Skip to main content

Joe Lunardi Changes His Bracket Picks After Today's Injury News

Joe Lunardi points at the NCAA Tournament bracket.

Joe Lunardi had Virginia set to cut down the nets. That changed with today's unfortunate De’Andre Hunter news.

Hunter, the Hoos' sixth man, is a key player for Tony Bennett. The freshman guard averaged 9.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 33 games this season.

For his efforts, he was named to the ACC's All-Freshman team. He was fifth on the team in average minutes, at 19.9 per game.

He apparently suffered a broken wrist during the ACC Tournament at some point. Now, he's out for the rest of the season.

UVA will still be a popular national title pick. However, with a really tough region that features a likely meeting with either Arizona or Kentucky, losing your fourth-leading scorer is a big blow.

For Joe Lunardi, it is enough to have him switch his national champion.

He was one of the eight of 27 polled ESPN college basketball analysts to go with Virginia. Only Michigan State was a more popular choice, with nine selections.

You can make it 10. In a bout of poor timing, a pre-scheduled tweet with Lunardi's Virginia pick dropped just minutes after Virginia announced the guard's injury.

ESPN's lead bracketologist is now going with Sparty. He had Tom Izzo's team as his title pick in the preseason.

If its any consolation for Virginia fans, he doesn't have UVA flaming out in the Sweet 16. He still thinks the team can beat Arizona, but has No. 2 seed Cincinnati advancing to the Final Four.

Virginia is still an elite defensive club, and could definitely overcome this injury to win it all. However, with the team's relative lack of NCAA Tournament success in recent years during this otherwise excellent Tony Bennett era, it is understandable that people are jumping off of the bandwagon.

Virginia opens its tournament with American East champion UMBC. UVA is currently a 21.5-point favorite against the Retrievers.