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January 11, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Joe Lunardi

Joe Lunardi
  (3:03 PM)

Hello, everyone. Welcome to our first in-season Chat. You've got me until about 3:45 p.m. ET, so let's not waste any more time.

Jared (Huntington, IN)

Joe, first off, love reading your stuff. My question is this, You have Purdue as a #1 seed now. Is this a surprise to you from the beginning of the season and do you see them being in the same spot come March? Thanks!

Joe Lunardi
  (3:04 PM)

I love everything about the Boilermakers, Jared. They are a No. 2 seed in the new bracket coming off the loss at Wisconsin, but are no less a Final Four contender in my mind.

Nick (Minneapolis)

Does the win over WV put ND into the discussion for an NCAA bid, or is that loss to Loyola Marymount still dragging them down?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:06 PM)

The Irish are right there for a bid after Saturday. At No. 71 on the S-Curve, they are about one good week away from inclusion in the projected field.

Rob (Springfield, MO)

Joe -- The Valley is off to a very good start with UNI, WSU and Missouri State leading the way. Your thoughts?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:07 PM)

I've seen Northern Iowa three times and the Panthers are legit. I also think Missouri State is better than their conference record (3-2). The early Valley schedule has been skewed a bit against the Bears. Haven't yet seen Wichita State.

Mike G (Lexington KY)

Do you see UK keeping the course and taking the #1 overall #1 seed?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:08 PM)

Kentucky is obviously very talented. However, I don't see UK eclipsing the eventual Big 12 champion for No. 1 overall. The 'Cats could even lose tomorrow night at Florida.

Paul Jacobs (Austin, TX)

Joe, you have 4 MTN West teams projected. Would you consider that a credit to the football programs doing well and more folks are paying attention to the MTNWest?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:10 PM)

No relation to football, Paul (unless excess football revenue is being pumped into basketball). The fourth team in this bracket is Colorado State at 2-0 in the league, which won't hold. The Mountain West will need all four of its top teams, SD State included, to separate over the remainded of the conference season.

Jacoby J (Highland, Ut)

Joe, my BYU cougs are looking good. Is it possible with our strength of schedule to climb to a 2 or a 3 seed by tourny time?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:11 PM)

A No. 3 seed, maybe, for BYU. A No. 2 is stretching the point. And, even though it's not supposed to matter, it's not like the Cougars have made a great impression in recent NCAA appearances.

Chris (NJ)

In your latest brackets you have Syracuse a 1 seed and Nova a 2 seed. But, you have Nova winning the Big East because they are all in caps. If you think Nova will win the Big East, dont you think they should have the one seed right now?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:12 PM)

Villanova is in ALL CAPS because they have the best conference record (or InsideRPI, in the case of a tie).

Mike (Columbus,Oh)

Ummm... How bout the Buckeyes.I know turner went down and we've lost four tough games but beating cal and florida st. and now having turner back will get us in for sure

Joe Lunardi
  (3:13 PM)

Hoping the Buckeyes find their stride again with Evan Turner. Playing at Purdue is a tough way to restart the season.

Kyle (Albuquerque)

What does New Mexico have to do to jump back into that 5-6 seed range?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:13 PM)

Win a league game (or several)....

John (Hamden, CT)

So Joe... Wake moves up a line despite playing one game this week and losing. Was this a crazy week or what?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:14 PM)

It was, John. And your latter statement about the crazy week is what causes the former. And a one-point road loss to a one-loss team ain't exactly bad (in Wake's case).

spider jim (richmond)

how far did the st louis loss drop richmond? will 10 wins and assuming no losses to the likes of fordham do it?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:16 PM)

It wasn't an unexpected loss, but it did drop Richmond out of the bracket for the time being. The good news is that this year's A-10 presents multiple opportunities for NCAA-level scalps. What the Spiders do in those games probably matters more than their conference win total.

Ryan (Glendale, AZ)

In your opinion, does the committee look at the PAC-10 as the weakest power conference in the nation and thus will only get 2-3 teams MAX? And would a 22-9 ASU team, for example, qualify for an atlarge with close loses to Duke/Baylor, and blowout wins against LSU/Washington?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:18 PM)

Time to give the annual speech that "teams, not conferences" are what the Selection Committee evaluates. What ASU (or any Pac-10 contender) needs most is real separation in the standings. Not sure who is playing well enough to do that.

Andrew (WI)

Good luck finding Pac-10 teams to put into the bracket and seeding them. You're gonna need it.

Joe Lunardi
  (3:19 PM)

Agreed, Andrew.

Chris (Philadelphia,PA)

Will Temple's blowout home loss to Kansas come back to haunt them?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:19 PM)

I doubt it. KU should do that to a lot of teams (except Tennessee, apparently!).

Chris (Fullerton, CA)

Did SDSU's loss at Wyoming kill the league's chances of getting four teams (CSU will not be leading the MWC after this week)?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:20 PM)

Way too early for a conclusion like that, Chris. Whose to say there won't be three solid at-large teams and a fourth wins the conference tournament?

Michael (Evansville, IN)

Which non BCS teams can you realistically see wearing the white jerseys (8 seed or better) come the first round of the NCAA tourney?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:22 PM)

Great question. I like BYU, Gonzaga, Temple, St. Mary's and maybe Butler when all is said and done. New Mexico, UNLV and Northern Iowa also have a good shot.

Reese (Charlotte, NC)

Joe, Are you suprised at all that UNC did not drop below 13th in the ESPN poll? I am a huge fan, but thought for sure they would be within the 18-20 ranking. Thanks for your input.

Joe Lunardi
  (3:22 PM)

Methinks some folks are voting the "name on the jersey," as it were.

Steve (Blacksburg, VA)

If the Hokies beat the Canes this week at home will they jump into the tourney picture?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:24 PM)

I've seen the Hokies, Steve, and to be honest, wasn't overly impressed. It's probably going to take more than just that game to lift VaTech into the field.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Would you like to see the Big East Tournament drop back to 12 teams? Seems like the BE tournament winner could already be spent by the time the NCAA Tournament starts.

Joe Lunardi
  (3:25 PM)

I'd like to see the entire conference drop back to 12 teams, to be honest. I'd also like the rest of the week off, but neither is happening any time soon.

Mike (Pittsburgh)

Obviously Pitt's hot start in the Big East has been a big boost to it's Tourney hopes. How much do you see the bad loss to Indiana being a lead weight around their neck?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:25 PM)

Mike, I think it's already been forgotten. And a win Wednesday at UConn would pretty much erase the tape.

Albert (Gainesville)

Joe, can the Gators survive the SEC and make the tournament?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:26 PM)

I like Florida tomorrow night over Kentucky. That's all I'm prepared to say about Florida at this point.

Matt (CT)

Joe can you explain Cuse moving up to the 1 line? According to a video I saw on you wanted to move Duke to the one line because they had the longest winning streak, of the 1 loss teams left Villanova has the longest winning streak.

Joe Lunardi
  (3:27 PM)

Duke has lost since that ESPN News appearance, Matt, and I believe Syracuse would be the Committee's next choice if they had to vote today. Long way to go, right?

Chris (Glen Rock, NJ)

Hey Joe, any shot the CAA can be a 2-bid league? Seems like the teams beat up on each other and bring each other down. In today's bracket, you basically dismissed WM having any shot as an at-large despite having 7 road wins, including wins at Wake and MD and at home vs. Richmond, after WM lost to UNCW.

Joe Lunardi
  (3:28 PM)

Best-case scenario is for W&M or Old Dominion to be an outright regular-season champion, them have someone else win the CAA tournament.

Josh (California)

Do you have to be enrolled at St. Joes or any college for that matter to be eligible and able to take your bracketology course? Can I have some details regarding this information please

Joe Lunardi
  (3:30 PM)

Shameless self-promotion department: The course is online, non-credit and open to the public. It's going to be a lot of fun, I can promise you that. Link here:

Sam (Nashville, TN)

Could the Vols achieve a 2 seed provided they split meetings with Kentucky following the big win on Sunday? (assuming an otherwise solid SEC record) In other words, would one win over Kentucky have any chance of doing it, or would they need two?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:31 PM)

One could absolutely do it, Sam, as the Vols would presumably have beaten two of the four No. 1 seeds under your scenario. How long do you think Tennessee can hold up this way?

Matt (Miami)

How many mvc make the tourney this year in your opinion?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:31 PM)

I'd say two, Matt. Northern Iowa and a wild card.

Billy Berue (Bushwood CC)

Joe, totally hypothetical considering it is mid-January, but would the committee really send Pitt (a 4 seed) to Spokane with Gonzaga as the 5 seed? It seems like similar things happen to Pitt every other year, just one example when they were a 3 seed and had to go to Milwaukee with Wisconsin as a 6 seed.

Joe Lunardi
  (3:32 PM)

Love the handle, Billy, and I had this very thought when bracketing the field this week. All I can tell you is that there is no rule against this potential pairing and location.

Brian (Dayton, OH)

In your Behind the Bracket article, you wrote that if Dayton loses at Xavier this weekend, they will most likely drop out of the bracket. Is a loss @ Xavier really that damaging to a team with no losses out of the Top 25 and a few good wins?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:33 PM)

Assuming this isn't Brian Gregory (ha, ha). Lots of competition in the A-10, Brian, so Dayton needs to keep pace. The Flyers, as you know, were fortunate to escape Duquesne at home this weekend.

Andrew (NY)

Joe, I agree that another 1-loss team such as Kansas, Syracuse, or Purdue has a better resume when it comes to non-conf wins compared to Villanova 100%. I am wondering though, why do you think the Villanova chatter has been rather quiet on a national scene? Thanks.

Joe Lunardi
  (3:34 PM)

I have no idea, Andrew. Nova looks great every time I see them!

Pete (Chicago )

I think that Illinois will move into the barakets with plenty of room to spare by the end of the regular season. Do you agree?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:35 PM)

Agree with half of your statement, Pete. Not sure about the "room to spare" part.

Jonny (kentucky)

why do u have louisville out of the bracket? all their loses are understandable, unlv top 27 team at the time, and playing at home? not a bad loss, charlotte and western carolina 3 injured guards that were all starting guards so why u got them out?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:35 PM)

Check out today's updated bracket. The Cardinals are in the field.

Chris (Clifton Park, NY)

Harvard and Cornell: Both will make the field true or false?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:36 PM)

False (as much as I'd love to see it happen!).

Joe Lunardi
  (3:36 PM)

Getting called earlier than expected to ESPN News. Let's do three more quick ones.

Mike (Rockport)

If Baylor is a top 25 team and they are in the Bracket as an 11 seed. That means there are at least 25 teams that have better resumes than them that are currently not ranked. Doesn't make much sense to me. Could you explain further.

Joe Lunardi
  (3:37 PM)

Only makes sense if you go by the polls, which, thankfully, the Selection Committee does not.

The Bull (New York)

What is your logic in denying the Big Red a tourney slot? Have you not watched the best team in the IVY league? What more does a team need to do? They deserve a 10-12 at large bid and you are choosing Harvard in their place? You should look for another line of work, because clearly you have no clue about college Hoops!

Joe Lunardi
  (3:39 PM)

Steady, Bull, I've seen the Big Red three times in person and several more on the tube. Harvard is listed now because the Crimson "lead" the Ivy League. So then you have to ask yourself: Is Cornell genuinely better than Tulsa, Oklahoma State, Baylor, etc.? I think it's very, very close, which is why I have Cornell on the "first four out" list.

Ryan (West Chester, OH)

What does Cincy need to do in conference play and the Big East tourney to ensure a spot in the field after their solid non-conference performance?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:40 PM)

Here we go, another "bubble" season for Cincinnati and my buddy Mick Cronin. The goal should be a winning record in the Big East. I think that would get it done for UC.

Joe Lunardi
  (3:40 PM)

I'm out, folks. Promise to stay a little longer next Monday. Happy Hoops!