Lunardi on the Atlantic 11
D.C. native, Atlantic 11 voter and Philly college sports blogger Jonathan Tannenwald (of Soft Pretzel Logic fame) caught up with ESPN's Joe Lunardi at the A 10 tournament and asked him where our locals stand.
By Jonathan Tannenwald, in Atlantic City
The most popular man in town this week is not some musician or comedian. It's Joe Lunardi, the ESPN.com bracketologist who is playing all week at Boardwalk Hall as the radio color analyst for St. Joseph's basketball.
He is perhaps the only guy I've ever seen get cheered at the same time by both sides of the fierce rivalry between Temple and St. Joe's. Which is sort of like. Uh. Well, it's not really like anything on the Atlantic 11 scene, because your teams don't actually play each other all that often. Except for AU and Maryland, though that one too might have gone out the window at this point.
But anyway, while the Philly people were all going crazy about the fact that the Owls and Hawks met in the A-10 championship game, I got a hold of Lunardi for a few minutes to get his insights on the A-11 teams that are headed to the NCAA Tournament next week. As well as a few that might be, and one that definitely isn't. (Take a guess.)
Georgetown: "I think Georgetown's limit is a 2. I'm sure they'd like to be in the conversation for a 1 seed. I just think there are too many teams for them to pass. If they add a Big East tournament tile to their regular season title, they'll be a 2."
George Mason: "I have George Mason as a 13 today. They could percolate up to a 12. They need teams to lose, they need some favorites to lose in the one-bid leagues and there aren't many left. I think George Mason is going to be a 12 or a 13."
VCU: "They're in it because of all the losses [by other teams]. They keep showing up in my 'last four out,' and I don't see why they won't stay there or get every consideration as a regular season champion."
American: "[Beating Maryland] gets you out of the play-in game. How's that? ... I just think that American's overall profile -- some of the 15s are pretty good and have pedigree. Belmont has been in the tournament three years in a row, San Diego just beat Gonzaga and St. Mary's. The gap between the 15s and 16s needs to be evaluated in as much detail as the gaps between the 1s and 2s."
Morgan State: "Morgan State will be a 16."
UMBC: "UMBC could slip up to a 15, but I think they'll be a 16-seed as well. It's going to be a great year for 16s in the nation's capital."
Virginia Tech: "They do [still have a shot], because they play North Carolina on Saturday and a win over the No. 1 team in the country is rarely bad."
Maryland (just to add another few words to the pile that's already being set on fire in College Park): "I think if they had gotten to the finals that might have been enough....A finals berth would have done it for the Terps."
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