SportJoe Lunardi reveals bracketology update
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When the calendar turns to March morefans come out of the woodwork to examine the potential 68-team field in the annual NCAA Tournament. Thankfully for the average fan, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has done the work for us. Lunardi released his first bracket in March, so let's take a minute to break down both the top seeds and the programs that lie on the dreaded bubble.
NCAA tournament bracketology: Kentucky snags Tennessee's No. 1 seed, Michigan State jumps
Kentucky took over as a No. 1 seed, replacing SEC foe Tennessee. And Michigan State's road win over Michigan moves it into the 1-seed conversation.
No. 1 Seeds
Virginia - East
Gonzaga - West
Kentucky - Midwest
Duke - South
Latest NET Rankings!
6. Michigan State
8. North Carolina
10. Texas Tech
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness)
s Kentucky Wildcats came back from a big hole against Arkansas on Tuesday night to keep themselves among the top four. That same night, No. 3 Duke, without superstar Zion Williamson, fell to a ranked Virginia Tech Hokies squad. Surprisingly, that loss to Virginia Tech was not enough for Lunardi to drop the Blue Devils to a No. 2 seed.
Both Virginia and Gonzaga continue to take care of business week in and week out. If both squads finish out the regular season without another loss, the committee might view them as No. 1 seed locks.
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No. 2 Seeds
Tennessee - East
Michigan - West
North Carolina - Midwest
Michigan State - South
Of this group, UNC has the most potential to sneak their way up to a No. 1 seed. The Tar Heels have momentum on their side, and a possible second victory over Duke on Mar. 9 should move the needle enough.
Tennessee may be lucky to be still holding onto a No. 2 seed. The Volunteers have lost two of their last four, and it's very likely could have been three after a controversial offensive foul call lifted Rick Barnes' team to victory in the final seconds over Ole Miss.
It's hard to imagine either Big Ten school (Michigan or Michigan State) reaching the No. 1 seed threshold at the moment, although a second Spartans win over the Wolverines on Mar. 9 could give Tom Izzo's group a chance.
Last Four In
Arizona State is desperately trying to prevent the "Conference of Champions" from being a one-bid league this year, although yesterday's blowout loss to Oregon (10th place in Pac-12 standings) did not help their chances.
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Seton Hall hasn't played since Lunardi last updated his bracket, so the Pirates held steady in their "Last Four In" slot. The Pirates have two great chances remaining on their schedule to earn quality wins at home against Marquette on Mar. 6 and Villanova on Mar. 9.
Does any bubble team have as difficult a finish to the regular season as Seton Hall? Pirates are at Georgetown tomorrow then host both Marquette and Villanova.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein)
Clemson is trying to regain their footing after losing three straight in mid-February. The Tigers will be tested tomorrow night when North Carolina comes to town.
Helped by a "soft bubble" this season, mid-major Utah State doesn't have many quality wins, but the Aggies only hold three losses in the Mountain West. A victory over No. 12 Nevada on Saturday night might be enough to get this program in the field of 68.
First Four Out
Like Utah State, the only chance of Saint Mary's getting into the big dance will hinge on the program defeating a Goliath tomorrow night. The Gaels face No. 1 Gonzaga in their regular season finale with everything on the line.
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Temple hurt themselves with a loss to Memphis this week. The Owls will have to finish the regular season strong and possibly make a run in the American tournament to earn their right in the field.
Dayton is part of a weak A-10 conference this season, but the Flyers are making a late-season run to place themselves second in the standings behind VCU.
Butler sits at seventh in the Big East but somehow finds themselves on the bubble. The Bulldogs have a chance to secure a quality win over Villanova tomorrow.
Expect changes next week after a jam-packed Saturday of college action!
Related slideshow: 2018-19 college basketball season (provided by imagn)
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