The 2018 NCAA Tournament just wrapped up, but that won’t stop anyone from taking a long look ahead at 2019’s edition of March Madness. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi goes first, giving the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team a 5-seed in his early bracketology picks.
Should Lunardi’s prediction come true, the Orange would lead off the NCAAs against Marshall (who upset Wichita State this year) in Salt Lake City, then face the winner of Texas Tech vs. UL-Lafayette. If they were to make the Sweet 16, they’d face the winner of the Villanova vs. Houston/Boston College game in the round of 32. That feels weird, but this whole exercise is, really.
Lunardi picks 11 different ACC teams in his 2019 field. Those teams, in order:
- Duke Blue Devils (No. 1 seed overall)
- Virginia Cavaliers (2-seed)
- North Carolina Tar Heels (2-seed)
- Virginia Tech Hokies (4-seed)
- Syracuse Orange (5-seed)
- Florida State Seminoles (7-seed)
- Clemson Tigers (7-seed)
- Louisville Cardinals (8-seed)
- Boston College Eagles (9-seed)
- N.C. State Wolfpack (11-seed)
- Miami Hurricanes (11-seed)
Though 11 teams would tie the previous tie set by the Big East in 2011, this is not that league at all. That year, nine Big East squads were top-six seeds, with Marquette and Villanova serving as the lone outliers. Lunardi’s ACC layout has just five on the top six lines.
However, like 2011, this bracket just fall into the crowding issue as well. In Syracuse’s South region, there are four ACC squads (UNC, SU, BC and Miami). The West has three (Virginia, Louisville, NC State), leaving two apiece in the other two regions. We have no idea what Boston College will look like in 2019, but facing a familiar foe like the Eagles -- if they somehow manage to get by 1-seed Villanova, that is -- would not be preferred.
Obviously this is all pointless conjecture, but still fun to consider where next year could head for the Orange. Think the seeding’s too high or low? Hate the regional layout? Share your own thoughts below.