Bracketology watch: Joe Lunardi changes seed for 7 of 8 SEC teams in new NCAA Tournament projection

The bracketology outlook for the SEC continues to be strong, if not wildly fluid, as the NCAA Tournament quickly approaches.

ESPN bracket expert Joe Lunardi is now updating his field of 68 projections multiple times each week as we head toward the home stretch of the college basketball regular season. And the one thing that seems to remain constant is his belief that the SEC will be an eight-bid league when it comes time for the NCAA selection committee to reveal its final choices next month.

Only the ACC, with 9 teams, is projected to place more in the tournament.

More than half of the SEC is projected to join the 2018 men’s basketball NCAA Tournament field in Lunardi’s  latest bracket release on Monday. And a ninth team may be knocking on the door as well.

Here’s a look at each SEC team he projects to make the NCAA Tournament, along with the predicted seed and opponent:

Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology projections for the SEC

SEC TEAM PROJECTED SEED PROJECTED OPPONENT
Alabama No. 9 in South Region Seton Hall
Arkansas No. 8 in Midwest Region Miami (Fla.)
Auburn No. 3 in South Region UNC Greensboro
Florida No. 6 in Midwest Region Middle Tennessee
Kentucky No. 5 in Midwest Region Loyola-Chicago
Missouri No. 9 in West Region Butler
Tennessee No. 3 in West Region Northern Kentucky
Texas A&M No. 7 in East Region Kansas St.

So how does this projection differ from the one he released on Thursday? Quite a bit, actually.

Let’s break it down:

  • After several weeks of looking secure on the No. 2 seed line, Auburn has dropped to No. 3 in Lunardi’s latest projection. That’d be a huge disappointment for Tigers fans who have their hearts set on that No. 15 matchup in the first round, but there’s still time for Bruce Pearl to turn things around.
  • Alabama is still projected to play Seton Hall in No. 8 vs. No. 9 matchup, but Lunardi has dropped the Crimson Tide from No. 8 to No. 9 in the scenario. That may only mean a change in uniform color to most, but it could be a sign that Alabama is vulnerable and could slip back into the bubble watch if the Tide doesn’t finish the season strongly.
  • Arkansas’ solid play is finally getting noticed by the bracket guru, as the Hogs moved up to a No. 8 seed. Miami would not be a fun draw, though.
  • Florida stopped its bracketology free fall, jumping back onto the No. 6 seed line after falling from No. 4 seed all the way to No. 7 seed in a matter of two weeks. Middle Tennessee, which has won its first round games against Michigan State and Minnesota during the last two tournaments, would not be an ideal draw though.
  • Missouri came crashing down in the latest projection, dropping from a No. 7 to No. 9 seed after a blowout loss at Kentucky over the weekend.
  • Speaking of the Cats, Kentucky has settled into the group of No. 5 seeds after putting a four-game losing streak firmly in the rear-view mirror.
  • Tennessee moved up from No. 4 to No. 3 seed as Rick Barnes’ team joins Auburn as the league’s top seeded teams in Lunardi’s bracket.
  • Texas A&M made a big move forward, moving from No. 9 seed projection on Thursday to the No. 7 seed line on Monday.

The league placed two teams in the latest AP Poll, which was released on Monday, Feb. 19.

College basketball rankings: AP Top 25

1
Virginia (42)
ACC
Record: 24-2
PV Rank

1

Points

1,601

2
Michigan State (19)
Big Ten
Record: 26-3
2
1,565
3
Villanova (4)
Big East
Record: 24-3
3
1,509
4
Xavier
Big East
Record: 24-4
4
1,398
5
Duke
ACC
Record: 22-5
12
1,292
6
Texas Tech
Big 12
Record: 22-5
7
1,206
6
Gonzaga
West Coast
Record: 25-4
9
1,206
8
Kansas
Big 12
Record: 21-6
13
1,166
9
Purdue
Big Ten
Record: 24-5
6
1,130
10
North Carolina
ACC
Record: 21-7
14
1,074
11
Cincinnati
American Athletic Conference (AAC)
Record: 23-4
5
954
12
Auburn
SEC
Record: 23-4
10
873
13
Wichita State
American Athletic Conference (AAC)
Record: 21-5
19
870
14
Arizona
Pac-12
Record: 21-6
17
831
15
Clemson
ACC
Record: 20-6
11
683
16
Ohio State
Big Ten
Record: 22-7
8
680
17
Michigan
Big Ten
Record: 22-7
22
615
18
Rhode Island
Atlantic 10
Record: 21-4
16
455
19
Tennessee
SEC
Record: 19-7
18
427
20
Nevada
Mountain West
Record: 23-5
24
330
21
West Virginia
Big 12
Record: 19-8
20
329
22
Saint Mary’s (Cal)
West Coast
Record: 25-4
15
291
23
Houston
American Athletic Conference (AAC)
Record: 21-5
263
24
Middle Tennessee
Conference USA
Record: 22-5
87
25
Florida State
ACC
Record: 19-8
63

Others receiving votes: Baylor 52, Kentucky 33, Arizona St 32, Arkansas 23, UCLA 20, St. Bonaventure 13, Virginia Tech 12, Creighton 10, Penn St. 6, Kansas St 5, Missouri 5, Texas A&M 4, TCU 4, Butler 2, Loyola of Chicago 2, Alabama 1, Oklahoma 1, Boise St. 1, ETSU 1.

The post Bracketology watch: Joe Lunardi changes seed for 7 of 8 SEC teams in new NCAA Tournament projection appeared first on SEC Country.

Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.

X