The last year of BracketBusters has some intriguing matchups as mid majors look for another win to validate their resume come selection Sunday. Before we get into the specific matchups, I’d like to just say that I’m sorry to see the event go. While it has it’s flaws, the concept is fantastic. There’s no way you’d see a Duke schedule these teams in February or early March. I’d almost have liked to see teams sign up for the event in December as a chance for even majors to get one more chance to add a game. I’m pretty sure a team like UVA or one of these Atlantic 10 bubble teams would love a chance to play a Creighton or St. Mary’s to help their ailing resumes.
That said, let’s get to the matchups of interest and we’ve gotta start with South Dakota State at Murray State. This features two underrated players in Isaiah Canaan and Nate Wolters. SD State has an RPI around 66 right now while the Racers are in the 100’s. The Jackrabbits have a win at New Mexico so they won’t be intimidated in this one. Tip off is at 8pm on ESPN2. Another highlight is Creighton at St. Mary’s which will precede the Murray State game at 6pm. Both of these teams have a top 60 RPI and a chance at an at-large big. It’s especially important for the Gaels who may not win the WCC automatic bid. Matthew Dellavadova against Doug McDermott is another good matchup.
Earlier in the day, an underrated game takes place between Wichita State and Detroit. The Titans are the perfect team to benefit from the event as they have an RPI of 72 right now which would take a bump with a win over the Shockers. Detroit fell short in their big out of conference tests, but do have a win over Akron. The Shockers need to fix what has ailed them lately and would do well to add a victory in this one.
Finally, for the night owls, you can turn on Belmont hosting Ohio at 10pm. Belmont’s RPI is 18 right now…that’s right 18. The Bobcats are around 90 so a road win would help their profile. The Bruins have a win over South Dakota State and Stanford to go along with a loss to Northeastern and Central Florida. Bottom line is that February 22nd and 23rd will feature a lot of good basketball that mid major fans will eat up.