2012-04-09 21:46:03 UTC
College Basketball, ESPN Jason McIntyre April 6th. 2012, 2:06pmBracket
Busters is a pretty rad February event in college basketball wherein
ESPN tries to get 6-12 upper echelon mid-majors teams to play one
another with an eye on March Madness. In recent years, the field has
expanded dramatically from tourney contenders to teams with no shot of
dancing. Bracket Busters is great prep for March, and it can also help
mid-majors boost their Strength of Schedule and RPI. It could even
help vault a team from the bubble into the field of 68.
But now that the CAA has inked a deal to have its games televised by
the NBC Sports Network … ESPN won’t be inviting them to the Bracket
Busters party. That stinks for ESPN, considering Drexel, VCU and
George Mason have, in recent years, been key teams in the event. But
it is bad news for the CAA, too:
“We are disappointed but we understand the business,’’ Yeager said. He
said that the benefits of signing with NBC outweighed the risks of
losing a spot in BracketBusters.
In college basketball, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for mid-
majors to get high majors to play them in a home-and-home situation.
Who is playing Butler or VCU or Creighton on the road? Nobody. In a
neutral preseason tourney, sure, but a key win in November/December
doesn’t carry the weight as a nice win in February.
Long-term, the move to NBC is a good one. The added exposure will
obviously help with recruiting. In the short term, finding quality non-
conference wins in February may be hard to come by.
© April 7, 2012
Hardball: It's petty of ESPN to exclude the Colonial Athletic
Association from BracketBusters weekend because the conference struck
a deal with the NBC Sports Group, but I can't believe it will have
serious consequences for CAA basketball. BracketBusters won't be as
interesting without ODU, Virginia Commonwealth and George Mason, but
its impact and viewer appeal always were overrated. As hard as ESPN
hypes the thing, the supposed showcase for mid-majors is a gimmick
that's run out of steam.