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 (4:00 PM)
OK, gang, it's a full "Bracket Monday" (complete with Chat). Fire away...
Lee Hargis (Murray, KY)
If Murray State was to win out (including Bracket Buster), what is the best possible seeding you see them getting? If they ONLY lose OVC Championship, what is the best seeding? Thanks
Joe Lunardi (4:02 PM)
Got to read my "Behind the Bracket" story today, Lee. Got into this extensively with multiple comparisons dating back 17 years. To cut to the chase: No better than a No. 5 seed, it seems.
Murray State vs Creighton on Brackbusters weekend, would be a great game!
Joe Lunardi (4:04 PM)
Would only work if one is designated "home" and the other "away." Will try to check on that as we go, as you're right, Mike, that would be fantastic!
Ben W (Lancaster, PA)
Do you think that this year is a stronger or weaker year for "bubble" teams?
Joe Lunardi (4:05 PM)
Weak, weak, weak...Ben. I mean, Florida State is today's "Last Team In."
i know you've said the bracket isn't your opinion but how the committee would see it. so what would differentiate teams like louisville(4) and illinois(8)? equal number of losses and similar "good" losses. similar wins against mediocre teams. is it the preseason rank, or the eye test that would cause them to be so far apart in seeding?
Joe Lunardi (4:07 PM)
The teams are not especially close in any quantitative system except current RPI. And, as we've said many times, early RPI rankings are like April batting averages. If I accept Illinois at No. 16, then I also have to accept, say, Southern Miss at No. 12.
Joe, How can Xavier be on the bubble? Yes they have lost five games. Games to the likes of Hawaii, Oral Roberts, and Lasalle. However, the Oral Roberts game they didn't have half of their scoring. The Hawaii game they still were missing a player that averages ten points. Ten points can make or break a game. If Dez Wells was there, they don't lose that game. You don't think the Selection Committee will take into consideration that three of their fives loses, they weren't at full strength? They get their swagger back, this is a dark horse for the final four.
Joe Lunardi (4:09 PM)
Great question, Matt, but the fact of the matter is Xavier does not (yet) have its swagger back. Not even close. The Committee, by rule and practice, can only evaluate and disregard the short-lineup performances if and when the Musketeers return to the pre-brawl level. As an A-10 fan, I hope it happens. As a neutral evaluator, I've not come close to seeing it.
mark (nowhere wyoming)
joe if wyoming somehow beat newmexico on saturday would they get closer to miaking your early brackets or would they have to win a few conference games in a row to get consideration? also why is no one talking about denver as a bubble team they have wins against southern miss and stmarys does that bad loss against ar little rock hurt them that bad?
Joe Lunardi (4:11 PM)
The Cowboys need a lot more than that, Mark, with a No. 322 strength of schedule. They also lost to the only Top 50 teams on their schedule.
Hey Joe, I really like Baylor this year but what is it going to take to get a 1 seed?? Besides the obvious point of the other 1 seeds losing. They are still undefeated!
Joe Lunardi (4:12 PM)
Am following Baylor very closely, Ryan. They are a stronger-than-you-think No. 5 overall at this moment. A win at K-State tomorrow night could be enough to move up.
Chris (Missoula, MT)
Joe have you changed the way you judge teams at all this season based on the surprise selections of a few teams last season? (VCU, UAB)
Joe Lunardi (4:14 PM)
It's going to be a crap shoot at the end of the line as always, Chris. And there's simply no logical re-evaluation that would account for UAB. It was a bad choice then and now. Could have made an argument for VCU, but the overall approach has to remain consistent. If the Committee goes off the board, there's not much anyone can do to predict it.
Eagle Fan (Hattiesburg, ms)
How is Southern Miss steady falling? Last week they were a 11th Seed and now they are a 13th Seed?? ESPN scream about RPI and SOS, yet the following are a few teams that we are better in both categories yet we are still not getting any respect: Iona, Creighton, San Diego State, St. Mary?s, New Mexico, Temple, and St. Louis. Southern Miss has wins over Ole Miss, USF, Colorado State, New Mexico State twice, and Arizona State on the road. Yet, teams with less of a resume are still above us. Please explain.
Joe Lunardi (4:16 PM)
The number of currently bracketed teams Southern Miss has beaten is exactly ZERO, Eagle Fan. It's two best wins for at-large purposes are the sweep of New Mexico State, which was the very last team under consideration for today's bracket.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Worst College Basketball team so far this season in Division 1?
Joe Lunardi (4:17 PM)
The worst I've seen is Towson (27 points vs. Drexel). If someone is worse than that, I hope not to be watching.
Is Big 10 basketball really this good? 7 teams in and 3 seeded 2 or higher? Will the seedings drop if they keep beating up each other during the rest of the conference schedule?
Joe Lunardi (4:19 PM)
No, Bob, I think the seedings will hold or improve slightly (as was the case with the Big East a year ago). I think we'll see Minnesota and maybe Northwestern drop from serious consideration and the top seven separate into NCAA locks (with excellent seeds).
Murray St + Creighton are both home :(
Joe Lunardi (4:20 PM)
Thanks, Nathan, was afraid of that.
Tom (Dayton, OH)
Joey Brackets-I've seen a couple of the mock selection shows and they seem to place great emphasis on records vs the top 50 and top 100 RPI. What criteria do you think are most important?
Joe Lunardi (4:21 PM)
I'm very big on Top 50 records as it closely coincides (more later than now) with a team's record vs. the projected NCAA field. This early, you need a little more educated guessing of what the Top 50 will be. That's why projected RPI is more important than actual RPI at this point.
Kevin (The Hall, NJ)
What do you make of Seton Hall? They look very impressive right now. Thanks
Joe Lunardi (4:22 PM)
They don't just look impressive, Kevin, the Pirates ARE impressive. I saw them three times in Charleston and have them No. 23 overall this week. The seniors could take them a long way.
What is the ceiling (Seed wise) for Creighton, and where is Doug Mcdermott on your player of the year list?
Joe Lunardi (4:24 PM)
I'd say Creighton has a decent shot at a No. 5 seed and a long shot to make No. 4. Love, love, love Doug McDermott (and that was before the 44-point video outburst!).
Dusty (St. Louis)
Is that a Virginia Tech sighting on the Bubble? Never
Joe Lunardi (4:24 PM)
"Last Four IN," baby, gotta' love it!
I am genuinely curious about this: top programs get higher rankings during the season for getting wins during what may be considered an easy non-conference schedule, but the bubble teams that choose to play a tougher schedule to help make the case that they should get a tourney invite, don't make the cut because invariably, they lose those tougher non-conf games. If they played easier games and won, they wouldn't make it in either on the SOS debate, right?
Joe Lunardi (4:25 PM)
Correct, Lisa, let's write a book and call it "Catch 68." Where's Kurt Vonnegut when you need him?
Nice work getting the Flyers in the bracket this week. Archie has done a great job so far.
Joe Lunardi (4:26 PM)
I did nothing, Andrew, it's the Flyers who beat Saint Louis and Temple without Josh Benson. Kudos to them!
Ben (Circleville, OH)
I am surprised you didn't put Cincinnati vs. Xavier in your first round play-in matchup. Wouldn't everyone watch that rematch?
Joe Lunardi (4:27 PM)
Yes, Ben, we'd all watch. The Committee, however, cannot create a regular-season rematch that early in the tournament.
Joe - You wrote earlier that this is a weak year for bubble teams. Could that translate into more multi-bid mid major conferences? Or are we pretty much guaranteed to see 12-13 at large bids from the Big East and Big Ten?
Joe Lunardi (4:29 PM)
Too soon to answer your first question definitively, JC. But the answer to your second question is almost certainly "yes."
Any chance the WAC will have more bids than the Pac-12
Joe Lunardi (4:29 PM)
Is Iowa State getting closer to making the tourney?
Joe Lunardi (4:31 PM)
The Cyclones have entered the "conversation" based on their 2-0 Big 12 start. However, we now know how badly overrated Texas A&M was coming into the season and the jury is still out on Texas. Because of that, I cannot say Iowa State is close at this point.
what does denver have to do to get a at large bid would winning out do it that would give them wins over middle t southern miss and stmarys all tournament teams?
Joe Lunardi (4:32 PM)
Win every game but the Sun Belt championship, Mike, and then we'll talk. It's a real long shot, otherwise.
Has State played their way onto the bubble yet? 10 wins in the ACC should put them in right?
Joe Lunardi (4:32 PM)
"First Four Out" right now, Rick. Can't be much more of a bubble team than that.
That would be Joseph Heller, not Vonnegut.
Joe Lunardi (4:33 PM)
You got me, Rick. What was I thinking of??
Michael (Evansville, IN)
Joe,How can you reconcile the differences in Pomeroy vs. RPI. For instance, a team already talked about today (Southern Miss) is loved by RPI (12) and hated by Pomeroy (70). It seems that you're evaluation is closer to Pomeroy. However, for some teams it works the other way. For instance Pomeroy absolutely loves St. Louis...the Bilikens are 12 and if you seeded them accordingly they'd be a 3 seed. Yet Rpi hates the Billikens...they're 55. I always thought Pomeroy was a beeter evaluation, but then if you go by that then Witchita is a 5 seed, Belmont a 9 and Long Beach St. a 10, so maybe Pomeroy isn't so great????
Joe Lunardi (4:38 PM)
I'll have to write more about this someday, Michael. RPI-hating has never been greater and KenPom-loving has never been so strong. For me, both have considerable value. KenPom is more about "how" a team plays whereas RPI is more about "who" a team plays. Since the Committee continues to value both to varying (and inconsistently maddening) degrees, we have to consider everything. I will say that KenPom becomes relevant much earlier in the season than RPI, but the trick is being able to spot the outliers in either (or any) system. Wisconsin is no more No. 2 (Pomeroy) than Southern Miss is No. 12 (RPI). I reconcile the differences case-by-case, with a little of my own "secret souce" for good measure!
joey how long will my buffs stay in the bracket would splitting this weeks road games at cal and stanford keep them in?
Joe Lunardi (4:39 PM)
CJ, once they drop out of first place in the Pac-12 (assuming a conference loss), Colorado's AQ spot goes with it. This is not an at-large team.
Pac 10 versus the Ivy? Who gets more bids?
Joe Lunardi (4:40 PM)
Why is no one talking about Towson? This team is going to run the table and probably make a decent 6 seed. and a Final Four Contender. You don't agree?
Joe Lunardi (4:40 PM)
Maybe in lacrosse.
is there any chance uk doesn't get sent to st. louis if they get a 1 seed?
Joe Lunardi (4:42 PM)
Yes, Chase. If UK is not No. 1 or No. 2 overall, another one-seed convenient to St. Louis could conceivably slip in there (say, Baylor or a Big Ten team).
who is the best team in the state of california?
Joe Lunardi (4:44 PM)
I'd say Saint Mary's by a slim margin over SD State, Cal and maybe Stanford. Am I missing anybody?
What a head-scratcher! As a follow-up, how does anyone break the cycle?
Joe Lunardi (4:46 PM)
Oh, I have lots of ideas. We can start by further increasing bonuses for road games and requiring major conference teams to be tourney eligible by posting winning (or at least .500) records in their leagues. This would open at least a couple extra spots per year for deserving mids.
Joe, what are your thoughts of Iona as an at large candidate?
Joe Lunardi (4:47 PM)
Slightly favorable, but not overwhelming. Mainly because any additional losses at this point would almost certainly be "bad" losses.
c'mon joe - give me some love for la salle? we're 12-4 and if we play .500 ball rest of the way -- we're at 20-plus wins heading into a-10 tourney
Joe Lunardi (4:48 PM)
Andy, the Explores made the "Also Considered" list today for the first time in the Bracketology history! Congrats to Dr.G. and the long-suffering La Salle fans.
Joe Lunardi (4:48 PM)
Running out of time, folks, so we'll do three quickies before heading out...
I don't know why is there a lot of people crying about cuse's being #1 in the country they are # 1 oso and rpi
Joe Lunardi (4:49 PM)
The Orange are No. 1 overall by an unusually WIDE margin, truth be told.
Do the number one seeds pretty much have their position locked up before the conference tournaments?
Joe Lunardi (4:49 PM)
More so every year it seems, Lee.
A chat can't go without a UK response! Give me your current take on the Cats with Jones seeming to hit stride again.
Joe Lunardi (4:49 PM)
Still my pick to win it all, Brandon, how's that?!?
Joe Lunardi (4:51 PM)
That's all, folks. Enjoy the BCS final (note the refusal to call it "national championship" game). Every year I hope against hope that it's the last!
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