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February 27, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Joe Lunardi

Joe Lunardi
  (2:01 PM)

Greetings from St. Louis. Get to see the fast-rising Billikens tonight and chat with all of you for the next 40 minutes or so.

Liam (Maui)

hey joe - a potential task for an intern of yours... what was the highest rated RPI team to NOT reach the tourney (64 team tourney), and conversely the lowest rated RPI team to get IN the tourney with an 'at-large' bid... thanks. trying to find a range to give hope to our bubble teams...

Joe Lunardi
  (2:02 PM)

Missouri State (low 20s) did not make it in 2006. New Mexico, some years before that, got in 70s-plus (as did Air Force more recently). Not sure which RPI was worse.

Brandon (Sarasota, FL)

What does Cincy have to do over the next 3 games and and in the BE Tourney to guarantee themselves an invite in the Big Dance?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:04 PM)

Win two of three remaining regular-season games and avoid losing to a lower seed in the Big East tournament.

DMoore (Rochester NY)

Hey Joe - happy almost March!Curious how Kansas' resume gives them an edge over Georgetown or Miami? the Big East is clearly tougher than the Big 12 and Kansas has the same losses as the Hoyas. Is this a case of better reputation and past performance, or Kansas having a better resume?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:06 PM)

Not sure I agree with the word "clearly." And I find the recent Georgetown arguments to be missing a pretty vital element: a sub-200 non-conference schedule. Kansas is No. 21 in the same category and has half-again as many Top 50 wins.

Eric W. (Miami)

Would you give a no. 1 seed to Miami if they either beat Duke now and lost to them in the tourney or lost to Duke now and beat them in the tourney?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:07 PM)

More than likely, yes. I believe the two teams are essential competing for one bracket position.

Frank R. (Tx)

The biggest two differences between you and other bracketologists this week were your exclusion of Boise St. and your low seeding of Butler, could you explain those?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:11 PM)

I'm not seeing the Boise State thing (at least not to the level of others). A .500 Mountain West team with a sub-200 non-conference SOS isn't something I'd want to hang my hat on. They could make it, for sure, but not without at least one more good win (ideally away from home). As for Butler, a seed in the 6/7 range seems perfectly consistent with their ranking, computer metrics and recent performance. Basically, I can't seed them ahead of Saint Louis after losing both games to SLU.

Hugh Davio (Oregon)

Why did you put Florida at a 1 seed, and Michigan as a 2 seed right after florida lost?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:11 PM)

You have it backwards...

David (Boise ID)

Hey JoeI don't seem to understand how you end up doing this bracket math.Ex. Boise State beats Fresno State on the road (FSU had an RPI of 148) and they drop 5 spots. Alabama beats Auburn at home (Auburn has an RPI of 216) and they jump 5 spots.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:13 PM)

You can't look at teams in isolation. Every outcome for one team can be impacted by outcomes by dozens of others. In other words, winning doesn't guarantee moving up and losing doesn't guarantee moving down (at least in a single snapshot). Over time, it all works out.

Brian (B-town)

I can't bring myself to acknowledge Gonzaga as #1 overall. I realize they have not lost in forever and a half ago, but their lack of wins over the higher echelon of teams in the country is what I'm most worried about. I am glad that you recognize this, but for some reason the AP voters have a curious case of amnesia come Sunday evening...

Joe Lunardi
  (2:15 PM)

Gonzaga will not be the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament regardless of the next polls. In fact, I think it's likely they get passed for the top line between now and Selection Sunday. It's not a knock; just reality. Heck, they could lose tomorrow night at BYU. The truth is that there's very little competitive difference between No. 1 and No. 2 in the eventual West Region.

Mick (Kansas City)

Indiana is close to falling off the 1 line, right? What would it take?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:15 PM)

Way more than last night's loss...

Frank (New York)

Stony Brook getting no love as a potential Cinderella. Most road wins in the nation. They've played everyone close this year in losses and have a legit big man in Jameel Warney What do you think?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:16 PM)

Let's not get crazy...18 of Stony Brook's 21 wins are against the bottom half of Division I (or non-DI).

Jeff (Lancaster, PA)

If Duke wins out, are they the number 1 overall seed?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:16 PM)

Could happen that way, yes.

Jon (Colorado Springs)

In the last 20 years of the tournament what is the biggest injustice committed by the selection committee (either leaving a team out or terrible seeding) in your mind. Wisc winning the big ten in 2004 but it not "counting" cause the game happened too late on Sunday is up there.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:17 PM)

They still got to play in Milwaukee, though, if memory serves. Not in my top (bottom?!?) five...

Eric K. (Syracuse, NY)

It looks like SU and G'town are neck and neck for that 2nd Philly pod with Duke locked into the other one. Would beating the Hoyas on the road along with a run to the BET finals get the Orange to Philly the first weekend of the NCAA tourney?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:18 PM)

Almost certainly. And good "pod" casting by you!

Jimmy (Ames, IA)

Do Iowa's St close losses count for anything when all is said and done?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:18 PM)

A little...

Dorris (Oakland)

Can you explain why St. Mary's is ahead of Cal on the s-curve? Cal has better wins, better SOS, and better losses.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:19 PM)

I have them better by three whole spots, so they're almost indistinguishable. I also think the Gaels are a better team right now (barely).

Gabe (Boulder, CO)

Are the Buffs pretty much guaranteed a spot in the tourney at this point?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:20 PM)

Not quite in my "80 percent" group (but next in that line).

Paul (Memphis)

Joe, when its all said and done, do the Tenn Vols make the tourney?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:21 PM)

Yes...

Jeff (Denver)

Going back to your RPI question, ASU currently sits in the upper 80's, do they have a chance to be the worst RPI team in the history of the tournament or will their RPI jump dramatically if they get a win @ zona or UCLA?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:21 PM)

The latter...

Justin (Albuquerque)

I keep seeing mentions that UNM's RPI is "over-inflated" because they haven't played any sub-200 RPI teams. How do the Lobos win? If they play good teams, their RPI is "an outlier," but if they play weaker teams the RPI is "not good enough."

Joe Lunardi
  (2:23 PM)

That's not what I mean by inflated (and UNM should be praised for how it scheduled). What I mean is that the numbers are SO good as to not be completely credible. I don't know anyone, for instance, who believes the Lobos are the third-best team in the country (as RPI suggests). And that "inflation" makes people wonder a bit.

Sammy (Columbus)

Why does who you think is a better team right now matter? The committee decides on resume, no?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:24 PM)

I wish...

mike (springfield mo)

If committee has Kansas as their #4 overall and Zags as their #5, would they put Zags as a 1 out west and put Kansas as a 2 in the South? I think both teams would prefer that.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:24 PM)

No, KU would be No. 1 in the West with the Zags as their No. 2 seed pairing.

Sammy (Columbus)

You have MTSU as an 11 seed. Does that mean that you think they're in even if they don't win the WAC tourney? Because I can't see that happening with their whole 1 top 100 win.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:26 PM)

First of all, MTSU plays in the Sun Belt. Second, they can only drop from an 11-seed with any loss that results in them not being an AQ. So I agree with your conclusion, if not your path to get there.

Jason (Phoenix)

MTSU, Belmont, Akron, La Tech. Which of these teams has the best chance to make the tournament if they lose in their conference tournaments?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:27 PM)

Probably Akron, with Belmont in the mix. La Tech and MTSU really have little to no chance for an at-large.

David A. (Dallas)

Joe. I have ticks to the South regional. Regardless of how the season plays out, do the Jayhawks have a good chance of being placed in the South? Fingers crossed.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:27 PM)

Good, but no better than 50/50.

Jeff (Fort Collins, CO)

Is there a rule that prevents rematches in the first round of the tournament between schools like CSU vs. CU as a 7 vs. 10 matchup?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:28 PM)

Yes.

Ryan (Saint Louis U)

want me to save you a spot in the student section tonight at Chaifetz?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:28 PM)

I have a pretty good seat already, thanks.

Jared (Ohio)

Joe I've always wondered this..is Bracketology your full-time job? What do you do the other 9 months of the year?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:28 PM)

Boring desk job.

Andrew (WI)

Not to get all mathematical up in here, but I've always wondered: why are Top 50 and Top 100 arbitrary benchmarks to determine quality wins? Is this maybe why "average RPI win" is starting to creep onto those nitty gritty sheets?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:29 PM)

Those averages have always been there (and I actually prefer the BPI averages in those categories).

Danny (Omaha)

Any chance they would match up Kansas and Missouri as a 1 vs. 8/9?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:29 PM)

Absolutely.

Dean crocetto (South philly)

Joe how do u have the last 4 in temple Kentucky nova & ole miss but u have temple ole miss 11seeds nova kent 12 seeds and virgina a 13??? And cal a 12??? Did u just goof or is there reason???

Joe Lunardi
  (2:30 PM)

It's to follow a bunch of bracketing principles, mainly to avoid potential sub-regional pairings with other teams from their respective conferences.

Liam (Cincinnati)

If Louisville or Georgetown wins the regular season conference title, do they get a 1 seed? or would that require the tournament too?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:30 PM)

The latter, I would think.

Gabe (East Lansing)

What would it take to get the postseason NIT champion to get a chance to play the NCAA champion in the end all be all David vs. Goliath game. Think of the work pools with merged NIT and NCAA brackets!

Joe Lunardi
  (2:31 PM)

What an incredible letdown that would be, don't you think?!?

Dave (Fresno)

When it comes to the #1 seeds, it would seem it would come down to the winner of the ACC (either Duke or Miami), the winner of the Big 10 (either IU or UM), Gonazga, and either Kansas or the most deserving loser of the ACC or B1G. Do you agree?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:32 PM)

Close. I'd go: Big 10 winner, ACC winner, Kansas (if wins out), Big 10 runner-up (if strong enough), Gonzaga (as "spare" No. 1 seed).

Steve (Austin)

Why is Oklahoma in the tournament?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:33 PM)

Wny not??

Jeremy (Louisville)

There is no way Gonzaga is a ONE seed. I don't know how you can put a team that has an 66 SOS as that? It makes no sense. I think that if they were to win out they could squeak into an 2 maybe, but no way a 1. They should be a 3 realistically with all the teams that play tougher opponents.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:35 PM)

But we should elevate Michigan with No. 164 non-conference or Georgetown with its No. 207 non-conf? Scheduling is about not playing really bad teams, too.

Joe (California)

Curious -- how come playing better late(Cal, Tennessee) vs playing better earlier(Creighton, Minnesota) not make a difference. Why isn't improvement a bigger difference maker?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:37 PM)

You're assuming an equal comparison group, in which case I would agree with you. Creighton won at Cal, for instance, so I don't think all is equal here.

Steve (Salt Lake City)

Iowa St is 5-7 vs top 50 (9-8 vs top 150) teams in basketball. How are they safely in the field?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:38 PM)

I didn't say there were safe...

Harry (Houston)

How much did Florida's loss help Gonzaga in their quest to become a 1 seed?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:38 PM)

A whole lot...

David (Boise)

Can BYU still get an at-large by beating Gonzaga tomorrow and St. Mary's in the Conference Semifinals, or is it pretty much auto-bid or bust at this point?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:38 PM)

Possible, but unlikely. Too many other things would have to break their way.

Todd (SLC)

Is this the softest bubble we've had in awhile? Doesn't it feel like more teams are taking themselves off the bubble rather than into the tournament? And is the snub of Utah State in 2004 in your list of worst snubs of all time?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:40 PM)

I'm okay with the current bubble group, and more teams at that level tend to get worse than better at this point of the season. The reason is they aren't very good to begin with. Agree on Utah State, by the way.

jared (philadelphia)

how securely is memphis in the field after their loss at xavier?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:40 PM)

Better than 80 percent.

Brad (Indiana)

Why in the world do you have Gonzaga as a 1 seed!??

Joe Lunardi
  (2:42 PM)

Not to be rude, but I know more about this than most people, that's why. And because other people just need to get over themselves. Bigger name doesn't always equate to better team.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:43 PM)

And with that I'm off to a TV hit...

Joe Lunardi
  (2:43 PM)

Thanks, everyone, and happy hoops!