ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi hasn't wasted much time in beginning his projections for the 2013 NCAA Tournament; on Monday, he released an early guess at the field of 68. Neither Illinois nor Northwestern made the cut, and they were not listed among the first eight schools left out of the tournament, either.
Illinois is in a transitional period with a new head coach and Northwestern has to replace several key components to its 2012 team, including John Shurna. Lunardi must see too many question marks at this point to feel comfortable considering those schools NCAA Tournament-caliber.
Mike Brey's Notre Dame squad is in the field, though, and Lunardi has the Irish as a No. 9 seed. The Irish have made the NCAA Tournament in each of the last three seasons.