Am I stalking Joe Lundardi (ESPN superstar basketball analyst and overall genius)? Whatever! Of course not! Do I desperately crave and seek his approval to validate my own sense of self worth? Maybe. I dunno.
Listen, one “professional” scientist
aggressively fishing gently soliciting the approval of another hardly makes a case for stalking. This happens on LinkedIn all the time. Besides, does Joe even know I exist? Sometimes, I sit in the dark and listen to “Behind Blue Eyes” over and over again as I ask myself that very question. Normal stuff! Let’s get science-y.
What is ESPN Bracketology?
The Readers Digest Version: ESPN Bracketology is spearheaded by ESPN “Bracketologist” Joe Lundardi, who attempts to predict the March Madness Field of 64 based off (we assume) 1) ESPN RPI, 2) ESPN BPI (which is some kind of mysterious power index) and 3) Lundardi’s gut.
For the sake of the Forgotten, we’ll
half-ass analyze Bracketology each week with Forgotten Forensics to hold Lundardi’s gut to the fire.
What is Forgotten5 Forgotten Forensics?
Forgotten Forensics, January 20 Edition
The American is still stuck at 2
I’m certain that Joe Lundardi read my recent column declaring the American the “best damn basketball conference in the nation,” so it’s puzzling to see the AAC still relegated to two spots on the bracket. Cincinnati and SMU continue to occupy positions in Bracketology hierarchy. But look out for Houston (44 Kenpom), UCF (69, hee hee) and Memphis (70) to make a push for a third and even fourth spot.
Nevada is in (thanks to Forensics?)
Last week, Forgotten Forensics demanded that Nevada be granted entry to the Bracketology bracket. And now look, there they are, sitting at a handsome 12th seed as the Mountain West’s sole representative. See, kids, this is what happens when you press pen to paper and forge your sizzling hot words into a sword of justice! Also, it helps that the Wolf Pack has won four straight to take command of the Mountain West. That really does help.
Conference USA is a one bid conference
According to CBSSports.com conference RPI, C-USA is the 24th strongest conference in the nation. By contrast, the Sun Belt is ranked 13th, and the American is ranked 8th. It’s nice to see Lundardi come to his senses and dump Marshall for good while sticking with the much stronger Middle Tennessee at the 10th seed, which considering the Blue Raider’s 61 Sagarin rating, may be seeded too high.
This is not shaping up to be the Sun Belt’s big year
With the out-of-conference schedule completed, the Sun Belt has spent the last three weeks beating itself up, with conference favorite UT-Arlington (82 Kenpom) getting housed by Texas State and Troy, Arkansas State (109) stumbling on the road to Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State, and Louisiana (116) completely falling apart at home to Georgia State and Georgia Southern. Speaking of Georgia Southern, the Eagles (133) are 5-0 in conference and are currently enjoying a 15th seeding in Bracketology.
The MAC has the Zips and…and…
The MAC hasn’t exactly become the Big 10 of the Group of Five for hoops. The Big 10 has seven spots in Lundardi’s bracket. The MAC has one, and it belongs to conference leader Akron, the only program in the Mid-American with a sub-100 RPI. Yuck!
So far, the Group of Five is mostly One and Done
As my colleague Jeremy Adcock points out, the Bubble has not been kind to the Forgotten. Lundardi’s Bracketology paints a very bleak picture for G5 teams this week, with only Houston half ass sticking around in the Next Four Out box. Just as it is in football, the distance between the G5 and P5 is growing.