BracketBuster Weekend WrapupPosted by rtmsf on February 22nd, 2010
Ryan Restivo is the RTC correspondent for the CAA and an occasional contributor.
I don’t think this is a news flash but the BracketBusters format is broken. The teams that really could have benefitted from BracketBuster games such as Cornell and St. Mary’s chose not to participate. Both of those schools could have used another chance to prove their strength against the at-large field in an effort to bolster their resume for March Madness. Until the tournament expands to 96 or 100 or 347 teams, there were only two headline games in BracketBusters this year and both were a resounding dud. Northern Iowa blew out Old Dominion and Siena could not hang with ranked Butler in Hinkle Fieldhouse. However, if you are a fan of mid-major college basketball, you probably got to see teams that will be showcased in this year’s NIT or other postseason events.
Meanwhile, let’s take a look at the winners and losers of this past weekend’s BracketBusters.
Winner: Missouri Valley Conference. The Valley quietly went 7-3 in the event starting with a Northern Iowa crushing of Old Dominion at home on Friday night. There’s a good chance that Northern Iowa clinched an at-large berth should they fall in their conference tournament and the Valley could benefit from the lack of major conference at-large bids by bringing in two. It will likely not match the four it put in 2006 but the winner of this conference will be a dark horse for an upset come mid-March.
Loser: Siena. The Saints had the lead at halftime against Butler but could not find the basket in the second half, eventually falling by 17 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Siena lost every game against top-50 RPI opponents this year, and unless Siena wins the MAAC Tournament, the Saints are off the bubble.
Winner: Utah State. The Aggies are going to be on the fence for an at-large bid only because of their weak non-conference schedule. But their tournament resume got a little stronger Saturday with a 10-point win over visiting Wichita State. Utah State’s claim to fame this year is a 10-point home win over BYU. One statistical reason the Aggies should be in? They are the nation’s best (43%) from behind the arc and are fifth in the nation in free throw percentage at 77%. The only problem they have, other than a weak schedule, is that five of the six Aggie losses have been on the road so it will be interesting to see how they handle a road-neutral environment.
Loser: Colonial Athletic Association. The CAA went 3-9 in BracketBusters and blew two games in almost the same way over this weekend. George Mason’s Ryan Pearson drove too hard to the hole and got called for charging late with a chance to tie the game against Charleston, and GMU lost by two. Northeastern’s Matt Janning got called on a similar charge with a chance to take the lead in their game against Louisiana Tech and also lost by two. This was a weekend where if the CAA could grab a few of their five TV games it would have given the conference a great chance at getting multiple bids for the first time since in several year. However, the CAA managed to win only one of their TV games and the non-TV games weren’t any better. Every CAA team that went on the road lost, and lost by an average of 11.5 points. Unfortunately, it looks like the CAA will be a one-bid conference again this year
Ryan Restivo of the MAAC-based SienaSaintsBlog is the RTC correspondent for the Colonial Athletic Association. SienaSaintsBlog now features exclusive video! When not covering the CAA for Rush The Court, Ryan writes about Fantasy Baseball on Rotosavants.com, on his own website RyanRestivo.com and at SienaSaintsBlog.com. Ryan will take your questions here.