Bracketology watch: Joe Lunardi drops 3 SEC teams in newest NCAA Tournament projection

The Bracketology outlook for the SEC remains strong 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 10 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 Thursday.

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. 8 in South Region Seton Hall
Arkansas No. 9 in East Region Saint Mary’s
Auburn No. 2 in South Region Wright St.
Florida No. 7 in Midwest Region Kansas St.
Kentucky No. 5 in Midwest Region Winner of USC/Syracuse
Missouri No. 7 in East Region Providence
Tennessee No. 4 in East Region Buffalo
Texas A&M No. 9 in West Region Creighton

So how does this projection differ from the one he released on Monday? A few notable differences:

  • Missouri was not significantly impacted by a disappointing loss to Ole Miss on Tuesday evening. The Tigers maintained their spot on the No. 7 line in Lunardi’s bracket.
  • Texas A&M is in free-fall mode, dropping from No. 6 seed on Monday to a No. 9 seed on Thursday. Lunardi dinged the Aggies for the Tuesday night home loss to Mississippi State.
  • Arkansas lost to Kentucky by 15 points and actually moved up from a No. 9 seed to No. 8.
  • Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament scare seems to have passed. The Cats have won two in a row since a four-game losing skid shook things up, and they’re back on the climb in the tournament projections. A No. 5 seed at this point in the season is an indication that they’re pretty safe, barring an epic collapse.
  • Florida’s tumble in the bracketology watch continues. A loss at Tennessee on Wednesday night moved the Gators down to the No. 7 seed line. Less than two weeks ago, Florida was considered a top-4 seed program.
  • Alabama dropped from a No. 7 seed to a No. 8 after the loss at Auburn on Wednesday.
  • Georgia remains as the final team on Lunardi’s list of “Next Four Out” in spite of a loss to South Carolina on Wednesday night. For all intents and purposes, the Bulldogs are the “bubble line” for Lunardi right now.

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 drops 3 SEC teams in newest NCAA Tournament projection appeared first on SEC Country.

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