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|College Basketball’s Bracket Buster Weekend |
by Bob Acton of Sportingbet USA – now SuperBook.com –
Now that the Steelers have been anointed the crown of Super BowlForty, it is time for you gridiron fans to turn your attention tothe hard-court and that would mean college basketball.
Presently the Connecticut Huskies are ranked number one andthey looked worthy of the ranking on Saturday when they wet toIndiana and spanked the Hoosiers. This club is so deep that theyhave two seniors in Anderson and Brown that are reserves, yetthey could start for any team in the country!
Before we can get to the final 64 or should I say 65 as thelast two teams picked on Selection Sunday must play a sudden deathgame to get in the dance, we must checkout some lesser known schools.
On February 17th and 18th the NCAA will present “Bracket BusterWeekend” where 26 teams will play in 13 games on ESPN, to helpthe selection committee for March Madness, to sort out the pretendersand the contenders.
You may want to take a close look at Northern Iowa as they arethe real deal and most likely will knock off a more heralded teamin the first round of the tournament in March!
BracketBusters Television Games
Bucknell at Northern Iowa
Bucknell at Northern Iowa
The expected match-up came about with Bucknelltaking a trip to the UNI-Dome. This will be the premier game forBracketBusters and should provide some amusement. Northern Iowais all but in the NCAA Tournament, while Bucknell needs to avoidbad losses in order to earn an at-large berth. A road loss ata top 25 team won’t hurt the Bison too much, but a win there wouldbe huge.
George Mason at Wichita State
The Patriots are on fire, however this will bea tough game. It will be an exciting frontcourt match-up betweenJai Lewis and Will Thomas of George Mason and Paul Miller andKyle Wilson of Wichita State. The Shockers only home loss thisseason has come at the hands of Northern Iowa and George Masonisn’t quite in that class.
Louisiana Tech at Southern Illinois
There isn’t a Paul Millsap in the Missouri Valley.The 6-8 forward will bring his 20.7 points and 12.7 rebounds toSouthern Illinois. If the Salukis can contain Millsap, especiallyon the glass, the home winning streak will continue.
Fresno State at Creighton
Yeah, it’s a bad draw for Creighton. Fresno Stateis 10-8, 3-4 in conference, soon to be 4-4 and well, Creightonis actually good. This one might be over pretty quick, but FresnoState has a couple talented players in Quinton Hosley and Ja’VanceColeman that are worth watching. And if you haven’t seen Creightonlately, they are always worth a look or two before you start fillingin those brackets.
Missouri State and Wisconsin Milwaukee
Missouri Valley, Missouri Valley, Missouri Valley.If you haven’t had a chance to see much of the MVC, BracketBustersweekend will be your chance. The five teams that are still dreamingof NCAA bids will be on TV. Missouri State has been on a slidelately and they will have to get things together before takinga tough road trip to Milwaukee. The Panthers could dash any hopesMissouri State may have left, and start thinking about an at-largethemselves.
Buffalo at Iona
If anybody can stop the Iona backcourt of SteveBurtt, Jr. and Ricky Soliver, this will turn out to be a greatgame. Buffalo has plenty of weapons, led by guard Calvin Cageand big man Yassin Idbihi, to keep the Bulls in it. Many of thegames look like blowouts due to the top heavy home sides, butthis isn’t one of them.
Butler at Kent State
Butler hasn’t done much to deserve a televisedgame, but the friendly ghosts of the past made this game happen.We have ourselves two teams that have made Cinderella runs inthat not so distant past. Kent has been extremely strong in MACplay and will be the favorite in this one.
Akron at Nevada
Now here’s a fun game. Akron is quietly postinga 15-4 record, 8-1 in the MAC. None of the wins are that impressive,but none of the losses are bad (at California, at Louisville,vs. Clemson and at Ohio). Nevada and Nick Fazekas will be toomuch for the Zips, but if it was in Akron, it would be anotherstory.
Northwestern State at Utah State
The Demons finally get a chance to show off theirstuff. Unfortunately, they have to do it in one of the most unfriendlyconfines west of the mighty Mississippi. Even with a loss at thehands of the Aggies, it is great exposure for Northwestern State.
Marist at Old Dominion
Marist might be under the radar, but the startingfive has enough power to knock off ODU. The bench depth is anissue, but if Alex Loughton and the Monarchs take one off theirdays off, the Red Foxes could chalk up a huge win for the MetroAtlantic.
Northern Arizona at Western Kentucky
Anthony Winchester and Courtney Lee won’t letthe Hilltoppers lose to Northern Arizona. The Lumberjacks havewon nine in a row and are 7-0 in Big Sky, but they are lucky tobe televised and definitely benefited from the weak teams on theaway side of the bracket.
Samford at Ohio
Ohio and Leon Williams have lost all consistencyover the last couple weeks. Enter surprise OVC leader Samfordand we could have a surprisingly close game. If Ohio has a goodday, Samford won’t last long, but J. Robert Merritt and RandallGulina will have something to say about that.
Albany at VCU
Albany, the preseason favorite in the AmericaEast, had a slow start before winning 10 of their last 12. VCUand the Colonial Athletic Association could use every win theycan get, and VCU just doesn’t lose at home.