Thursday, March 21, 2013 3:58 pm
Lunardi revels in perfect prediction
By DAN GELSTONAP Basketball Writer
"The Bracketologist" went a flawless 68 for 68 in picking the NCAA tournament field. He predicted every team to make the NCAA tournament and nailed the seed or was within one line of 61 teams.
"I guessed right," Lunardi said, chuckling. "I didn't think I could miss more than one."
Lunardi guesses the field in advance of the tournament, and his picks are updated daily - and scrutinized much longer - on ESPN.com. His bracket used to be updated daily. Now, he's rewriting his bracket after almost every game in March. He said Bracketology has become a 16-hour day job over the final 10 days until the field is unveiled on Selection Sunday.
"I just feed the beast," he said.
Lunardi's fascination started back in 1981, when he was a senior at Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia and the sports editor of the school paper. His first mock brackets appeared in the Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook, which he edited, and Lunardi eventually gave the projections to ESPN.com in exchange for the website plugging the 1-800 number to buy the book.
Lunardi says the bracket was an instant smash, with the link getting 250,000 hits in the first 90 minutes.
Lunardi, the chief marketing officer for Saint Joseph's and the Hawks' radio announcer, said he picked a perfect bracket for the first time since 2008.
"It's more an exhale than it is a chest bump," he said. "I don't think I work any hard or better the years that they're not all right."
So how about a perfect bracket now that the field is set? Forget about it. Not even Lunardi could call that shot.
But Lunardi still filled one out, like millions of other fans. He picked Louisville over Florida in the national championship game.
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