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February 09, 2016

Big Five Bracketology: Villanova sitting pretty; Saint Joe’s back on the bubble

Selection Sunday is a little less than five weeks away and we kinda, sorta can see the roadmap for teams trying to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team. For Temple, who is technically on top of the AAC because of SMU’s postseason ban, wins against UConn and Villanova at the Liacouras Center over the next week seem like a must.

So, where do Villanova and Saint Joe’s currently stand in the various Bracketology posts that were released on Monday? Here are the three outlets that I checked:

•    ESPN, Joe Lunardi
•    CBS Sports, Jerry Palm
•    USA Today, Shelby Mast


Consensus: Top overall seed, playing in Philly

For this week at least, ‘Nova has currently emerged from the musical chairs that is the top of the polls. All three bracketologists forecast Jay Wright’s club having ideal working conditions for the Big Dance: Brooklyn for the first two rounds (or second and third rounds, if we’re getting technical) and then Philly for the regional. You aren’t going to get a better path than that.

The projected 2 seeds in the fictional East Regionals are Maryland and Virginia (who beat ‘Nova in Charlottesville in December), two teams that Villanova should especially try to avoid getting jumped by in the rankings. Luckily, they’ll have Daniel Ochefu back for Tuesday night’s game at DePaul:

Saint Joseph’s

Consensus: Right on the bubble

The Hawks’ margin for error with an excellent 18-4 record is still pretty thin in a weaker than usual Atlantic 10. Last week, they were safely in the field. After dropping a game on Hawk Hill to a respectable St. Bonaventure club, they’re back on the bubble.

Palm has Saint Joe’s as the first team out. Mast has the Hawks as one of the first four teams out. Lunardi (HOMER ALERT!) says that SJU has one of the last four byes. Phil Martelli’s crew has a couple of huge games on the horizon: Wednesday at George Washington (KenPom: 70) and next Wednesday at home against Dayton, the conference’s only lock for the tourney.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann