By LARRY VAUGHT
ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi break down the NCAA Tournament hopefuls for months during the basketball season with updates on seedings for teams who does or does not get into the tournament.
On Tuesday he talked about a variety of things on an ESPN teleconference call, including where Kentucky might be seeded.
“I think they can move up one line to a three (seed). I didn’t think they can do more than that. You know, because, let’s be honest, this is not a vintage Kentucky resume, or certainly a number one or number two seed resume,” said Lunardi. “I don’t have the SEC draw sheet in front of me. I’m going take a look. What is the worst possible loss they could suffer?”
Told it would be to either to Mississippi or Alabama in Friday’s quarterfinals, he said that would not be a huge blow to UK’s tournament seed.
“I don’t think that would cost them any more than dropping to a five. But I think it’s the most likely they’re going to stay right where they are (at a four) unless they win the tournament,” Lunardi said.
Some have indicated the SEC Tournament championship game will not factor into a team’s seeding if the team is already in the tourney field. Lunardi said he had “never heard that stated on the record.”
He also didn’t agree with ESPN analyst Dick Vitale’s contention that seedings did not matter that much this year and there would not be much difference between a one seed or a three seed.
“Well, I buy it to a degree. If the 1s are weaker across the board, and until the recent surge by Kansas they were maybe the weakest group of 1s that I’ve ever had, were kind of blinded by the fact that last year was arguably the first or second strongest group of 1s that we’ve ever had, I would still rather be a 1 than a 4. I would rather play a 16 than a 13, and an 8 or a 9 versus a 5,” Lunardi said.
“So you know, you can say all you want about throwing seeding out the window, but they’re going to spend hours and hours and hours on seeding, and coaches and league people and media are spending hours and hours and hours asking about whether my team can be a 6 or a 7, so it must mean something still, and I would still want to get the best seed that I can get.”
He feels Kentucky and Texas A&M are the only two “locks” in the SEC to be in the tournament field.
“I know that South Carolina thinks they are a lock. And they probably are, but I think they have kind of a hold‑your‑nose resume. Same with Vandy, because in the case of Vandy, they don’t win on the road, and in the case of South Carolina, they play just a horrible schedule,” Lunardi said. “I think both will get in, but I’m not buying their stock, necessarily.
“And then, you’re getting in the likes of this kind of cluttered middle of LSU and Alabama and Georgia, and whoever else wants to make a case. And, to be honest, I don’t think any of them are good enough, and I don’t think any of them are going to play their way in over the next few days.”