Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

March 5, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Joe Lunardi

Joe Lunardi
  (1:55 PM)

Greetings, everyone! Starting a few minutes early as I have to bail at the bottom of the hour.

Justin (Scottsburg, IN)

I'm a Louisville fan and live in Indiana. Louisville is the #2 in IU's Region. Is this a geographic issue or a S-curve issue? It would be too bad to have that as an Elite 8 matchup.

Joe Lunardi
  (1:57 PM)

A little of both, Justin. IU is No. 1 on the current S-Curve and Louisville No. 6. The Hoosiers can't be paired with No. 8 (Michigan), so Louisville is most logical alternative for combined seeding/geographic reasons.

Nick (Hyattsville, MD)

Love your stuff. I certainly know my Terps dona??t yet deserve to be in, but why is a team like So Miss still closer to the dance according to Bracketology? I know our Non Conf SOS isna??t pleasing to the committee, but So Miss is 0-8 vs Top 75 RPI and lacks the quality wins my Terps have.

Joe Lunardi
  (1:59 PM)

We are splitting hairs a bit here. I currently have USM three spots out of the field and the Terps five spots away. Biggest difference is non-conference schedule strength. Southern Miss is in the 90s and Maryland in the 290s. Big difference, obviously.

Sid N. (D.C - home of the sequester. )

Which team, Akron, Middle Tennessee, Belmont or Louisiana Tech has the best chance to get an at large bid without winning its conference tournament? Could you rank them from 1-4?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:00 PM)

Did this last week and went Akron, Belmont, MTSU and La Tech. After losing at Buffalo over the weekend, I'd drop Akron to third on the list and keep others in the same order.

Sammy (Columbus)

If Wyoming wins out from now until the MWC finals, what do you think about them? 5-11 conference record is terrible, but they'd have 5 top 50 wins. That's a massive leg up on this weak bubble.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:01 PM)

No chance at 5-11 in the conference, sorry.

Justin (Florida)

If the Gators can win out, do you think they would be a good argument for a #1 seed?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:02 PM)

Too many teams to climb after the losses at Missouri and Tennessee. Door was open for Gators to be No. 1 seed (and No. 1 overall), but that ship has probably sailed due to overall weakness of SEC.

Dan (Seattle)

If Gonzaga wins the WCC tourney, will they be no lower than a #2 in the West? Regardless of the other conference tourneys...

Joe Lunardi
  (2:02 PM)

Agreed.

Andrew (WI)

Play-in game feeding to a 14 seed? Why not 11? And if it happens again, the NCAA has to figure out some solution for the future....right?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:05 PM)

Happened last year and again in today's bracket. I don't like it any more than you do, but Villanova in particular was very hard to slot because of the presence of seven other Big East teams. Also, both Nova and Tennessee were true 13 seeds on the S-Curve, so by rule could not have moved two lines up to a No. 11 seed.

mike (springfield, mo)

does committee try to keep lower seeds away from their closest pod so as to not give them a home court advantage over higher seed?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:06 PM)

Seeds 1-5 are "protected" against a so-called home crowd disadvantage in their first game only. So, to that extent, you are correct, Mike.

Jack (Kansas City)

If KU wins out and wins big 12 tournament, is there a way they lose the 1 seed?

Steve Tourek (Peoria, AZ)

Is Virginia going to be the most discussed bubble team the next week and a half? You've got them above Dayton, one of your competitors doesn't have them even sniffing the last four out. Good wins vs. bad losses . . .

Joe Lunardi
  (2:07 PM)

No (on Kansas). As for Virginia, history would suggest good wins carry more weight than bad losses.

Tim (Chicago)

Do you think the committee will be able to resist putting KU and Mizzou in same bracket? Seems like something they would do.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:08 PM)

Might be impossible if/when Missouri's seed improves.

Brian (Philly)

I know La Salle is a 12, but shouldn't they feel comfortable considering how teams behind them on the bubble keep collapsing? (Ole Miss, UK, and Baylor come to mind)

Joe Lunardi
  (2:10 PM)

Wouldn't say "comfortable," given the possibility of a bad loss or two now or in Brooklyn. Plus the bubble is likely to shrink by a couple spots. Still going to be tight unless the Explorers bag another scalp and move up.

Tony (Overland Park, KS)

Joe,I noticed you moved Kansas from a 1 in the South to a 1 in the East while giving G'Town a 1 in the South. What made that happen? Also why not give G'Town a 1 in the East while leaving KU as a 1 in the South?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:11 PM)

Georgetown is the East Regional host institution and therefore cannot play in the D.C. region. So two schools get inconvenienced, if you will.

Justin (Scottsburg, IN)

Referring back to my former question, why can't Indiana and Michigan be in the same bracket?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:11 PM)

The first three teams in any conference are automatically placed in different regions.

Chris (DC)

Where do you end up having to spend most of your time in piecing together the bracket each week? Determining top seeds? Picking the last at-large teams? Seeding teams in the middle of the pack? Do you think that aligns with where the committee ends up having the most difficulty?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:13 PM)

The committee spends more time on selecting the last few teams than anywhere else. I try to spend equal amounts seeding and bracketing (and have long advocated they do the same). The bracket itself can almost always be better than what we get, but the committee sometimes does it in the final hour.

Alex (Hodgenville KY)

which SEC team or teams on the bubble do you think wins at large bids?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:14 PM)

Possibly none. This might be the worst group of bubble teams from a single conference I've ever seen.

Rock (SF)

Joe, how (in the world) does St. Mary's drop a spot in your bracket after WINNING the rest of their games?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:16 PM)

This is a common misconception. The position of "Team A" is never solely dependent on its own results. "Team B" could be right behind them and post even better win(s) in a given period. And other times "Team A" could be bumped up or down for procedural reasons. One seed line is not supposed to be that big a deal for competitive purposes.

Moe (Spokane, WA)

Do G'Town and Kansas really have better resumes than Duke?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:18 PM)

Probably, but my problem with Duke is I can't now elevate them ahead of Miami (whom they still trail by two games in the ACC). Win a rubber game or wait for one of the current No. 1 seeds to lose. Given the path of this season, it shouldn't be a very long wait.

Nate (LA)

With other tops teams losing, what percent chance do you give the Zags for staying on the top line (assuming they win their last two games)?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:19 PM)

Current tourney odds program is giving the Zags a 55 percent chance to stay on the top line.

Trevor (Champaign)

Are all 7 Big Ten teams you have in your bracket a lock at this point?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:19 PM)

Pretty much, yes.

Corey (Maryland)

What question that people ask you about bracketology do you find most annoying/frustrating?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:21 PM)

The "what if my team wins this or that game(s)" questions. Because, as I've said, the answer would have to assume that said games are played in isolation, when if fact dozens more probably have a genuine impact.

Joe Lunardi
  (2:23 PM)

Tied for most annoying might be "give me my team's ceiling/floor for seeding." I think it's only a realistic exercise in the last week or so, as the seed range(s) shrink and we have a better sense of when procedural bumbs may occur.

Craig (Quarryville)

Temple is way better than the other bubble teams, with SOS and RPI being right there, yet just have one bad lost...why are they constantly on your last 4 in, when in reality, their RPI is better than most, and their SOS is light years ahead?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:24 PM)

Which is the "bad loss?" Canisius, St. Bonaventure or Duquesne (all at home)??

Kristen (Philly)

Of your current "Last 4 in" who has the highest chances of making the dance?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:26 PM)

Might be Villanova, given how well they have played at Wells Fargo Center with Georgetown coming in. No one else has an opportunity like that independent of their conference tourney pairings.

Mark (Knoxville)

tired of everyone else's opinion. Taking it RIGHT to the top with "THE" Joe Lunardi! Is Iowa's only way into the dance via winning the B1G tourney?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:26 PM)

Could be some really good wins along the way that might do it if everything else breaks their way. But that NonConf SOS is the wrong kind of resume boost.

Jeffrey (NC)

Joe, Christmas Day or Selection Sunday?

Joe Lunardi
  (2:27 PM)

Christmas. Far less stress and no work (but it's close!!).

Joe Lunardi
  (2:28 PM)

Same time, next week gang. Am out of both time and battery life. Happy hoops!