Lunardi exceptional from start to finish

Posted: March 21, 2014

THERE IS NO one better than Joe Lunardi when it comes to predicting which teams will make the NCAA Tournament each year.

The nation's one and only bracketologist correctly picked 67 of the 68 teams in this year's Big Dance.

When he's not bracketologizing, Lunardi is the assistant vice president for marketing communication at Saint Joseph's University, where he even teaches a non-credit course in bracketology. He also "publishes" a weekly bracket on ESPN.com throughout the season.

And, while it's incredible that he was almost perfect in his final picks, his first attempt at predicting the tournament teams was equally impressive.

On Nov. 7, before any teams had even played a game, Lunardi correctly guessed almost 65 percent of the field.

Six months later, you find that 44 teams from that first bracket, including Villanova, made the tournament. He even predicted that Cal Poly and Texas Southern would meet in a play-in game.

At the time, Lunardi - obviously a big St. Joe's fan - did not have the Hawks in the field. Among his misfires were La Salle and Drexel. But he did have Weber State and Manhattan.

Take that, Dick Vitale!

McDermott optimistic

Creighton star Doug McDermott scored a slam dunk on Twitter yesterday.

ESPN basketball insider Jeff Goodman tweeted that, "To pass Maravich for most points all-time, Doug McDermott needs to reach title game & avg 94 PPG in tourney."

To which McDermott replied: "So you're saying there's a chance?"

Exploring the past

Sixty years ago today, La Salle defeated Bradley, 92-76, to win the NCAA Tournament in Kansas City.

Frank Blatcher and Charles Singley score 23 each and Tom Gola added 19 for the Explorers.

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