LUNARDI: Observations of NCAA Tourney

LUNARDI: I still think for Kentucky to fall off the top line four teams would have to be better than they are. That is really unlikely.

Here are some observations he offered Wednesday afternoon on the upcoming NCAA tourney.

n Is there any way Kentucky could end up not being a No. 1 seed?

Lunardi: "I guess they could lose out and that would put them at 27-5. I still think for Kentucky to fall off the top line four teams would have to be better than they are. That is really unlikely. Our odds program is showing them 80 to 85 percent as a top seed and that probably is on the low side. The reality of the situation is that for the better part of four months they have been one of the best four teams in the country and the (NCAA selection) committee knows that."

n What is Florida's status are losing at home to Vanderbilt Tuesday night?

Lunardi: "I thought if they got a split of the last two games, and I am not saying either was easy because Georgia is playing well at home and Vanderbilt is a very good team, but having lost both and having to presume they will lose at Kentucky (Sunday) ... I am not saying it's guaranteed (they will lose at Kentucky), but they will be underdogs for a reason.

"They will have to win a game or two (in the SEC Tournament). They will play one of the weaker West teams. They have to win one for sure and maybe two depending on how other bubble teams shake out. They would only need to win a first-round game if they had not lost their last two." n Is the Southeastern Conference better positioned to be a factor in this year's NCAA Tournament than it was last year?

Lunardi: "You have absolutely a Final Four, national championship contender in Kentucky. You could have a couple of Sweet Sixteen and beyond contenders in Vanderbilt and Tennessee. Florida is decent. The Mississippis still have hope, but they cannot get out of their own way or overcome their division. I would say it has been a step forward for the SEC and if they get a team in the Final Four, I am sure all will be forgive for last year (and the poor tourney showing)."

n Does leading the SEC Western Division mean Mississippi State will be in the tournament? Lunardi: "They are my next to last team in now. They have some bad losses. People talk about the last four out as the group to watch, but the last four in is more the group to watch. We do not know who will be this year's Cleveland State and knock off Butler to get in the tournament. (NCAA) Spots could shrink, not grow. Mississippi State could stand still and get knocked out as the field expands."


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