Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

BracketBusters takes center stage once again

February 19, 2012 Columns No Comments
hoopguy-orange

Every year, there is a lot of talk about how to make BracketBusters better, or if it should just go away entirely. While teams have undoubtedly benefited from it over the years of its existence, the feelings on it seem a bit mixed, and it’s debatable whether or not it has been good as a whole. Right now, it’s what we have, and on Saturday it was center stage.

Proponents have talked about teams getting an extra national television appearance for people to see them. They have also cited the chance to get an RPI boost. Certainly, some of the teams that have benefited can look back and argue that they would not have made the NCAA Tournament if not for a win in the BracketBusters, including Final Four teams from George Mason and VCU. In 2006, George Mason beat Wichita State (and then beat the Shockers again in the NCAA Tournament), while last season VCU also beat the Shockers in Wichita as part of this. It’s also one less game to worry about in terms of putting together a schedule, and at a time when it’s well-documented how difficult scheduling has become for many schools – especially the better mid-majors.

That is all well and good. But only a handful of teams get to play on television against a team that may give them an NCAA Tournament profile boost. Some of the other teams pay a price if they get matched up with a team at the opposite end of the country from them. (At least if it is a televised game, like Nevada at Iona this year, it takes the sting off the travel part.) Some good matchups are tough to make happen because teams are designated as home or road teams in advance. As one example, Long Beach State couldn’t play St. Mary’s because bother were designated as road teams. This also impacts conference scheduling, as it’s one reason why a number of conferences have games in the midst of non-conference play in December.

And while the boost some teams have had from it is nice, they don’t make the NCAA Tournament if they don’t win other games in addition to the BracketBusters game they play. George Mason and VCU needed to win a number of other games along the way to be in position to get the at-large bids they received in 2006 and last season, respectively.

In the past, one proponent talked about how a team has some incentive to play well enough to get a televised game in the BracketBusters. While that sounds good in theory, the NCAA Tournament is a far bigger prize, and if a team is good enough to be in the discussion for a televised game in this there’s a chance they will be in the discussion for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid. I highly doubt a televised BracketBusters game against one of the best teams in the field moves the needle much in terms of motivators for teams.

So what can be done? Not much with this format, really. Teams have to be designated as home and road teams for it in advance because arena dates need to be booked well in advance. Schedules have to be done, and the only way to ensure a large number of the best mid-majors play each other is to have a large pool of teams. Hands are tied, in other words. This year’s event is the 10th annual, and it’s undergone a few changes in that time, but it is what it has been all along: a decent but flawed idea with big pros and cons.

BracketBusters was surely never intended to solely solve the problem of good mid-majors getting games against good opponents, or getting chances to be seen by members of the NCAA Tournament selection committee. But how much it has helped in that regard is debatable, and other issues with it raise a serious question of whether or not it is good for college basketball in the aggregate. This isn’t to say it needs to be done away with, only that its impact is limited and there are bigger problems that aren’t solved so easily.

Drexel blew out Cleveland State 69-49 in a game that may have lost some luster due to recent losses by the Spartans. It’s a big win for Drexel to come into their arena and win with a very early start (11 a.m. Tip), but the RPI boost the Dragons get is likely to be negligible since Cleveland State’s RPI was 80 entering the week and Drexel’s was 82.

Wichita State handled Davidson 91-74 for a nice road win in another early game. That will help the Shockers only marginally; they’re already in good shape with an RPI of 17, while Davidson entered the week with an RPI of 72. Wichita State has wins over UNLV and Creighton and no bad losses, so the Shockers would likely have been okay if they didn’t play this game.

In one matchup mentioned earlier, Iona beat Nevada in a game pitting two teams whose RPI was separated by three entering the week against each other.

In what was probably the most anticipated matchup, Murray State cruised to a 65-51 win over Saint Mary’s, which will boost the Racers in the event they don’t win the Ohio Valley Tournament.

Late in the evening, Creighton beat Long Beach State in a game that they hope will help them get back on track. Long Beach State, meanwhile, could have used the win since they lack one over a top 50 team in the RPI.

 

We take you coast to coast with news from around the college basketball nation.

Florida State went to Raleigh and took care of North Carolina State, but the talk of the game is the ejection of Wolfpack greats Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta. The Seminoles needed another good win to be in a good place, while this loss hurts NC State’s NCAA Tournament hopes as they are running out of chances for significant wins.

Meanwhile, just down the road from there, Clemson still has never won at the Dean Dome.

Michigan held off Ohio State, which puts Michigan State all alone atop the Big Ten.

Marquette got a big game from Jae Crowder (29 points, 12 rebounds) to beat Connecticut, and simply put, the Huskies don’t look good at all.

Notre Dame rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat Villanova in overtime.

New Mexico blew out UNLV to give the Lobos the signature win they have lacked thus far. The real stunner in the Mountain West was San Diego State losing at Air Force, the Aztecs’ third straight loss.

Kansas State got a much-needed win at Baylor.

Washington knocked off Arizona 79-70 to keep pace with California, who knocked off Oregon State 77-63, atop the Pac-12.

UTEP beat Memphis at the FedEx Forum, but they weren’t alone in Conference USA as Houston beat Southern Miss to keep the Tigers and Golden Eagles tied at 9-3 atop the conference.

Bucknell looked like they were in control of the Patriot League a week ago. After a second straight loss, this one at arch-rival Holy Cross, along with American and Lehigh winning, the Bison are now just a game up on the Eagles and Mountain Hawks. Bucknell still has to play at American.

Middle Tennessee clinched at least an NIT bid by way of winning the Sun Belt’s regular season title.

Sunday’s key matchups:

  • Michigan State at Purdue
  • Indiana at Iowa
  • South Florida at Pittsburgh
  • Oregon at Stanford

Comment on this Article:







Advertisement

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by

hofstra

The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by

cornell

Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

Hoopville Archives

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors hold college showcase

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors, two of the largest programs in Massachusetts, teamed up for a college showcase on Wednesday night. Here are some evaluations from that event.

Massachusetts 11th grade AAU Tournament recap

Teams gathered at Mass Premier Courts to chase the state title in the oldest age group, and one champion was a familiar one.

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.

Tabor Academy looks to have more depth this time around

October 13, 2014 by

taboracademy

Tabor Academy will once again be headlined by a frontcourt player. This time around, though, the Seawolves appear to have a deeper support cast than in recent years.