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February 12, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Joe Lunardi

Joe Lunardi
  (2:05 PM)

Hello, everyone! Having any fun this season?!?

Dave (Kalamazoo, MI)

Joe, When all the smoke clears do you expect the Mountain West to get 2 or at best 3 teams in the field?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:06 PM)

I'd go on the higher side of that, Dave. New Mexico, UNLV and San Diego State are going, and Colorado State is probable. That's four, and it's too early to rule out Boise State.

Owen (Green Bay)

Hey Joe, love your work! I know it's hard without matchups, but could you give me some BCS schools that you think are overvalued now, and will struggle in March?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:07 PM)

Off the top of my head...Kansas State, Notre Dame, Oregon and Missouri.

Ben (Circleville, OH)

You still have Creighton at a 6 seed even though they are ranked 46th in the RPI, and are only 3-4 in their last 7. Can you explain?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:09 PM)

The Blue Jays are actually a No. 7 seed on the current S-Curve, but got a procedural bump to a No. 6 seed in this bracket. Oregon also got moved up a line, with Oklahoma State and Cincinnati dropping down. It happens.

Jeff (New York)

What seed would UConn currently be if they were eligible for the tourney?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:10 PM)

They were a No. 2 seed in the Nemo Bracket, and sit between 37-28 on the real S-Curve. So that's a No. 10 seed by the numbers.

Vince (Montreal)

Are Gonzaga worthy of a #1 seed, or just a very strong #2 seed as it now stands? Thanks..

Joe Lunardi
  (2:11 PM)

The latter, and I'm sticking to my forecast that too many things have to happen for the Zags to be on the top line on Selection Sunday (although it wouldn't surprise me for them to make it there on some brackets between now and then).

Tomas (Pylypiv)

Lets say Belmot wins out until the final of the OVC tourny would you put them in the bracket?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:12 PM)

It would be dicey, Tom. If a Belmont fan, I'd be rooting for Stanford in a big, big way!!

Milton (Illinois)

Joe:The last two road games the Lobos have come out flat and been completley outplayed in the first 10 minutes of each game, they never came close to matching the other teams intesity level...is this a coaching issue or lack of senior leadership?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:14 PM)

Did not see either game, Milton, so it's hard to say. What I can say is that this point of the season often brings some extra strangeness, if you will. Kind of like the "dog days of August" in baseball. We're too far in to turn back, yet the finish line isn't quite in sight. Guys get tired or unfocused for a while. I wouldn't worry about it.

Greg (Littleton, CO)

How much higher do you see the CSU Rams moving up? I would like to think they could get to at least a five.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:15 PM)

That's too far to go, Greg. The Rams haven't won a road game of note and are just 1-3 against Top 50 teams. They may have peaked.

Kevin (Denver)

Ohio State is 2-6 vs the RPI top 25 yet remains a 4 seed based on quality losses. By comparison UNM is 6-2, Butler is 5-2, Kansas St is 5-5, Georgetown 4-3, Kansas 8-3, Louisville 6-4, Mich Stat 6-4 vs RPI top 50. What makes them a member of this 3 or 4 seed group?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:17 PM)

While I wouldn't be buying Ohio State stock, there are any number of reasons for this to happen. One thing you didn't mention are that the Buckeyes ONLY losses are to all high-level teams.

Jeff (Huntington, New York)

Joe, are there any rules regarding the play in games? I know the 16 seeds have always been automatic bids. Is it possible an automatic bid team like MTSU, Belmont, etc. could be put into the 12 seed play in game?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:19 PM)

No, the First Four is officially comprised of the four lowest-ranked AQ teams (playing for No 16 seeds) and the four lowest-ranked teams in the at-large pool. We've seen the latter slotted anywhere from 11-14 seeds into the main bracket.

Juan (Madrid)

If Iowa finishes 6-1 in conference the rest of the way making them 10-8 in the bext conference in America are they in the big dance? Of there nine losses, only two would be two teams outside the top 41 of the RPI.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:20 PM)

That would surely do it, Juan. Then again, a 6-1 streak in almost any major conference would work for almost any team. The schedule is favorable, though, I'll admit that...

Cav Man (Cville)

More important for UVA? Get as many wins as possible, or make sure that one of those wins is Duke/Miami?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:21 PM)

I choose (C): Avoid any more bad losses. The Cavs have that market cornered.

Jeff (Columbus)

Joe - Still not buying Akron as an at-large candidate? Where do you have them overall and is there any chance at all of 2 MAC teams in the big dance?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:22 PM)

It's not a question of "buying," it's a question of beating NCAA-level teams. Akron has a home overtime win over Middle Tennessee and that's it. Don't shoot the messenger.

Esteban Salinas (San Francisco)

What do the SMC Gaels need to do to secure themselves a spot in the big dance? Does the slide of Creighton hurt their chances to win an at large bid? Is this month make or brake for the Gaels?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:23 PM)

Beat Gonzaga this week and the Gaels won't have to worry about Creighton. I suspect it will happen.

Bob J (San Francisco)

3 of your first 5 teams out are Pac 12 teams. Are there any rules that prohibit teams from the same conference from facing each other in the "First four games?"

Joe Lunardi
  (2:24 PM)

Yes, it would be the same rules that apply to all other pairings. In the unlikely event of more than two teams from the same conference reaching the First Four, I suppose the Committee would look at who play once and who played twice during the regular season (or they would manipulate the S-Curve to avoid the situation entirely!).

Heather (Spokane, WA)

Why does Gonzaga get the #2 in midwest while Arizona gets to stay west?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:25 PM)

I had Arizona (No. 6) higher than Gonzaga (No. 7) on the S-Curve for the current bracket.

steven (terre haute)

ISU owns every possible tie breaker at this point for the missouri valley conference 1 or 2 seed. How much could winning the msv regular season help their cause?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:25 PM)

A ton (if they do so outright)...

Luke (Oregon)

Why do you feel like Oregon deserved to move up after losing this week?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:26 PM)

They didn't, Luke, it was a procedural "bump" (as noted earlier).

Kyle (Indianapols)

La Salle hasn't seem to lose in a while but they keep falling down the bracket, what do they need to do to finish in the tourney?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:27 PM)

A couple times the Explorers got a one-line bump (up) for procedural reasons. This is their true seed position now, and you can blame Illinois and Saint Louis for passing them.

Guda (Indiana)

Do you think we'll ever see the committee give highly seeded teams the ability to select their NCAA tournament location? For example, if Louisville is the highest 2 seed maybe they would prefer to play their first 2 games out West and be put into the South regional as opposed to starting in the South but being put in the West bracket.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:28 PM)

Not realistic on any level, sorry.

Austin (The Ville)

Joe, Louisville keeps getting stuck in Dayton. I realize that UF and UM are higher seeds and thus get priority, but do they really care about being in Lexington? I say send 1 of them to Dayton, what's the difference?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:29 PM)

It's a fluke thing right now, Austin. I believe Miami would be the one to go to Dayton in your scenario, as Florida/Lexington is an SEC match (and the "Miami River" runs right past the Dayton Arena!).

John (Indianapolis)

If IU and Michigan finish tied in the Big Ten, who is more likely to get the 1 seed in the Indy regional?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:29 PM)

Might be decided right before Selection Show in Big Ten title game.

Bill (Miami, FL)

Say Miami runs the table but loses in the ACC tournament to a Virginia or a Maryland. Do you still see the 'Canes as a 1 seed?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:30 PM)

Depends on what the unusually large number of other top line contenders are doing (and have done). As I like to say, none of these determinations happen in the vacuum of a single team.

Matt (Needham)

Hi Joe,Any chance Bucknell can get an at-large invite if they lose in the Patriot league Tournament?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:30 PM)

No.

Will (Chicago)

Which B1G teams do you see struggling in the tournament due to the conference toughness inflation factor that we've seen play out for Big East teams in the past few years?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:31 PM)

Ohio State and Minnesota.

Andy (Philadelphia)

What does MD have to do to get in the tourney? A bad loss at home to UVA with Duke and UNC left on the schedule before conference tourney

Joe Lunardi
  (2:31 PM)

Is going back and re-doing the non-conference schedule an option?!?

Squidlid (Queens)

What does St. John's need to do to get in? 6 conference games left, 4 vs. ranked teams. Does 3-3 get them in (18-12, 10-8 BE) or would they still have work to do in the Big East tourney?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:32 PM)

No more "bad" losses...

Dave (Chicago)

Can Arizona still get a 1 seed in the west?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:32 PM)

Absolutely.

Sam (Chicago)

How is illinois still stuck at 11? Two HUGE wins this week, solid rpi, solid sos. Thanks

Joe Lunardi
  (2:32 PM)

Let's not forget the Illini also have a conference record worse than any at-large team in the history of the tournament.

Kansas (Jayhawks)

If we win out the big 12 but don't win the big 12 tourney, do we get a 1 seed? Or is a big 12 championship and conference tourney necessary for a 1 seed?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:33 PM)

The latter, I would say.

Tom (Missouri)

Can you explain Ole Miss as a 10-seed on your bracket but Illinois, with a much higher RPI, SOS and 5 wins vs. teams in RPI top-25 (to an 0-1 record for Ole Miss), is an 11?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:33 PM)

The two teams are only three spots apart on the S-Curve, so it's not really that large of a gap.

Jack (Frederick)

If the Gators lose only one more SEC Gane but win the regular season and Tourney titles, can they get a one seed back regardless of anyone else, opr does it depend on some other teams and how they fare throughout the rest of the season?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:34 PM)

Other teams have to lose, Jack, and it's almost inconceivable that they won't (especially those that play one another!!).

Dan (Austin, TX)

With next month looming, are you expecting the NCAA committee to throw you a curveball or do you feel pretty confident?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:35 PM)

There's usually at least one curveball (and I usually swing at it!!).

Evan (Tacoma)

Joe, what does St. Mary's reasonably have to do vs. GU, BYU, Creighton, and perhaps BYU again in the WCC tournament to feel safe on Selection Sunday?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:35 PM)

Split.

Alex (Cincinnati)

Which #1 seed in your eyes has the best chance of being upset early on in the tournament?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:36 PM)

Impossible to say without match ups, Alex.

Andrew (Richmond)

Does UVA make you want to go cross-eyed?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:37 PM)

No, but it's close!!

John (East Carolina University)

How important is it for Kentucky to win against Florida tonight for position in the brackets?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:37 PM)

Huge for seeding more than selection, I think.

Jeff (East Lansing)

Joe: how high of a seed does MSU have to be to get first round games in Auburn Hills?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:37 PM)

Three or better should do it, Jeff.

Alex (Chicago)

How do you think the committee will view wins/losses against Texas now that Kabongo is back?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:38 PM)

Depends on whether or not the Longhorns start winning...

Randy (Richmond)

If you were going to put a number on how many teams can win it all what would it be? Could we say the highest seed ever win it all this year?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:39 PM)

You're talking Villanova (No. 9, 1985). I'm not ready to go quite that far...

Max (Chicago)

Is Conference USA only a 1 berth conference this year?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:40 PM)

Unless Memphis is upset late, yes.

Joe (Worcteser, MA)

If UMass wins 3 out of the 4 games against temple, VCU, Butler, and Xavier should that be enough to make the dance?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:40 PM)

That would almost certainly put them in (or very close to) the field, yes.

John (Cold Bay Alaska)

Yukon represent! What are the odds a team from not the Big Ten or Big East wins the championship?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:41 PM)

That'd be a really fun bet. Let me think about it...

Brian (Philly)

If it came down to it, which A10 team has the better resume: La Salle or Temple?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:41 PM)

Today, La Salle.

Dave (Menomonee Falls, WI)

Would the committee ever consider dropping a potential 1 seed down to the 2 line if it meant playing close to home instead of setting them up as a 1 seed playing on the other side of the country?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:42 PM)

I doubt it...

Tim N (Evansville IN)

Is this one of the biggest bubble years you can remember? There seem to be way more teams on the bubble than last season.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:43 PM)

Feels the other way around to me. This year, the most volatile place is at the top of the bracket.

kevin (Hoboken, NJ)

St. John's still has ND, Marq, Pitt, and LVille on the schedule. How many of those do they need to win to get in (assuming they can avoid losses to USF and Providence)?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:43 PM)

Split.

Tim (Columbus)

You may not be collecting this data, but has the committee's selection and seeding tilted towards KenPom/BPI etc and away from RPI in recent years. If yes, do you think this will benefit a team like Iowa? Stronger in KP/BPI than RPI.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:45 PM)

Great question, Tim, and I do track such things. My answer would be "less RPI" and more so-called "eye-test" determinations by individual committee members. Sometimes those choices correspond to non-RPI metrics, sometimes not.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:47 PM)

Winding down. Three more quick ones...

Glenn (PA)

With Southerland back will Cuse make it to the top line in the East?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:47 PM)

If they run the Big East table, yes, I should think so.

Greg (East Lansing)

I would say that the so-called "eye test" would be a very biased way to evaluate teams, don't you think?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:49 PM)

Do we have an hour? Yes, Greg, in a word, I've always said the "eye test" belongs in opthalmology (and not bracketology!!).

Tim (Columbus)

Have you read the Signal and Noise? If yes, in what ways has it helped you to refine your approach so you can stop missing teams?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:49 PM)

I have, Tim, but you're assuming the Committee reads such things, as well. Or that they never "miss" teams (which they do!!).

Joe Lunardi
  (2:50 PM)

On that note, I'm outta' here. Enjoy that great doubleheader tonight!