Lunardi Has Wildcats Dancing

NCAA basketball teams have made the final turn and are heading down the homestretch with the NCAA Tournament being the finish line for 65 teams. ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has K-State as a No. 7 seed and heading to the East Regional with a first stop being in Raleigh, N.C.

Pack your bags for Raleigh, N.C., if planning to go dancing with the Wildcats in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

At least that's the early projection of bracketologist Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com, who has placed Kansas State in the East Regional, which will have Charlotte, N.C., as the next stop for those teams winning two sub-Regional games in Florida.

His top two seeds in the East are No. 1 Tennessee and No. 2 Duke.

Lunardi says there's virtually no way for the Wildcats to play their way out of "The Dance," but then quipped, "Even though they seem on the verge of trying."

Lunardi was referring to K-State's current four-game losing streak, and the fact it has dropped five of its last six games.

To K-State's postseason future, Wildcat Michael Beasley said, I let the people pick the teams. I don't want to let my head get caught up in all of that.

The ESPN guru has given Kansas State a No. 7 seed, which is right on national average of 45 bracketologists that have listings posted on-line. Joining the Wildcats as a No. 7 seed are USC, Clemson and St. Mary's.

Lunardi has K-State playing 10-seed Florida, while also in the Raleigh bracket are Duke and Winthrop.

To those teams, and certainly the ones seeded lower, Lunardi warns, "Don't give the committee reason to leave you out. There are going to be more pegs than holes ... more teams than there are spots available. If there are 10 teams vying for four spots, the committee is looking for a reason to knock a team out. The easiest way to do that is lose games late in the year."

While the last 10 games were under consideration last year, because of expanded schedules, this year it's the last 12 games on a schedule that will be considered by the selection committee.

Realistically, K-State will be no better than .500 in those games.

To that, Lunardi said, "The Big 12 has clearly been a league of haves and have-nots. The problem right now is that the haves have forgotten that they're haves, and are playing like have-nots."

Lunardi was referring to the fact that heading into the weekend, Baylor was just 3-6 in its last nine games, Kansas State was 1-4 in its last five games, Oklahoma was 3-5 in its last eight games, and Texas AM was 1-3 in its last four games. And, you can throw Kansas into the mix as the Jayhawks are just 2-2 in the last two weeks.

Of OU and Baylor, Lunardi called their play "erratic," but said both where still among the six teams he has projected for the NCAA Tournament.

"They're all in the field, but certainly all moving down to double-digit seeding territory, which can put you in a position of being worried," said Lunardi, whose real job is director of communications at St. Joseph University in Philadelphia.

"Teams finishing poorly will be could be, and should be nervous."


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