Though we heard from Joe Lunardi on Saturday, it's been a while since we last checked out Bracketology. Now seems as good a time as ever to do something about that, especially with the Boise State-TCU
national championship game on TV in the background.
Let's start with Villanova, which Lunardi has as a 2-seed playing 15-seed Vermont in Providence as part of the Midwest (St. Louis) Regional. That would make both schools' fans quite happy.
The winner of that game would play either 7-seed Butler or 10-seed Richmond. Given the romance of Vermont's name and the strength of Butler, I can't help calling this pod the Kyle Whelliston invitational.
The Spiders are one of four Atlantic 10 teams in Lunardi's field. They're joined by Dayton, Rhode Island and Temple, the last of which is Lunardi's pick to win the conference.
Temple is an 8-seed in the East (Syracuse) Regional, and is drawn against 9-seed California in Milwaukee. The winner of that game would face Purdue. West Virginia is the East's 2-seed, which knocks Villanova out of the Carrier Dome.
It's possible that Purdue could slip up, but it will be almost impossible for them to be a top seed is any other region. Kansas is the top team in St. Louis, Texas is the top team in the Houston-based South, and Kentucky is the top team in the Salt Lake City-based West.
So in Lunardi's scenario, the only way for Villanova to be in the East regional is for them to overtake West Virginia.
Other notables in Lunardi's bracket:
- Rhode Island is a 12-seed playing Washington in Spokane, which would also host a Gonzaga-Oregon first-round matchup. The Zags only play one game a year in the Spokane Arena, but they and the Huskies would get quite an advantage playing there. Then again, Oregon would have a short trip too.
- Siena is an 11-seed paired with BYU in San Jose.
- Dayton is an 11-seed paired with Texas A&M in New Orleans.
- Lunardi has Harvard in the Ivy slot on better rankings than Cornell, but he admits that "is not a long-term endorsement" of the Crimson over the Big Red. Harvard is a 13-seed facing Georgetown in Providence. That would be a rematch of a regular-season game betwen thoose two last month.
While the selection committee tries hard to avoid regular-season rematches in the NCAA Tournament, Lunardi told me that is not a factor in his projections at this point in the season.
Elsewhere in the land of mock brackets, MSNBC.com's Mike Miller turned to Bracketville's Dave Ommen for help in building his field of 65.
Miller and Ommen have Villanova as a 3-seed in Providence as part of the South Region, facing Oakland of Michigan. The winner would face VCU or Florida.
Temple is sent to New Orleans, which I'm sure Owls fans would love. Temple is a 6-seed in the Midwest region and would face Vanderbilt, then either Pacific or West Virginia.
Other notables from Miller and Ommen include a potential Butler-Duke second round matchup, and a first-round draw of Cornell and Tennessee in San Jose. That would be the Big Red's third straight trip West, after games in Anaheim two years ago and Boise last March.
It's also a good time to get an update on how the local teams are doing in the statistical rankings. Hopefully this will be a weekly feature from here on out.
I'll be back Wednesday afternoon with the latest Schuylkill 16 rankings as we get ready for the St. Joe's-Temple showdown at Liacouras.
All rankings are as of before Monday's games. In the City Six table, rankings from the last post (Dec. 24) are in parentheses and rankings in the Top 10 are bolded.