Lunardi: Temple and La Salle in, Villanova out of latest projected NCAA Tournament field

John Giannini is trying to get La Salle to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1992. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

Joe Lunardi, a college basketball analyst for ESPN, predicts Temple would be one of the last four teams in the NCAA tournament if the field was picked Friday.

Lunardi, known as Joey Brackets, elevated the Owls (18-8) from one of his first four teams out after Thursday’s 82-74 victory over La Salle.

The St. Joseph’s graduate also predicts that Baylor, California and Mississippi will join Temple as the last four teams in heading into this weekend’s NCAA action.  Meanwhile, Villanova, Kentucky, St. John’s and Southern Mississippi are his first four out. The Wildcats (17-10) were one of his last four in before Thursday night's NCAA action.

The Explorers (18-7) remain in his most recent bracket, which was released Friday.

La Salle, he thinks at the moment, would be the No. 11 seed in East Regional and face No. 6 UNLV in a second-round game at the Wells Fargo Center. Lunardi had the Explorers as his No. 10 seed in the West Regional.

His prediction for the Owls is to get a No. 12 seed, putting them into the first-round, or "play-in" game in Dayton, Ohio, against Baylor in the South Regional.

Lunardi's current prediction also has five Atlantic Ten teams in the field of 68.

He has Butler as the No. 4 seed in the Midwest Regional. St. Louis is ninth in the West Regional, while Virginia Commonweath is ninth in the East Regional.

Villanova entertains No. 17 Marquette on Saturday at the Pavilion, while Temple travels to Charlotte and La Salle visits Rhode Island on Sunday.