Tuesday, December 11, 2007

2007 Q&A with ESPN's Joe Lunardi

For the second year in a row, The Aggie Hoops Report has been fortunate enough to catch up with ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi. Joe again took a few minutes of his valuable time to participate in a quick Q&A with us about the 2007-2008 Texas Aggies.

About Joe Lunardi – courtesy of ESPN.com:
Joe Lunardi is the resident bracketologist for ESPN. In fact, he invented Bracketology and has been projecting the NCAA Tournament field for ESPN.com since its inception. Lunardi is a native Philadelphian and a graduate of Saint Joseph's University, where he spends the rest of the year as assistant vice president for marketing communications, and also serves as the radio analyst for SJU men's basketball.

Lunardi has missed only 10 teams in his final tourney projections over the past eight seasons. He has also never over-seeded his beloved Hawks, once writing "I'd put my own mother in the NIT if she played a lousy schedule." You can see Joe throughout the season on ESPNEWS, College GameNight, and other studio shows.

Joe’s Bracketology updates can be found here:

If you have access to ESPN-Insider, you can read Joe’s blog here:

We hope you enjoy our Q&A with Joe!

1.) What impact will the loss at Arizona have in the grand scheme of things for the Aggies as it relates to NCAA seeding?

Not much, as it is pretty much countered by winning the NIT Season Tip-Off. Plus, a "good" road loss such as this is ultimately more helpful to a team's NCAA profile than beating up on an additional cupcake at home.

2.) How good will Arizona be when it is all said and done? Budinger is obviously a premier player and I thought Jerryd Bayless was simply outstanding on Sunday. To me it looks like they could take Arizona a long way this season?

Hard to say with all that is going on in Arizona. The defense is certainly better than in recent years and there is less selfish play on offense. Not sure there is enough experience to move ahead of either UCLA or Washington State in the Pac-10.

3.) With only 5 of their 15 non-conference games against "BCS Conference opponents", will the Aggies be able to drop 3 or 4 Big 12 league games and still be in-line for a top 3 or 4 seed in the tournament?

Depends on who the conference losses come against and how the Aggies do against Texas and Kansas. If they get swept by both, it's hard to image a seed this high. As you say, there's not enough non-conference "pop" to carry them.

4.) Will the selection committee put any stock into the Aggies win in the NIT Season Tip-Off??

Absolutely. Unfortunately for A&M, Ohio State is now looking like a bubble team and Washington has slipped even below that. These were good wins, not great ones, and there's not much the Aggies can do about that.

5.) Obviously a lot of early buzz this season has been about this year's VERY talented freshman class. As I sit here tonight and watch two of the best go head-to-head in USC's OJ Mayo and Memphis' Derrick Rose, who do you see as your top-5 freshmen this year? Where does the Aggies' DeAndre Jordan fit into the freshman-picture? Will any of these guys be back next year?

Jordan made my pre-season Top 10 freshman list. I'll leave speculation about he and his classmates to the NBA personnel people.

6.) OK - I'm going to put you on the spot - give us your Early-December best guess - How far can the Aggies advance in the tournament this year under first year coach Mark Turgeon?

I thought the Aggies would be in the tourney this year and win a game, maybe two. Going to stick with that projection until proven otherwise.

It still seems odd to me to be sitting here having this conversation with you working under the assumption that the Texas Aggies are more-or-less a lock to make the NCAA Tournament. My, how times have changed?!?

You're right, Steve, times really have changed in Aggieland!!

Thanks for your time Joe - Keep up the great work!


At 12/12/2007 10:18 AM, Anonymous Jerryd said...

Thanks for the time Joe. Good stuff.


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