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January 15, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Joe Lunardi

Joe Lunardi
  (2:05 PM)

A few minutes late, sorry. Let's get right to it...

Joshua (Bailey,nc)

Hey Joe, What do you think in your mind does NC State have to do to be a number 1 seed come NCAA tournament time? Win the Conference regular season and tournament titles?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:07 PM)

That would certainly put the Wolfpack in the conversation for a No. 1 seed. Not sure the non-conference profile is strong enough, but it would be hard ignore a "double" ACC champion.

Ben (Circleville, OH)

In this week's bracket, you have all 4 first round winners leaving Dayton and playing elsewhere for the second round. What does the committee think about how it will place teams now that Dayton is in play for 2nd and 3rd round games? Will they try to keep some teams in Dayton, or will they try to move them out of Dayton?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:08 PM)

My guess is they'll try very hard to keep some teams in Dayton. And I tried hard in the current bracket to do the same thing, but they were too many conflicts created when doing so.

Pj (Midlothian)

Love your work though as a VCU fan of 35 years I am glad you are starting to give VCU the seedings consideration that has escaped for years. As you know the big conference teams refuse to give schools like VCU home and home series or in many cases even semi neutral site games. The unusual style the Ram's play makes it difficult to prepare for and for the athletes is exciting and fun I think you still underestimate the rams in your brackets

Joe Lunardi
  (2:10 PM)

I've been one of the few consistently voting for VCU in our Top 25, so glad the Rams also cracked the national polls this week. To me, the current VCU is far more dangerous than the Final Four team two years ago. It's all about match ups and adjustments in March, and it's clear the Rams present lots of trouble for teams in that setting (especially the second game of a tourney weekend).

Vic (Denver, CO)

Joe, there's talk of the Mountain West possibly getting 6 teams in! That would be incredible. Do you think that's realistic? After the big 3 (SDSU. UNM, UNLV), who do you see to be the strongest team of the other 3 (Colo St., Boise, Wyoming)? Thanks!

Joe Lunardi
  (2:12 PM)

Vic, I believe the number of Mountain West bids will decline by one or two over the next nine weeks. After the top three teams, Boise is next in line right now because of its road wins at Creighton and Wyoming. Let's just say I'll be up late a lot more than usual this season tracking all the MWC fun!

CJ Price (Utah)

Does Utah State get an at-large bid, with say, a 29-3 record and a loss in the WAC tournament?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:13 PM)

Great question, but I doubt Utah State would like the answer. It would be a very hollow profile (and, thus, one the Committee could easily ignore).

Kevin (Chicago)

How far do you think Creighton can go? Will they be prepared for the tournament after going through a fairly weak MVC schedule?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:15 PM)

You are underrating the MVC, Kevin. There are several road stops, not the least of which is Saturday at Wichita State, to properly test and prepare the Blue Jays. And that's not counting quality non-conference wins against Wisconsin, Arizona State, St. Joe's, Akron and at Cal. This is a really good, Sweet 16-level team.

Drisc (Podunk, WA)

Realistically, does Gonzaga have to win out to be considered for a 1 seed? And would that even be enough?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:16 PM)

With their non-conference profile, that would be more than enough for the Zags. Can't wait for the "Battle of the Bulldogs" this Saturday at Butler.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:17 PM)

Current S-Curve rankings for MWC: New Mexico (No. 18), San Diego State (No. 19), UNLV (No. 27), Boise State (No. 36), Wyoming (No. 37) and Colorado State (No. 44).

Adam (Albuquerque)

Based on your seedings, it seems like you think New Mexico is the best team in the Mountain West currently. Agree? Where do you think they end up?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:18 PM)

Oops, got that last answer and question in the wrong order...

Justin Turner (Arkansas)

Good stuff, love your work. Just a quick question about Michigan. Why not a 1 seed?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:18 PM)

No. 5 on the current S-Curve.

Spicoli (Ridgemont, CA)

Does Stephen F. Austin have a reasonable case for an at-large bid (if needed), or will their RPI and similar metrics be dragged down too far by league play?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:19 PM)

Reasonably, yes. Likely, no.

Parker (Logan UT)

I was just wondering how you can justify putting Louisiana tech ahead of Utah state when in conference records are the same and overall Utah state leads 14-1 vs 14-3. Utah states lone loss was to saint Mary's (13-4) while Louisiana tech lost to McNeese State (7-8). I know i'm biased but the numbers speak for themselves.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:20 PM)

Just a refresher that current league leaders are always listed as auto-bid recipients. In case of a tie like this (both teams are 5-0), the RPI or projected RPI leader is selection. For now, at least, it's Louisiana Tech in the WAC.

HP (St Louis, MO)

Where would you rank 2012-13 B1G as one of the greatest conference season ever? Between Indiana, Michigan, tOSU, Minny, Michigan St, and to some extent Illinois, you have half the conference with Final Four dreams. Another two teams in Wisconsin and Iowa, who can hang in tough with most any other teams in the country; while, Northwestern and Purdue are capable of pulling an upset on their home court. There is not a single bad team in the conference right now. I cannot think of any single season with such a loaded conference in last 20 years.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:24 PM)

Lots of questions within this question. For one, Penn State is really bad and both Nebraska/Northwestern are mediocre. For another, two years ago the Big East got a record 11 NCAA bids, so that was a pretty decent conference season. A couple years before that, the Big East got three No. 1 seeds in the tournament. And, of course, the 1985 Final Four featured three Big East teams. Now I've never been a Big East guy, but those three seasons alone are going to be tough to beat.

Keith Davis (Jackson, MS)

How many SEC wins do you think my Rebels need this year to end our NCAA drought? I'm thinking 14-4.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:25 PM)

One or two less could work for Ole Miss is the wins are the "right" ones.

Larry (DC)

Hey Joe, first, thanks for those impromptu twitter chats. When making your brackets, and deciding which team to place in a region (i.e. same seeds, who goes where)...do you look to put potential storylines together? It seems the west has potential IU vs. Marquette (Crean Connection), Illinois vs. KState (Weber), IU vs. New Mexico (Alford). I wont list all the others from other regions.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:28 PM)

Thanks for noticing, Larry (the "chats," that is). I do not (and never have) looked for story lines, and neither does the Committee. This is one of the greatest myths of the bracketing process. The reality is twofold: (1) there are too many restrictions in the process to "fix" match ups successfully; (2) with 67 games over three weeks, story lines occur without trying. It's one of the things that makes the tourney great!

Kirk (Jackson, MS)

Hi Joe, you mention the ESPN Power Ranking 25 and your vote. When do that Power ranking are you essentially showing your Bracketology S-Curve or is it your personal ranking?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:29 PM)

Always the former (too confusing to readers to do otherwise). Great question, Kirk.

Andrew (WI)

Is the 2006 MVC a good doppleganger for the 2013 Mountain West? 2006 MVC had 6 RPI Top 50 teams and cannibalized down to 4 bids in March.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:29 PM)

The top of this Mountain West is better than the top of that MVC.

Joe (Lawrence)

Right now is Kansas a Number 1 Seed? If not do you believe they will be when it is all said and done and Selection Sunday?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:30 PM)

Yes and yes, Joe. I'm amazed at how KU seemingly reloads every year into a legitimate Final Four threat.

Cole (Kansas)

Joe, why do you have k-state so low in the seedings. I know they are ranked but how do you have them as a 7 seed?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:32 PM)

To me, the more relevant question is why the polls rank K-State so high. Nothing about their profile or performance screams Top 15-20 to me. And more than half of the wins are sub-200, great Florida victory notwithstanding.

Lew (PHX)

What's your best game this weekend? Syr/Lville, Gonz/Butler, Creighton/Wich st or ASU/UA?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:33 PM)

Would be the ones at Butler and Wichita State, because of the great "college gym" atmosphere.

Clayton (Houston, TX)

What about my Texas A&M Aggies? They had a rough non conference season, but after the 2-0 SEC start with wins over Kentucky and Arkansas, I'm hopeful we can be a tournament team!

Joe Lunardi
  (2:34 PM)

Moving up each week, Clayton, but not quite there. Now your job is to root for the teams they've beaten.

Kyle (Athens, Ohio)

Is there any chance of Ohio U. making the field without winning the MAC?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:34 PM)

Nope, and it's not close.

Jake W (Vilonia, AR)

Why is Miami only a 6 seed? With 4 wins vs the RPI top 50 and 1 SOS and 5th RPI.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:36 PM)

Three words: Florida Gulf Coast. More specifically, I think Miami is just right on our board. The early RPI/SOS are a little skewed and won't hold, but the polls are too far in the other direction. So I've essentially split the difference.

Dan (West Chester)

Joe - Love your work. On Selection Sunday, which league will get more teams in? ACC, SEC, Pac 12 or A10?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:37 PM)

ACC.

Kevin (Chicago)

Joe- You talk about all the restrictions that go into filling out the bracket. Once the teams are determined what are the restrictions on who can play where/who? Thanks!

Joe Lunardi
  (2:38 PM)

Go here: http://www.ncaa.com/content/di-principles-and-procedures-selection/

John (Miami)

Whats the difference between RPI and BPI

Joe Lunardi
  (2:41 PM)

The first is a long-time NCAA statistical measure that essentially places a team's winning percentage into the context of the quality of its opposition. The second is a new rankings methodology developed at ESPN which adds margin of victory, player absences and other factors into its formula. RPI is more about "who" you play; BPI is more about "how" you play.

david (oxford ms)

can ole miss get as high as a 5 seed if they win 14 conference games?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:41 PM)

With their non-conference schedule being so weak, probably not.

Andy (Cedar Falls)

Hey Joe, love your work! Amazing how accurate you are every year. Just a quick question about the MVC. Didn't see UNI (my school) on the S-Curve last time. Does a win at Creighton really help them out tonight or are they gonna need a MVC Tourney title to get in?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:42 PM)

A win tonight would really help, Andy, but even that's not likely to be enough. This team needs to win the Valley tournament in all likelihood.

Eddie (Washington)

At this point of the season, do you factor in player injuries? Ex: if tourney started today Duke would be without Ryan Kelly, who they are 0-1 without might get dropped to a #2 seed.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:42 PM)

Generally not (yet)...

Jeff (NY)

If Syracuse were to beat Louisville on Saturday, does that move them into a 1 seed again?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:43 PM)

One would think so, Jeff, yes.

DJ (Cuse)

Does the committee look at a team if they are missing a player for a game-for ex. Lawrence Bowers missing Miss and maybe Florida?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:44 PM)

Yes, presuming the player in question returns and reestablishes the prior level of performance.

Ron (ATL)

Joe--will the Gators be one of those teams that is like the "beautiful girl that ends up breaking you heart?" They have a lot of talent but the SEC is down this year and the RPI is not stellar. How do you see them in the tournament? A promising Elite 8 on paper but doesn't even make the Sweet 16

Joe Lunardi
  (2:45 PM)

I see it the other way, Ron. I think Florida will be a force in the tournament and I'm sticking with my preseason pick of the Gators reaching the Final Four.

Brian (NJ)

Hey Joe. I'm a little surprised you had Stanford as the first PAC 12 team out rather than Washington. Wash has the higher RPI, more top 100 wins (4 vs 0), and beat Stanford in Stanford.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:47 PM)

It's very close, Brian, but I don't factor in head-to-head as much as most (it's the same for the Committee, for what it's worth).

Joe Lunardi
  (2:47 PM)

Let's go rapid-fire for five more minutes...

chad (NY)

will xavier make the tournamnet

Joe Lunardi
  (2:48 PM)

No.

Lee (Bensalem, PA)

Gonzaga #1 seed in March? Yes or no.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:48 PM)

No.

tyler (east lansing)

MSU as a possible #1 seed? kansas win looks better and better and plenty of opportunities in the B1G

Joe Lunardi
  (2:49 PM)

"No" to each of the last two questions.

Justin (Fargo)

Summit League winner?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:49 PM)

North Dakota State.

Jake (Nashville, TN)

Does Middle Tennessee have a shot at an at large bid?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:49 PM)

Yes, but it's no better than one chance in four.

David (Omaha)

Saturday Wichita State or Creighton

Joe Lunardi
  (2:50 PM)

Creighton by a bucket...

Jill (PA)

Caseys Drexel Hill or Maggie O'Neils?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:51 PM)

Men's Grille at Llanerch CC.

Lee (Bensalem, PA)

The last mid-major that sneaks in as an at-large. Who?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:52 PM)

Wyoming.

William (Houston)

SEC Champion?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:52 PM)

Florida.

Nick (Indiana)

Who gets a better shot at a 1 seed, the B1G regular season winner or tourny winner assuming its one of the top teams in the conference?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:54 PM)

Depends on which teams has the "better" (and higher number) of high-quality wins.

Chris (Saint Louis)

Minnesota have a chance at final four?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:54 PM)

Sure.

chad (NY)

interesting u think xavier wont make it. why?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:55 PM)

Because their best player is at Arizona and their second-best is at Maryland.

DJ (Cuse)

NC or Ky-who misses the dance?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:55 PM)

Neither.

Bruce (Newport Beach)

Joe- Please explain what Kentucky has done to earn a spot in your bracket as of today? 67 rpi, 0-5 vs top 50, 1 win vs top 150?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:56 PM)

Very little, agreed. http://insider.espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/blog/_/name/ncbexperts/id/8845562/could-kentucky-wildcats-miss-2013-ncaa-tournament-college-basketball

Winston (St. Pete Beach)

Come tourney time how many bids to the Big East?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:57 PM)

Seven.

Will (Baton Rouge)

Does LSU have a chance at the touney?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:57 PM)

Sure.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:57 PM)

Sure.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:57 PM)

Sure.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:58 PM)

Sure.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:59 PM)

Sure.

Ryan Jackson (Madison, WV)

I know we aren't even in discussion for the tournament but Huggs seems to think 20 wins will get us in. Is 20 enough?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:59 PM)

ALl I'll say is that Huggs has been a little off this year in his analysis...

JW (NYC)

5 "sures" make them a lock?

Joe Lunardi
  (3:00 PM)

More a comment on my internet service...

Joe Lunardi
  (3:00 PM)

That's it for me, folks. Same time, next week...