Around the Rim: Bracket Buster implications
In terms of NCAA Tournament importance, this year’s Bracket Busters was a bit light regarding at-large selection, save these teams: Butler, Davidson, Utah State, St. Mary’s, Siena. For the Bulldogs, Wildcats, Aggies, Gaels and Saints, the 2009 Bracket Buster plays out like this …
Butler Bulldogs – The win at Davidson gives BU another quality out-of-conference win on the road (Xavier was the other). The Bulldogs also beat UAB (a potential bubble team) and played close at Ohio State – when David Lighty was healthy. Granted Stephen Curry was not 100 percent for this one, the Butler’s “D” locked him up. There are no guarantees, but this win will help the Bulldogs on Selection Sunday.
Davidson – Meanwhile, the home loss to Butler could spell trouble. The win over West Virginia (Alex Ruoff or not) is solid on a neutral court. It’s probably too early to say Davidson “has to win” the Southern Conference tournament, but they can’t afford a loss in their last three, nor an early exit. The margin for error is growing very thin.
Utah State – Perhaps no team was hurt more than the Aggies. Even with a gaudy record, there’s only one notable win (Utah at home – 2 points). Forget the national ranking, it’s meaningless. Losing at St. Mary’s hurts even more because the Gaels played without Patty Mills. Losing to a team without its star player certainly can’t help. Even if the Aggies win the WAC tournament, their seeding could take a hit.
St. Mary’s – Beating Utah State at home was nice, but probably won’t have a significant impact on the Gael’s at-large chances. Their only other non-conference win of note was San Diego State on a neutral court. SDSU is a bubble team right now, too. St. Mary’s isn’t out of it, but they’ll probably have to beat Gonzaga in the WCC tourney.
Siena – The Saints’ at-large profile is iffy. The home win over Northern Iowa isn’t going to push Siena into the field, but a loss could have seriously hurt any at-large consideration. Solid non-conference schedule ended without a notable win. There are some close road losses at Pittsburgh and Kansas which shouldn’t be discounted. As for the Bracket Buster, Siena lives to fight another day.
While there were some other interesting matchups, nothing else will affect NCAA selection. In terms of seeding, here are some games that could make a difference … VCU losing at Nevada …. North Dakota State winning at UW-Milwaukee …. and Vermont beating Buffalo.
Have thoughts? Send me a Rebound – Dave the Bracketguy.