Saturday, August 29, 2015

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

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

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

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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.

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About this blog
Keith Pompey has been an Inquirer reporter since September 2004. He took over the Sixers beat in the summer of 2013 after covering the Temple basketball and football for the previous three years. Pompey also previously covered the Penn and Drexel men’s basketball team and Villanova football team after initially focusing on high school sports.

Pompey is a native Philadelphian and a University of Pittsburgh graduate. Follow him on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers or reach Keith at kpompey@phillynews.com.

Keith Pompey Inquirer Staff Writer
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