Tuesday, January 17, 2006

12 Days 'til Bracket Buster Pairings

I. Less Than Two Weeks Until Bracket Buster Pairings Announcement
The ESPN Bracket Buster has swelled to an incredible 100 teams this season, encompassing nearly a full third of all D-I college hoops teams. Needless to say, many of those games are going to have little impact on the bracket. Furthermore, the power is inordinately tilted toward the home side. We are now just twelve days away from the announcement of the pairings.

I have created a Bracket Buster Page that will track all 100 teams from now until the pairings are announced on Jan 29. I will update it again next Tuesday (the 24th), and then daily up until Sunday the 29th.

Teams from the same conference obviously will not be matched up in the Bracket Buster. Also, it is not determined by RPI alone (though it is a big component), but a combination of record, schedule strength, RPI, impact on NCAA selection profile, and probably perceived TV marketability will play into the pairings. If teams were matched up today, this is how the 11 TV games might look.

1. Bucknell at Northern Iowa
2. Missouri State at UW-Milwaukee
3. Akron at Old Dominion
4. George Mason at Creighton
5. Northern Illinois at Southern Illinois
6. Tennessee Tech at Wichita State
7. Buffalo at Nevada
8. Louisiana Tech at Manhattan
9. Northwestern State at Winthrop
10. Samford at Western Kentucky
11. Butler at Iona

II. Last Night's GOI

--at Missouri 89, Kansas 86 (OT). Keeps Kansas out of the NCAA convo. Could Missouri be in for a run in the weakened Big 12?
--at Northern Iowa 71, Southern Illinois 65 (2 OT). Battle of league leaders did not disappoint. SIU still leads by a game in the MVC,
--UConn 88, at Syracuse 80. Not nearly as close as the score indicates. UConn led 40-17 at one point. The Huskies certainly looked like 1-seed material.

III. Tonight's GOI
--Marquette at DePaul. Both of these teams are looking like classic Bubble Boys at this point.
--Kentucky at Georgia. NCAA Bubble and SEC implications riding on this one.
--Boston College at Holy Cross. DANGEROUS game for BC.
--Illinois at Indiana. Two of the Big Ten's bevy of quality clubs.
--Iowa State at Nebraska. Huskers looking for a win to put them on the map. Cyclones have been wildly inconsistent.
--Ohio at Northern Illinois. Interdivisional battle of two of the better MAC teams.
--Louisville at St. John's. Loss here puts the Cards in a bad spot with UConn coming into town on Saturday.