Lunardi: Owls, Explorers barely in NCAA tourney field

La Salle guard Earl Pettis (23) tries to get past Temple Owls forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (32) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 in Philadelphia. Temple won 80-79 in overtime. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Temple and La Salle would both play in first-round games if the NCAA tournament field was picked today, according to ESPN college basketball analyst Joe Lunardi. There are only four first-round games in the field of 68.

The Owls would be one of two No. 12 seeds in the West region, while the Explorers are projected to be one of the East region’s two 11 seeds. All of the first-round games will be played in Dayton.

Lunardi, known as Joey Brackets, has the Owls facing the region’s other No. 12 seed St. Mary’s. The winner would face No. 5 Marquette in second-round matchup in Kansas City.

The St. Joseph’s graduate, who does Hawks radio broadcasts, has La Salle facing the East’s other No. 11 seed, Virginia. The victor would face No. 6 seed Creighton in a second-rounder in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Temple and La Salle are the only City 6 teams listed on Lunardi’s latest bracket. He has a total of five Atlantic Ten teams playing in the tourney.

Butler is projected as the East region’s No. 4 seed. Virginia Commonwealth is the No. 8 seed in the Midwest, while St. Louis is 11th in the West.

 Click here to view Lunardi's update Bracketology blog post.