Joe Lunardi’s 2011 Bracket Accuracy

A significant bulk of my site traffic today has come from college forums linking to a year old post on Joe Lunardi’s “bracket predictions” accuracy. I can’t even wait until Monday to post this so I’ve got his final projections on my screen and as the seeding is announced on CBS I’ll provide you with instantaneous results. Unlike the previous posts I am leaving out the placement of the teams in each region/pod. I’ve added “Teams in tournament” because of the expansion as well as First Four projections.

Teams in Tournament

65 of 68 (missed out on UAB, VCU, and Georgia)


Teams Correctly Seeded (Red denotes incorrect projections)


Actual: Ohio State, Duke, Pittsburgh, Kansas

Lunardi: Ohio State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Kansas


Actual: North Carolina, San Diego State, Notre Dame, Florida

Lunardi: UConn, North Carolina, Duke, San Diego State


Actual: Syracuse, UConn, Purdue, BYU

Lunardi: Florida, Kentucky, BYU, Texas


Actual: Kentucky, Texas, Louisville, Wisconsin

Lunardi: Syracuse, Louisville, Purdue, Wisconsin


Actual: West Virginia, Arizona, Vanderbilt, Kansas State

Lunardi: Texas A&M, Xavier, Vanderbilt, Arizona


Actual: Xavier, Cincinnati, Georgetown, St. John’s

Lunardi: UNLV, St. John’s, West Virginia, Kansas State


Actual: Washington, Temple, Texas A&M, UCLA

Lunardi: Washington, Temple, Georgetown, Cincinnati


Actual: George Mason, Michigan (WHAT?!), UNLV, Butler

Lunardi: George Mason, Missouri, UCLA, Utah State


Actual: Villanova, Tennessee, Illinois, Old Dominion

Lunardi: Old Dominion, Marquette, Butler, Gonzaga


Actual: Georgia, Penn State, Florida State, Michigan State

Lunardi: Villanova, Tennessee, Florida State, Richmond


Actual: Marquette, Missouri, USC/VCU (FF), Gonzaga

Lunardi: Illinois, Colorado, Michigan, Michigan State


Actual: Clemson/UAB (FF), Marquette, Memphis, Richmond, Utah State

Lunardi: Memphis, Penn State, USC (FF), Clemson (FF), Va. Tech (FF), St. Mary’s (FF)


Actual: Princeton, Oakland, Morehead State, Belmont

Lunardi: Princeton, Bucknell, Belmont, Oakland


Actual: Indiana State, Bucknell, St. Peters, Wofford

Lunardi: Indiana State, Wofford, Long Island, Morehead State


Actual: Long Island, Northern Colorado, Akron, UC Santa Barbara

Lunardi: St. Peter’s, UC Santa-Barbara, Northern Colorado, UNC-Asheville


Actual: Hampton, Alabama State/UTSA (FF), Boston U, UNC-Asheville/Arkansas Little Rock (FF)

Lunardi: Alabama State (FF), Hampton (FF), Arkansas Little Rock (FF), UT San Antonio (FF), Boston U, Akron

TOTAL: 30 of 68 (.441)

2010: 27 of 65 (.415)

2009: 31 of 65 (.478)


First Four

5 of 8 (.625) – Correctly predicted USC, Clemson, Alabama State, Ark LR, and UTSA. Missed UAB, VCU, and UNC-Asheville.


As a nugget Lunardi was 100% on the money in matching Notre Dame against Akron and San Diego State against Northern Colorado. For the latter he even got the seeding and location of the game right, as well. Once again the middle seeds (#8-#12) are Joe’s weakest spot with a paltry 5 of 22 success rate.

Okay you eager bastards, have you gotten your fix? For someone who isn’t a part of the NCAA committee no one is more lauded and treated like a messiah like Joe Lunardi. This bracket projection thing is really hard to do but this whole self-titled “bracketologist” thing is completely overblown when all is said and done.

Make your own opinion based on this info. This doesn’t mean Lunardi sucks (the committee should seriously be sacked for Illinois’ #9 seed) but it does point out he’s not infallible like ESPN makes him out to be.


9 thoughts on “Joe Lunardi’s 2011 Bracket Accuracy

  1. Shawn

    Who cares how many seeds he got correct? As we’ve seen, it’s impossible to know if the committee will put a team in the 4 or 5 seed. I’d like to see you to run the numbers and see how many he got correct with +/- 1 seed. I bet it was over 85%. The only thing that really matters, anyway, is predicting all the teams that got in. And this year was his worst in several years (3 missed picks is as many as he has had in the past 3 years combined). So, obviously, the guy knows what he’s talking about. Besides, the committee was obviously drunk this year when picking teams.

    1. Mookie Post author

      I’ll run the numbers again. Thanks for the idea.

      I never intended it to be a Joe Lunardi slander post but I just think the role he’s given is blasphemous and the way ESPN treats him is god-like.

      The committee’s issue with seeding was far worse than leaving Colorado or Va. Tech out. USC getting in was garbage but Michigan as an 8 seed was insane.

    2. Mookie Post author

      Ran the numbers. He got 54/68 (79%) seeded within the +/- 1 seed.

      I only partially agree that predicting all the teams that get in is the one that matters the most. Given over 50+ teams are autobids or at-large locks everything else is basically down to picking “Last Four In”. The achievement in projecting them is not a really difficult feat unless you have a committee like this one who thinks UAB is a tournament team.

  2. Bobby Johnson

    The guy who has been consistently doing better than Joe Lunardo is Jerry Palm, who runs

    This year, Jerry correctly picked 66 of the 68 teams in the bracket, which is better than Lunardo did.

    Over the last four years, Jerry has picked the the following:

    2008: 65 for 65
    2009: 64 for 65
    2010: 65 for 65
    2011: 66 for 68
    Total: 260 for 263, or 98.9%.

    Also, Joe Lunardi starting devising stats, terms, categories on ESPN a few years ago that are a complete ripoff of the exact same things Jerry Palm was doing for a decade. Lunardi’s work is copycat, but not as good as Palm’s work.

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