Okay, we lied.
We’re going to take one more look at the way too early college basketball hype stuff, only because bracketology adds an interesting angle to the various 2022-23 college basketball prognostications we’ve seen thus far, following the decision by Trayce Jackson-Davis to return and the passage of the NBA Draft withdrawal deadline.
The NCAA Tournament is what it’s all about, after all.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know by now that virtually every national outlet sees Indiana as the favorite in the Big Ten conference next season.
But what does that mean from a bracketology standpoint?
It’s been a long time since Archie Miller berated well known ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, at one point comparing him to Sesame Street character Oscar the Grouch.
Archie asked about the bubble…..
Ended up comparing @ESPNLunardi to Oscar the Grouch.
“Every bracketology is a children’s show.”
— Olivia Ray (@OliviaRayTV) March 7, 2020
That was in March of 2020, just days before the world changed forever.
Much has changed on the IU basketball landscape since then as well. Miller is now the head coach at Rhode Island, and new Indiana coach Mike Woodson has the outlook as bright in Bloomington as it has been in at least six years.
It was at this point seven years ago Indiana was preparing for a 2015-16 season that resulted in its most recent Big Ten title. Lunardi’s too early bracketology looks a little bit like the actual 2016 NCAA Tournament bracket, when outright Big Ten champ IU was only a No. 5 seed. That came as part of a relatively down year in the league. Seven Big Ten teams made the NCAA field that year, with only Michigan State earning better than a No. 5 seed.
In 2023 Lunardi thinks eight Big Ten teams will be in the tournament, led by automatic qualifier Indiana with a No. 4 seed. The automatic qualifier tag assumes the Hoosiers will win their first ever Big Ten Tournament. So this is the latest national prediction putting IU as the league favorite, and another indication that the conference may not have a top-10 level squad.
Lunardi slots Indiana in the South Region, starting in Albany N.Y. That would be the favored region for IU, with the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds in Louisville, Ky. The other regional final locations are Kansas City, New York and Las Vegas.
Here are the other seven Big Ten teams Lunardi projects to be in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, and their seed:
- Michigan (6)
- Illinois (6)
- Michigan State (7)
- Purdue (7)
- Ohio State (9)
- Iowa (10)
- Rutgers (11) – First Four
From a Big Ten standpoint, the most noteworthy absence from Lunardi’s field is Wisconsin. The Badgers have been in 21 of the last 22 NCAA Tournaments. Lunardi lists them as part of the “next four out.”
Lunardi’s No. 1 seeds are Gonzaga, Kentucky, Houston, and North Carolina.
The 2023 Final Four is in Houston.
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