On Tuesday, Joe Lunardi – ESPN’s March Madness bracket wizard – updated his tournament seeding predictions for the upcoming NCAA basketball season.
Similar to the prior rendition of his rankings, Lunardi has Memphis slotted in as a 4-seed for the 2020 variation of March Madness. While the Tigers do have the number one overall recruiting class for 2019, many pundits are hesitant to predict too much from a program whose last tournament appearance was in 2014.
Last year, the 4-seeds produced a mix bag of results as a pair of those team made it to the sweet 16 (Virginia Tech and Florida State), while Kansas fell in the round of 32. Kansas State suffered the worst result of the four with an early exit in the round of 64, falling in upset fashion to 13-seed UC Irvine.
All of the 4 seeds from last year won between 24 and 27 games prior to the NCAA tournament. In addition, their strength of schedules ranged from 1st (Kansas) to 54th (VT). To put all this in perspective, last year Memphis won 21 games prior to the NIT and finished the season with the 74th strongest schedule.
While Memphis does not have the advantage of playing in the Big 12 or ACC – which would likely increase their strength of schedule – the Tigers will still have opportunities to impress nationally throughout the season.
Another relevant item to note is that Lunardi projects the American Athletic Conference to be a 3 bid league with Memphis joining Houston and Cincinnati in the Big Dance.
Zak (@BarnBurnerBro) is a native Memphian who covers the Memphis Grizzlies, Tigers, and St. Louis Cardinals for The Barn. He spends his free time exploring breweries, restaurants, and leading the Ivan Rabb stan club.