ESPN faculty basketball analyst Joe Lunardi launched his latest bracketology on Tuesday. Whereas there are nonetheless three months till the NCAA Event kicks off, it’s by no means too early to start wanting on the area of 68.
Listed below are the most important takeaways from Lunardi’s newest try at predicting which groups will characteristic in March Insanity:
Massive 12 and SEC prepared the ground with 9 groups in
Over 1 / 4 of the groups that Lunardi initiatives to make the massive dance come from simply two conferences, the Massive 12 and the SEC.
Within the Massive 12, Kansas, Houston, and Baylor, all who have been projected to complete at or close to the highest of the convention, reside as much as preseason expectations with just one loss between the three of them thus far.
Nonetheless, the most important story within the Massive 12 has been Oklahoma and BYU, who’re each projected as “4” seeds by Lunardi. Within the Big 12 preseason poll, BYU was picked thirteenth and Oklahoma was picked twelfth. They’ve each defied expectations and in the event that they proceed to shock in convention play, the Massive 12 will proceed to be one of many deepest within the sport and will likely be very properly represented in March.
Whereas the SEC will not be as top-heavy because the Massive 12, with Tennessee being the best seeded thus far at No. 3, the convention is essentially doing what it is presupposed to. The highest eight groups within the SEC preseason poll are all projected within the area. The largest shock right here is the undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks, who proper now have a ten seed. They have been projected useless final within the convention, however have had a scorching-hot begin to start the yr and seem like they could possibly be an actual consider postseason play.
Pac-12 struggles, solely 4 groups in
The downfall of the Pac-12 convention has been well-documented and it is wanting like their males’s basketball packages will assist usher in an unceremonious finish with some actually disappointing play to start the season. Whereas Arizona is the highest general seed and is wanting like a real contender, the sphere past the Wildcats could be very disappointing.
One of many largest the reason why: USC.
USC was wanting like they’d be one of many high groups within the nation, led by their backcourt of projected high-lottery choose freshman Isaiah Collier and the skilled fifth-year Boogie Ellis. Nonetheless, they’ve disenchanted thus far this season, most just lately dropping a buy-game to Lengthy Seaside State in freshman Bronny James’ long-anticipated season debut. That loss possible is the rationale they’re presently in Lunardi’s “Subsequent 4 Out’ class.
Lack of mid-majors
Final season’s March Insanity featured simply 5 at-large mid-major groups. This season, Lunardi is projecting solely three thus far: Memphis at 6, San Diego State at 7, and New Mexico at 11 and within the play-in recreation.
There are paths to extra at-large mid-major bids. Trying on the groups that are not presently slotted in for computerized bids, Saint Joseph’s and Duquesne are each in consideration from the Atlantic 10 after nice begins to the season.
The Mountain West may add a couple of extra groups to the combo after San Diego State and New Mexico, with Nevada in Lunardi’s “First 4 Out” and Utah State shut behind at 9-1. Tulane and Wichita State may have the prospect to get some signature wins in convention play towards FAU and Memphis within the AAC. Within the WCC, Santa Clara and San Francisco each are 7-3 and may be capable of play themselves into the at-large dialog.
A return to March for the Sycamores?
The most effective tales of the yr thus far has been the resurgence of Indiana State. A historic program most recognized for NBA legend Larry Fowl main them to the Nationwide Championship recreation after an undefeated season to that time in 1979, Indiana State has struggled in recent times. They final made the NCAA Event in 2011, however this yr could possibly be the yr the Sycamores return to March.
At the moment in Lunardi’s “First 4 Out,” the Sycamores are 9-1. They’re going to possible be battling with Drake for the convention title, however are squarely in place to have the ability to play themselves within the at-large dialog.