steve Donahue.
Humor me with this completely hypothetical question, say Ohio st and Duke win the rest of their games, but Duke get kyrie back in time for the Acc tournament, at 100%. Who's your overall #1 seed then?
Joe Lunardi (4:34 PM)
Ohio State, because the Buckeyes would be undefeated.
kevin b (denver)
I see you have UNLV in the fireld. But CSU beat them in Vegas and sits at 3rd in the conference. Why not in?
Joe Lunardi (4:35 PM)
"Body of work," Kevin. You don't really think Colorado State is better overall than UNLV or other currently included at-large teams?
nick (south bend)
Any chance Notre Dame finally wins that first road game tonight?
Joe Lunardi (4:36 PM)
It's hard to win road games when you don't play many. It'll happen for the Irish, but not tonight.
Joe Lunardi (4:36 PM)
Sorry, gang, but I need to cut out a little early today. Just got asked to run to a TV taping. Same time, next week! Thanks, Joe.