Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology is one of my favorite things to follow during the college hoop campaign.
Born and raised in the Philly area and a Marketing Communications employee at St. Joe’s, Lunardi’s annual predictions of what the NCAA Basketball Committee will put forth come Selection Sunday are what many of us have come to anticipate we’ll ultimately work with once the country’s workplace copiers start cranking out Tournament Brackets next week.
Use recycled paper whenever possible people. Think of the trees. The Lorax thanks you.
I have mentioned in prior posts how I enjoy watching teams come together…and get better…during the season.
I offer the following as a potential guideline as to who may indeed be improving as we get to March Madness…as well as those teams that look to be regressing. Of course, the NCAA Basketball Tournament is ultimately about the match-ups. You may have a solid team…but if play the “wrong” team in Bracketville…you can find your bags packed before you know what hit you.
I personally don’t consider the conference tournaments a measuring stick (yeah, I DO remember UConn…). Just too many teams playing out the string and having nothing to lose, playing loose…too many teams struggling to get into the Dance, playing relentlessly…too many teams already safely in the Tournament and just trying to stay healthy for when their Madness begins. I am not a big believer in sliding teams up and down the Seed process based on conference tourney results.
I decided to take a look at what Seed line/number Joe had projected teams at come the end of January…and compared it to where they sat in his eyes as of yesterday. Observations below. Keep in mind “movements” came from conference play…giving you an idea of how highly (or not so highly) certain conferences are thought of…and in relationship to each other…
Eight teams who consistently have been the best of the best…
Kentucky and Syracuse are still on the #1 line.
Kansas and North Carolina…on the #1 line now…were #2’s at the end of January.
Duke and Ohio State…on the #2 line now…were #1’s at the end of January.
Michigan State was a #3 in January…on the #2 line now.
Missouri is still on the #2 line.
Teams who hovered near the top…
Baylor, Georgetown, Michigan and Marquette are all #3’s now. Baylor is down from a #2 in January…Georgetown stayed a #3…Michigan and Marquette came up from the #4 line.
Teams who decisively headed in the right direction…
Notre Dame went from the #12 line to the #6 line (+6). Iowa State from #12 to #8 (+4). Temple from #9 to #5 (+4). Wichita State from #8 to #4 (+4). New Mexico from #10 to #7 (+3). Louisville from #8 to #5 (+3).
Teams who decisively headed in the wrong direction…
West Virginia went from the #5 line to the #10 line (-5). Creighton from #3 to #7 (-4). St. Mary’s from #5 to #8 (-3). Connecticut from #7 to #10 (-3). Mississippi State from #8 to #11 (-3). Harvard from #8 to #11 (-3). (Harvard may have a one-game playoff with Penn just to make the field)
What does any of this mean? I dunno. I read and digest as much as I can before filling out my bracket. Maybe on the surface we can draw “soft” conclusions as to who has gotten hot…or not…and they will somehow translate into how the teams might perform in the Tournament…but it really does depend on who draws who from one round to the next. That being said, I think it is safe to say those top eight teams I noted above deserve major consideration for maintaining their “linescape” on the landscape as the college hoop season has wound down.
I know once I fill out my Bracket at least one person will finish ahead of me whose sole criteria for selecting winners was which mascot can beat up, kill and/or eat the opponent’s mascot. Take this information as lightly or as seriously as you like as you watch Championship Week conclude…and Selection Sunday arrive.