Itís Bracketbusters Weekend, the final one as ESPN will discontinue it. To me, itís been a great bunch of matchups over the years, a chance to see teams you donít see on a regular basis against quality opponents. In the end, it probably came down to ratings but it had also gotten unwieldy with some weird travel situations and extra requirements such as playing a return game (sometimes not for two years). It was great while it lasted and there are some good games this weekend.
Here are the games Iíve going to try to watch this weekend.
(In order of tip-off, not importance)
Saint Louis at Butler: SaintLooie totally dismantled the Bulldogs not long ago under the Arch. Itíll be really interesting to see if they can repeat that in Indy.
Stephen F. Austin at Long Beach: This is a battle of styles, the deliberate Austin vs. the speedy Beach. Who will win the battle of wills?
Iona at Indiana State: Indy State was an at-large team until an ill-fated road trip; they canít afford to lose this one. Too bad Iona wasnít matched up with Northwestern State to see if we could get a regulation game with both teams scoring over 100 points.
Southern Mississippi at Memphis: Memphis has won 17 in a row and this will probably be 18 but Southern Miss is probably the second-best team in the CUSA.
Eastern Kentucky at Valpo: The Colonials have set a school record with 22 victories; this tough road game should prepare them for what should be a touch OVC Tournament against Murray State and Belmont. Valpo has been up and down and needs to establish itself as a strong home-court team heading into the Horizon League tournament.
Canisius at Vermont: No at-large implications here but an interesting matchup and I havenít see Baron and Son play yet.
VCU at Xavier: Can the Rams recover from the beating in Saint Louis? X has put together a surprisingly good season.
Montana at Davidson: Long trip for Montana but a victory would make it worth it. Davidson has won 11 straight.
Northwestern State at Niagara: This is a superhighway matchup, the highest-scoring team in the country vs. one that also likes to get up and down. Give me 200 total points, please.
NC State at North Carolina: The Heels canít let the lower class invade and win. This should be as intense as any game this day.
Georgetown at Syracuse: A great rivalry thatís probably going away; it factors in the Big East standings too.
New Mexico at Colorado State: The Lobos would enhance their resume by ending the Ramsí 25-game home-court winning streak. Another Mountain West thriller, no doubt.
Detroit at Wichita State: The Shockers canít afford to lose to the Titans if they want to still be considered an at-large possibility. This is what the BracketBusters is all about.
Creighton at Saint Maryís: Another great BracketBusters matchup between two Sullyís Court favorites. I canít decide which team I like.
UNLV at Wyoming: Vegas needs this road win and it wonít be easy.
South Dakota State at Murray State: Nate Wolters vs. Isaiah Canaan. Who will score more? Would be a great prop bet, I need to know which one Ed Ryan would take.
Harvard at Yale: There are some Harvard fans (and you know who you are) who think this is a dangerous game.
UTEP at New Mexico State: A tremendous rivalry game.
Missouri at Kentucky: Which Kentucky team will show up? Mizzou has not been a good road team so this is a chance to disprove that.
Ohio at Belmont: The final BracketBusters of the weekend. Iím thinking one overtime, maybe two.
Lehigh at Lafayette: A great rivalry, Lafayette rapidly improving and looking for the upset.
Illinois at Michigan: The Wolverines should be able to control this one but itís not a guarantee.
BC at Duke: The young Eagles have improved but not this much. I still want to see how they fare.
Cincinnati at Notre Dame: ND rarely loses at home but the Bearcats are getting desperate. This has the makings of physical, low-scoring and close game.
UCLA at USC: Canít imagine this not being close. The Bruins should win easily but you canít trust them.
Michigan State at Ohio State: The Buckeyes have been fading and can get back on track with a big win here. Sparty has to recover from the loss to Indiana.
LIU at Wagner: Big NEC game and thatís important to some people.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell