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January 22, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Joe Lunardi

Joe Lunardi
  (2:04 PM)

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Time for a our weekly hoops chat. Let's have at it...

Jordan (Durham)

I can't find fault with any bracket that puts Duke on the 1-seed line. But my question is about our rival: What does Carolina have to do to stay on the right side of the bubble? And is the NIT a legitimate possibility for them?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:06 PM)

Shocked to hear you say that, Jordan (ha, ha!). I think Carolina will continue to improve in small increments and be a solid -- if not great -- NCAA team. Say a seed in the 5-6 range with a chance to go to the Sweet 16.

Ben (Circleville, OH)

Any chance Belmont can get an at-large bid if they don't win their conference?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:07 PM)

Very unlikely, Ben. The non-conference "attempts" were there, but not the wins. And the value of beating Murray State multiple times, if that were to happen, just isn't what we thought it would be.

Noah (Tampa)

now that we know nc state is as good as we thought are they the favorites to win the ACC?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:08 PM)

I'm sticking with Duke, Noah, as was my choice at the start of the year. It may come down to which of the two teams is healthier.

Greg (Ruston LA )

Any chance LA Tech gets an at large bid this year?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:09 PM)

Not happening, Greg, sorry.

Jacob (Tupelo MS)

How in this world is Memphis the last team in? They have gone down consistently while still winning. They have beaten Harvard, Oral Roberts, Tenn, and Belmont all possible tourny teams. Their only losses are to VCU, Minn. and Louisville. 2 top 10 teams and all 3 top 25. But yet they are the last team in?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:12 PM)

Memphis has neither played nor beaten Belmont. And Harvard is their only victory over a team in the current field. Better get the lead back in Conference USA (and hold it!).

JohnM(Ky) [via mobile]

What's the chances of the UK wildcats not making the NCAA tournament?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:13 PM)

Wrote about this extensively last week. I believe the 'Cats will stay in the field and eventually break through with a high-quality win or two.

Scott (Boise)

Where do you feel Boise State needs to end up in the conference standings and also in the conference tournament to feel comfortable of getting into the tournament? And what was your reaction to their loss to Air Force after Air Force lost by 40 points to Colorado State?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:14 PM)

I try not to overreact to single-game results, especially as teams have a larger body of work to evaluate. Having said that, Boise's win at Wyoming was the only thing keeping them in the field this week.

Ned (Boston)

Hi Joe should Pitt be on upset alert tonight?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:14 PM)

Yes.

Joe [via mobile]

Why is nobody questioning Louisville's resume?They have beaten one ranked team this season yet that are considered a top 5 team.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:15 PM)

Because they're really good...

Dave (South Florida)

Joe, how close, or far is Florida from being a one seed? I don't really see many more games on the schedule that will help the Gators---I only see games that might hurt their chances if they slip up. Seeing all these teams ahead of them slipping up gives me hope though.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:17 PM)

I think the weakness of the SEC will ultimately keep Florida off the top line. Too many teams would have to lose too many times elsewhere to open the door. And I've often thought that the chase for a No. 1 seed is a bit overrated. Don't you play the same regional final as a No. 2 seed? Didn't seem to hurt Alabama to be ranked No. 2 in the BCS championship game...

Bryan (Iowa City)

The Hawkeyes are on the cusp of making the field but I am worried every game left falls either in 'probable loss' or 'probable win'. If Iowa doesn't beat any of the league leaders (Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota) and finishes 9-9 or 10-8...would they have a shot to make it? The league is tough, but the best win in that scenario would be over Wisconsin.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:17 PM)

That's pretty much the definition of a bubble team, right there. And that's when conference tournament win(s) can put you over the hump.

Jeffrey [via mobile]

Were you tempted to bump Florida up to a #1 seed ?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:19 PM)

Personally, yes. Following typical Committee evaluation methods, not really.

Joe K (East Grand Forks, MN)

Hi Joe-Do you think Minnesota's losses against Indiana and Michigan are any indication of being overrated or more of a sign of how good both Ind. and Mich. are? Thanks.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:19 PM)

The latter...

Brian (Spokane)

Hey Joe! How impressive was Butler's win over Gonzaga Saturday night? What did it reveal about both teams? Both teams looked great and I'm looking forward to seeing them play come march.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:19 PM)

Just a great college basketball game that will ultimately have little or no impact on how either performs in March.

Marko Zubac (Long Beach, California)

How many teams do you think make it out of the Big East when it's all said & done.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:20 PM)

The current seven in the field, no more or less.

Charles (San Jose)

The Ducks have had a great start to the Pac-10 season, but can they stay consistent?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:21 PM)

Why not? They were pretty good in the non-conference, too, especially winning at UNLV. I'm not going to bang them for losing a triple overtime game to UTEP.

Kirk (Omaha, NE)

What does Creighton need to do in order to find itself in the Kansas City regional? NCAA might look at Bluejay backers traveling in large numbers.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:21 PM)

Not an issue, Kirk. It will come down to whether or not the Blue Jays are one of the two best teams for whom K.C. is the closest sub-regional possibility.

Perry (Rochester, NY)

I have tix to Philly Rd 2/3 - tell me Cuse is definitely gonna be there Joe!!

Joe Lunardi
  (2:22 PM)

Don't think there's been a mock bracket yet that didn't send the Orange my way (which is Philly, of course). Look for 'Cuse and Duke to head the two pods there.

Matthew (Cheyenne, WY)

You have 6 teams from the Mountain West in which is great. What team(s) are in the most danger of missing the NCAA if they struggle in the remainder of conference play?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:23 PM)

At least one (maybe two) of the "second three" in the conference -- ColoSt, BoiseSt, Wyoming -- will drop out. Too soon to know which one(s).

Francis the G (St. Clair, MO)

If you're filling out your bracket TODAY, how far do you take Gonzaga?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:24 PM)

Pretty hard to answer questions like that without knowing the opposition, right? The tourney is often about "match ups" and style (desirable or not...).

Rob (Charlottesville)

If Syracuse completes the sweep against Louisville this year and wins the regular season title, but Louisville gets hot and wins the BE tournament, who gets the higher seed?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:25 PM)

Both, conceivably.

Mike (NY)

V-Tech a bubble team again this year Joe? haha they always seem to be.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:26 PM)

I'm guessing the Hokies would love to be in that position...

Brandon (Chicago)

Assuming that any one of the top ranked teams (Mich, Mich st, IU, OSU) wins the Big 10, will they be a #1 seed?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:26 PM)

Correct.

Alex (Tucson)

Joe, after all is said and done, what seed do you think Arizona will get? Also, do you see them as a legitimate Final Four team?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:28 PM)

I see Arizona as the 2-3 seed in the West, opening in Salt Lake City. I do not expect them to reach the Final Four this season.

Brad (Gadsden,Alabama)

Joe, Do you think Bama will beat Kentucky tonight?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:28 PM)

Nope.

Brad (Wisconsin)

What team has the best chance to make final 4 out of these teams: VCU, Butler, Wisconsin, or Creighton

Joe Lunardi
  (2:29 PM)

Butler. Color me convinced.

Christian (mich.)

is the college basketball season too long?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:30 PM)

Yes, and it's a great question. It starts WAY too early these days...

Steven (Overland Park)

Joe, please don't ever compare the NCAA tournament to the disaster known as the BCS haha

Joe Lunardi
  (2:30 PM)

Fair point, Steven...

John (Annapolis)

The Terps are #1 in the nation in rebounding and have one of the best shutdown defenses in the nation. Although they have struggled offensively the last 3 games, their ACC schedule lightens up down the stretch. Do they make the tourney with their signature win already coming with NC State?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:31 PM)

Maryland can't really afford a "bad" loss because the non-conference schedule was so weak. This looks like a bubble team all the way to Selection Sunday.

Jaylen (Bronx)

Do you see PITT moving up at all?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:32 PM)

Not really, Jaylen, as they are so challenged offensively.

Brett (Hattiesburg)

How many losses can Southern Miss afford and still get an at large?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:33 PM)

Probably a moot point, Brett, as I don't think an at-large is a realistic possibility for USM under any circumstances.

Collin (Baltimore, MD)

Miami has started out 4-0 in the ACC this season without their center Reggie Johnson. Where do you see Miami at the end of the season with Johnson healthy again? Are they a legitimate final four contender?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:34 PM)

That might be a reach, Collin, but I can certainly see Miami into the second weekend or even the Elite Eight. You'd take your chances with that, right??

Grant (Schaumburg)

You have the Big Ten with 7 teams right now. Do you think they could sneak in 8? Would it be possible for Iowa to sneak in and for Illinois to hold on?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:35 PM)

Sure, there's definitely room for both teams. The bubble is already starting to weaken.

Jen (DC)

The Terps defense led by Alex Len altering basically every shot by the other team has gotten them to a 15-4 record (after tonights win at BC). Are the offensive struggles due to the lack of experience or is Turge to blame at all....too many substitutions, taking out players with hot hands, etc...?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:36 PM)

Take out nine sub-150 wins and the Terps are more like 5-4 than 15-4. And, having seen them several times, I think the offensive struggles are mainly because the guards are so-so offensive players. It's not coaching or scheme, but explosiveness (or lack thereof).

Lee (PA)

If Butler and Gonzaga win out including conference tournaments, what seed can each get? Are #1 seeds possible for one or both?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:37 PM)

Unlikely, Lee, as there are too many teams in front of them. And all have more "quality win" opportunities remaining.

Brad (Michigan)

Hey Joe love your work. Do you think Michigan has a good shot at the No. 1 overall seed, and do you think they would deserve it?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:38 PM)

An outright Big Ten winner, including conference tourney, would be pretty hard to deny in that spot.

Tommy (Olathe)

What are your "way too early" Final Four picks?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:38 PM)

Sticking with my preseason choices: Louisville, Florida, Michigan and Gonzaga. Of course, what no one ever mentions is that the chance any such set of teams ends up in four different regions is pretty unlikely.

John Calipari (Lexington)

Joe our team is going to get on a role and cut down the nets for the second year in a row right? Nerlens is possibly the best defensive center in college

Joe Lunardi
  (2:39 PM)

If you say so...

Shawn (El Paso)

Thoughts on Kansas State/KU game tonight.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:40 PM)

At the risk of getting in even more trouble in the Little Apple, KU is a better team across the board than K-State. If they played best-of-seven, Kansas would win in five or six. So I'm taking the Jayhawks.

Matt (Philly)

How is an 11 seed an at large, but the 10 seed is a play in game?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:42 PM)

Great question, Matt. The Committee has the authority to move teams up or down one line from their "true seed" to fulfill a variety of other bracketing considerations. A recent one has been limiting travel for the "First Four" winners. So my current projection has those groupings feeding Dayton (no add'l travel) and Auburn Hills, all while moving potential at-larges no more than a single line from their true S-Curve ranking. Hope that makes sense.

Coach B (Syracuse, NY)

Joe, Can I stop lamenting the demise of the Big East long enough to embrace my new surroundings in the ACC to say "Hey, the basketball they play here is pretty good, and maybe I am lucky to have gotten out before the Big East crumbled?"

Joe Lunardi
  (2:43 PM)

It wouldn't surprise me if Jim Boeheim chooses to retire very early (or even before) his ACC tenure begins.

Brandon (Utah)

After that heartbreaking last second loss to St. Mary's, has BYU's only hope of dancing come down to needing to take 2 of their remaining 3 against Gonzaga/St. Mary's to have any shot?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:44 PM)

Or the WCC tournament...

Jessica (St Marys)

It seems as though the BPI ranking are the TRUE way to determine the top 25 teams in the nation. The other polls are flawed by human bias and error. Why do we not use the BPI to determine rankings and tourney births?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:44 PM)

It's another really good tool in the toolbox, nothing more and nothing less.

Adam (Kansas)

Joe, does KU have to get a #1 seed to play first round in Kansas City?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:45 PM)

No, they just have to be one of the best two teams for which Kansas City is the closest geographic option.

Collin (SD)

What are the chances of Nate Wolters and the SD State Jackrabbits making the NCAA Tournament again this year?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:45 PM)

Got to win the Summit League tourney, and there are 3-4 really strong contenders right now. Go Bunnies!

Sarah (New York)

Which fan base, week after week, bombards you with the most questions/comments?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:46 PM)

Usually depends which teams are on the bubble at the time, Sarah, but it's all fun!

Sean (Colorado)

How much consideration does a team's recent tournament history have to do with the respect they get from the committee (ie- a team that continually loses earlier than their seed would suggest vs a team that continually outperforms it's previous seedings)?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:47 PM)

None (by rule). Subconsciously, who knows?!?

jim trevethan (solon ohio)

Joe, how do you think Ohio State will do in tourny? I think they will mesh as right time as tourny gets close. They seem inconsistant now but at times when they click they look unstoppable.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:47 PM)

The Buckeyes seem more like an early-round upset victim, to me. We'll see.

Eric (DC)

Marquette as a 7 seed is matched up with Florida as the 2 seed. However Marquette played Florida in the regular season. I thought committee members tried to avoid rematches in the first weekend?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:48 PM)

That's a goof on my part, but it's occasionally unavoidable. Worse this week was my pairing of UCLA and Georgetown in a 7-10 game. That would definitely not happen.

Sam (California)

Thoughts on Colorado State? They barely lost @ SDSU in OT, and then kill Air force, and beat UNLV. What seed can they get if they win the MWC (or, atleast tie)?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:49 PM)

Anyone winning the Mountain West this year is going to have an attractive seed, unless there's a crazy three-way tie or something. Come to think of it...

Justin (Fargo)

How are the Bracketbuster games shaping up this year, any big match ups

Joe Lunardi
  (2:50 PM)

Haven't looked into it yet, Justin, but will be doing so over the next week. Pairings are a little later this year (Feb. 5) due to the extra week in the regular season.

Matt (Bethlehem, PA)

Any chance the Patriot League could get two bids?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:50 PM)

Sadly, no.

Meg (Austin)

Turge takes MD to final four in the next 2 years. True or False?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:51 PM)

True.

Marshall (Bonner Springs)

Even Bracketologists make mistakes.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:51 PM)

Shhhh...

mark (wyoming )

why do u have wyoming seeded so low/? everyone else has them in the 7 to 10 range please explain it ............

Joe Lunardi
  (2:53 PM)

A little more sizzle than steak on that resume'.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Ole Miss looked good on Saturday, and they didn't even play as well as they could have. This team continues to improve and seems poised to play 3 or 4 games int he tourney...agreed?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:53 PM)

Which tourney?!?

Nate (Terre Haute)

For the love of all that is holy, please say something about Indiana State

Joe Lunardi
  (2:53 PM)

Great wins, bad losses, bubble or bust...

Rob (FL)

Joe, why does Ohio St. move down with a loss at MSU, but MSU does not move up? Given that MSU is the only team to be Kansas, I would think they have earned the right to be at least a 3-seed by now. Losing at Minn and Miami, and an opener across several time zones should hardly be punishing.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:54 PM)

Be careful not to evaluate week-to-week placement in a vacuum. You also have to consider what's happening with teams just in front and just behind you at the same time.

Victor san diego [via mobile]

Do you think the aztecs will have a chance at the sweet 16

Joe Lunardi
  (2:55 PM)

A chance, yes, but I think San Diego State has been overvalued from the start of the season.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Ok smart a**, the NCAA Tourney, you know, the one with 64 teams?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:55 PM)

Do not see Ole Miss as a Sweet 16 team, if that's what you're asking.

Tomas (Albuquerque)

Does New Mexico have a legit shot to make at least the sweet 16?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:55 PM)

Yes.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:56 PM)

Yes.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:57 PM)

Yes.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:58 PM)

Signing off, gang. Have a great week!