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Posted on Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

First 'Bracketology' of the season gives Michigan basketball a No. 7 seed in NCAA tourney

By Nick Baumgardner

It's December, but for's Joe Lunardi, it's never too early to think about March.

Lunardi,'s resident "Bracketologist," released his first NCAA tournament projections Thursday, slotting the No. 20 Michigan basketball team as a No. 7 seed.


Michigan basketball coach John Beilein and the Wolverines are worthy of a No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament, according to one projection.

Jeff Sainlar |

In Lunardi's projection, Michigan begin the tournament playing No. 10 Cleveland State in Columbus, Ohio.

Lunardi's early projection has eight Big Ten teams as tournament qualifiers, tied with the Big East for the most of any conference.

Other Big Ten teams in Lunardi's first bracket are Ohio State (No. 1 seed), Indiana (No. 4 seed), Michigan State (No. 4 seed), Wisconsin (No. 4 seed) Illinois (No. 6 seed), Northwestern (No. 10 seed), Purdue (No. 10 seed).

Lunardi, who actually teaches a course called "Fundamentals of Bracketology" at St. Joseph's University, has been predicting NCAA tournament brackets for ESPN since 2002. In the past eight seasons, he's averaged no more than one miss per year in his projections.

Michigan returns to the court Saturday when it hosts Alabama A&M (noon, Big Ten Network).

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.

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Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:05 a.m.

They will be lucky to make the tournament

Larry Weisenthal

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:02 a.m.

Disrespected! I'll project a #4 seed for 'M'