When the Iona Gaels head to Indiana State to take on the Sycamores for an ESPN BracketBuster game February 23rd, it won’t really change anything for either team, win or lose.
The BracketBuster, in it’s final year, often times doesn’t, as it’s name suggests, bust any brackets nor does it have any significant impact on seeding come March. In fact, it’s seemingly become more of a homage to mid-majors not getting enough publicity.
Iona, an at-large team from a season ago thanks to a robust 25-7 record, is in no such spot to garner an at-large bid again. They’re currently two games behind MAAC-leader Niagara despite splitting two regular season games and check in with a 14-9 overall record.
Indiana State, at 14-8, is in the same boat. An at-large bid could, however, be in their future as they still have two games to play against the cream of the crop in the Missouri Valley Conference–one with the No. 16 Creighton Blue Jays on Wednesday and then a date with Wichita State on February 19th–both in Terre Haute. Wins in both of these would more than likely cement Indiana State a ticket to the big dance.
Sure, a win in this tilt for either side would be a nice feather in the cap, but the game really has little impact on whether or not they’ll make the NCAA Tournament. If Iona wins, great, a solid road win against a team with an RPI of 54. For the Sycamores, it’s a home win over a team with an RPI of 98 traveling half way across the country for a Tuesday night game. Why I’m even breaching the subject of RPI, a highly overrated aspect of the selection process, is beyond me, but I feel obligated to state the facts.
Bottom line is this. Iona isn’t busting any brackets unless they win the MAAC’s automatic bid. The Sycamores have little to no chance at a berth without at least one win over either Creighton or Wichita State.