Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bracket Busters Recap

After a wild Bracket Buster Saturday, some mid majors proved that they have upset potential in the tournament. The College Court is here to recap the games for you and tell you which teams are true contenders in being Cinderellas in March.

Murray St. 65, St. Mary’s 51: What was expected to be the best game of the bracket busters actually turned into a blowout. Matthew Dellavedova was the only Gael to score in double figures, as he got 17 points on a bum ankle. Meanwhile, the Racers picked up the signature win they needed behind five three pointers by Isaiah Canaan.

For Murray St., I’m now convinced that they are for real and can do some damage in the tournament. At first I was iffy because they had not beaten anyone, but I can tell that the players on this team can certainly contend with some of the bigger schools in the nation. Andy Katz said that Canaan has Kemba Walker-like ability, and while that may be a stretch, he is certainly one of the best point guards in the nation. As for the Gaels, I’m not too high on them. I don’t think they’re going to win the West Coast Conference and they’ll probably get a low seed, so don’t be shocked if St. Mary’s makes an early exit.

Drexel 69, Cleveland St. 49: The Dragons wiped the floor with the host Vikings as we saw an incredibly hot team beat one that’s slumping. Damion Lee led Drexel with 18 points while Trevon Hamon’s 23 points for Cleveland St. was the only bright spot for the Vikings. Drexel has now won 21 of 22 games while Cleveland St. has lost four in a row.

At this point, Cleveland St. is very much still in the Horizon League race, but with Valparaiso in the lead and Detroit and Butler right on their tails, I don’t expect them to come out of that conference. As for Drexel, they still need to fend off George Mason and VCU, but if they can get into the tournament, they’ll be one of the hottest teams in the nation and one nobody wants to face.

Wichita St. 91, Davidson 74: You can read my full recap of this game in the archive of our site, but I’ll give a quick recap here. Davidson played the Shockers close for the first half, but they shot lights out in the second behind 30 points from Joe Ragland. The Wildcats did look impressive however, especially the inside-outside presence of Jake Cohen (25 points).

I think Wichita St. is the best mid major team in the country. They are incredibly balanced and have multiple prolific scorers. Expect a deep run in March. Davidson isn’t too shabby either. They showed some promising signs against the Shockers and they did beat Kansas earlier this season, so watch out for them in the dance.

South Dakota St. 86, Buffalo 65: The nation got a treat as Nate Wolters was on national television, scoring 22 points, grabbing six rebounds, and dishing out eight assists as the Jack Rabbits dominated the Bulls. Mitchell Watt led Buffalo with 15 points.

There isn’t a very good chance that Buffalo makes it to the Dance. They have to contend with Akron, Kent St., and Ohio in the MAC. However, South Dakota St has a shot. They will need to beat Oral Roberts and win the Summit League tournament, but if they do the world will get to see Wolters in postseason play.

Oral Roberts 67, Akron 61: The Golden Eagles fended off the feisty Zips to pick up a big nonconference win. Dominique Morrison had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Oral Roberts. The key for the Golden Eagles was holding Akron’s Zeke Marshall to only one rebound.

Right now, both of these teams lead their conferences, but face tough challengers. Oral Roberts may have an easier route because all they really have to worry about it South Dakota St. For the Zips, they must go through Ohio, Kent St., and Buffalo. If Marshall plays the way he did yesterday, they won’t win the conference tournament.

New Mexico St. 71, Drake 55: Ever since Drake was selected for Bracket Busters, they have been in a slump. Losers of six of their last nine, they are now six games back in a loaded Missouri Valley Conference. Wendell McKines led the way for New Mexico St. with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Drake struggled from the field, shooting only 34%.

Like I said, the Bulldogs are in the tough Missouri Valley Conference and barring a miracle, won’t be in the NCAA tournament. As for the Aggies, they have a tough road too. Unless they can knock off Nevada in the WAC conference tournament, they will be NIT bound.

Iona 90, Nevada 84: A back and forth game between two very talented mid majors saw the Gaels just edge out the Wolfpack at home. The balanced effort of Iona was a huge factor as they were led by Momo Jones with 18 points and Scott Machado with 15 assists. Five Gales scored in double figures. 49 combined points from Olek Czyz and Deonte Burton was not enough for Nevada.

Both of these teams should be in the tournament, but Iona is the one I expect to make the most noise. The Gaels will probably wind up with a 13 seed and could pull off an upset if they get the right matchup.

Ohio 81, UNC-Asheville 62: The Bobcats showed that they are still a contender in the MAC by defeating the Bulldogs of UNC-Asheville. Walter Offutt led Ohio with 19 points. The Bobcats did a good job of limiting UNC-Asheville’s Matt Dickey and J. P. Primm to a combined 4 of 19 shooting.

Ohio has a tough road in the MAC as I mentioned already, but it’s not a cakewalk for UNC-Asheville by any means. Coastal Carolina isn’t too far behind them, and the Chanticleers won’t forget how Dickey and the Bulldogs spoiled their season last year.

Creighton 81, Long Beach St. 79: What better way to end the night than a bracket buster buzzer beater. Talk about alliteration. Antoine Young’s buzzer beater led the Blue Jays to a come from behind victory over the 49ers. Doug McDermott was unstoppable with 36 points and 11 rebounds. 21 points from Casper Ware and 20 from T. J. Robinson were not enough as Creighton overcame a sloppy end game to pick up a huge win.

The win for Creighton showed that they are never out of a game and that McDermott can carry them for stretches. While they may rely on him too much, they need to be taken seriously in March. Long Beach St. needs to be taken seriously as well. Their battle-tested schedule will serve them well in the Big Dance.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bracketology 2/8/12

It’s Wednesday, so it’s time for the second installment of Chris’ Bracketology. In a wild week of college basketball, a lot of teams moved up and down. In the heat of rivalry week, there is still plenty that can happen, but my bracketology is now updated as of last night. Here are what the seedings should be if the season ended today. You can see where teams sit now in terms of seeding and bubble status, and what they must do in the remainder of the season.

#1 Seeds: Syracuse, Kentucky, Ohio St., Missouri

#2 Seeds: Baylor, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke

#3 Seeds: Michigan St., Georgetown, Wisconsin, Michigan

#4 Seeds: Indiana, Marquette, Florida, Florida St.

#5 Seeds: Louisville, Southern Miss, UNLV, San Diego St.

#6 Seeds: Temple, Murray St., Mississippi St., Vanderbilt

#7 Seeds: Creighton, West Virginia, Memphis, Gonzaga

#8 Seeds: Colorado St., Wichita St., St. Mary’s, Connecticut

#9 Seeds: Kansas St., Alabama, Notre Dame, Virginia

#10 Seeds: Illinois, BYU, Minnesota, Harvard

#11 Seeds: Seton Hall, Iowa St., Miami (FL), Washington vs.Northwestern

#12 Seeds: Saint Louis, California, Arizona, New Mexico vs. Purdue

#13 Seeds: Long Beach St., Iona, VCU, Cleveland St.

#14 Seeds: Davidson, Middle Tennessee, Nevada, Weber St.

#15 Seeds: Akron, Oral Roberts, Mercer, Texas-Arlington

#16 Seeds: LIU-Brooklyn, UNC-Asheville, Norfolk St. vs. Mississippi Valley St., Bucknell vs. Stony Brook

Dropped Out From Last Week: Xavier, Ole Miss, Dayton, Massachusetts

Last Four In: Washington, New Mexico, Purdue, Northwestern

First Four Out: Xavier, Colorado, Dayton, St. Joseph’s

Other Bubble Teams to Watch: N. C. State, Texas, Northern Iowa, Pittsburgh, UCF

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Saturday Preview 2/4

In college sports, the most glorious day of the week is Saturday. No one has class, everyone is going to the games, and the calibers of the contests are very high. I am here to bring you a preview of Super Saturday and put the biggest games under three categories: Upset potentials (games with top teams who should win against underdogs hoping to grab a victory), bubble bursters (games involving teams that desperately need a win to keep their postseason hopes alive), and top matchups (games between to very good teams).

Top Matchups

#3 Ohio St. vs. #20 Wisconsin: The Buckeyes face a huge road test in the red hot Badgers. If Ohio St. wins, they could be considered a #1 seed. If Wisconsin wins, they would be firmly planted as a #3 seed.

#8 Kansas vs. #4 Missouri: These two top squads are not only battling for a #1 seed, but the Big 12 championship as well.

Vanderbilt vs. #11 Florida: Despite the ranking, both these teams are evenly matched in this battle for second in the SEC.

#18 Virginia vs. #24 Florida St.: The Cavaliers started off the season on a tear, but now it’s the Seminoles who look to be unstoppable. The winner of this can contend for the ACC title with Duke and UNC.

Bubble Bursters

#15 Marquette vs. Notre Dame: The Irish must build off of their recent success to continue to prove themselves tournament worthy. A win over Marquette would be huge.

#20 Indiana vs. Purdue: The Hoosiers are in a free fall and desperately need a win, but the Boilermakers need one even more to send Robbie Hummel to the dance.

Seton Hall vs. Connecticut: The Pirates have lost five straight and the Huskies have lost four straight. Something’s got to give in this rematch from earlier this season.

La Salle vs. St. Joseph’s: The Explorers want to hold onto the A-10 lead while St. Joe’s would like to add to their quietly impressive resume.

N. C. State vs. Wake Forest: Without a good win, the Wolfpack must continue to beat everyone in their path.

Xavier vs. Memphis: Both previously ranked teams have fallen from grace, so will a win against the other really be a resume booster?

Arkansas vs. LSU: The Razorbacks try to keep their slim hopes for March alive.

Arizona vs. Stanford: Now revived after a win over California, Arizona makes a push for the tournament, which is the same thing the Cardinal is trying to do.

UCF vs. SMU: UCF needs a win and the Mustangs need the season to end.

New Mexico vs. Boise St.: The Broncos have given good teams a scare; will they finally knock one off in the form of the Lobos?

Kansas St. vs. Texas A&M: The Wildcats are falling fast, so they can’t lose to the Aggies.

Arizona St. vs. California: This is a good bounce back game for the Golden Bears, who suddenly see themselves on the outside looking in.

Air Force vs. Colorado St.: The Rams have great computer numbers, but they need more wins to be taken seriously.

Dayton vs. St. Louis: The Flyers are flirting with disaster while the Billikens are surging. Both of these teams could be one of the last four in or first four out.

Old Dominion vs. George Mason: Now out of first in the CAA, the Patriots try to fend off the gritty Monarchs.

Iowa St. vs. Oklahoma: The Sooners’ chances for March are just about dead, but that won’t stop them from spoiling it for the Cyclones.

Drexel vs. Towson: A real contender in the CAA, the Dragons should roll over lowly Towson.

Massachusetts vs. George Washington: Massachusetts needs this game as a pick me up.

Texas Tech vs. Texas:The Longhorns have a shot at the big dance, but they must take care of the Red Raiders first.

DePaul vs. Cincinnati:The Bearcats’ resume doesn’t look that great, so they must beat the Demon Deacons.

Iona vs. Manhattan: The top two teams in the MAAC square off. Can Manhattan ruin it for the tournament bound Gaels?

Northeastern vs. VCU: The Rams are now in first in the CAA and should want to keep it that way.

Marshall vs. Tulsa: The losing streak hurt Marshall, but there is still time to make amends.

Ole Miss vs. Alabama: Both of these SEC teams are on the bubble, but the Tide is in better shape.

Wright St. vs. Valparaiso: The Crusaders are quietly making a run in the Horizon League.

Oregon vs. Colorado: Both Pac-12 teams need a win after tough losses the other night.

BYU vs. Portland: The last thing the Cougars can afford to do is slip up against Portland after beating Gonzaga.

Upset Potentials

#1 Kentucky vs. South Carolina: The top ranked Wildcats should have no problem with the Gamecocks, but a loss here would be devastating.

#2 Syracuse vs. St. John’s: The Johnnies are at home, playing better, and have won two of three; can they topple the Orange?

#6 Baylor vs. Oklahoma St.: The Bears should have this one in the bag, but they don’t want to end up like Missouri.

#6 North Carolina vs. Maryland: The Tar Heels seem to have righted the ship, but a road contest with the Terps looks dangerous.

#9 Murray St. vs. Tenn-Martin: After a close call against SE Missouri St., the Racers look for win number 23 against the Skyhawks.

#12 Creighton vs. Northern Iowa: In a battle of overachiever against underachiever, the Blue Jays look to keep their national credibility intact.

#13 UNLV vs. Wyoming: The last three times they’ve been on the road, the Runnin’ Rebels have either been forced to overtime or lost. Watch out; the Cowboys are sneaky good.

South Florida vs. #14 Georgetown: Despite their success in the Big East, no one is taking the Bulls seriously; they will if they beat the Hoyas.

TCU vs. #17 San Diego St.: The Horned Frogs beat Virginia earlier this season; are the Aztecs an upset target?

Auburn vs. #19 Mississippi St.: The Bulldogs have looked good all year, so they can’t afford to slip up now against the Tigers.

Columbia vs. #23 Harvard: Harvard is playing the night before as well, but they shouldn’t have trouble dispatching their Ivy League foe.

Rutgers vs. #25 Louisville: Maybe the Cardinals have gotten back on track, but the Scarlett Knights always seem primed for an upset.

Temple vs. Rhode Island:The Owls seem to be a lock for the tournament if they win all of the games they should win. This is one of them.

Middle Tennessee vs. Denver: The Blue Raiders have dominated the Sun Belt this year, but Denver (wins over Southern Miss and St. Mary’s) seems like a trap game.

Gonzaga vs. Pepperdine: The Zags need to get back on track after losing to BYU. A spoonful of pepper should make the medicine go down.

Indiana St. vs. Wichita St.: The Shockers have proven to be one of the best mid major teams in the country, so they don’t want to dispel that notion.

USC vs. Washington: The Huskies are now in control of the Pac-12; they must keep it that way.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bracketology 2/1/12

I used multiple stats, included ones that the tournament committee uses to select my field of 68. If the season were to end today, this is how I think the seeds would play out.

#1 Seeds: Syracuse, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas

#2 Seeds: Baylor, North Carolina, Ohio St., Missouri

#3 Seeds: Michigan St., Marquette, Wisconsin, Indiana

#4 Seeds: Georgetown, Michigan, UNLV, Southern Miss

#5 Seeds: Vanderbilt, Creighton, Florida, Florida St.

#6 Seeds: Louisville, San Diego St., Temple, Murray St.

#7 Seeds: West Virginia, Mississippi St., Colorado St., Gonzaga

#8 Seeds: Memphis, Illinois, Connecticut, Minnesota

#9 Seeds: Wichita St., St. Mary’s, Seton Hall, Kansas St.

#10 Seeds: Iowa St., California, Virginia, Alabama

#11 Seeds: Harvard, Xavier, Purdue, BYU

#12 Seeds: New Mexico, Notre Dame, Ole Miss vs. Saint Louis, Dayton vs. Washington

#13 Seeds: Long Beach St., Nevada, Iona, Middle Tennessee

#14 Seeds: Davidson, Cleveland St., Weber St., George Mason

#15 Seeds: Oral Roberts, Akron, Mercer, Norfolk St.

#16 Seeds: Texas-Arlington, Long Island, UNC-Asheville vs. Mississippi Valley St., Bucknell vs. Stony Brook

We’re only one month away from March!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bracket Busters Preview

The Bracket Buster matchups have finally been announced! Every true college basketball fan loves the small school underdogs, and the Bracket Busters will show us the best they have to offer. The College Court will be going over the T. V. games and rank the best matchups so you know what to watch, as well as what to watch for. The games take place on February 17th and 18th.

1. St. Mary’s @ Murray St.: The obvious favorite matchup has the 21-2 Gaels taking on the undefeated Racers. St. Mary’s has had an impressive season. They have taken out solid opponents like Northern Iowa, Weber St., BYU, and Gonzaga, and have looked impressive in doing so. They are loaded across the board, being in the top 50 in the nation in scoring, rebounding, assists, and field goal percentage. Matthew Dellavedova and Rob Jones have been the two stars, both having WCC player of the year type seasons. Dellavedova averages 15.4 points and 6.4 assists while Jones is scoring 14.3 points and pulls down 10.8 boards a game. The Gaels will be the best team that Murray St. has played all season, and it will truly test them in their quest to an undefeated season. The Racers have beaten the likes of Southern Miss and Memphis, but will face a huge test in St. Mary’s. Not a very good rebounding team, Murray St. must keep Jones off the glass as much as they can. Their big three, Isaiah Canaan, Donte Poole, and Ivan Aska, will have no trouble scoring, but the key will be playing their game and forcing the Gaels to do the same.

2. Long Beach St. @ Creighton: Doug McDermott, a contender for national player of the year, is leading the Blue Jays to a stellar mid-major season. He averages an outstanding 23.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, while shooting .617 from the field, .831 from the free throw line, and .500 from behind the arc. Those numbers are incredible. With wins over San Diego St., Wichita St., and Northern Iowa, Creighton has put together an impressive resume. However, they face an interesting test in Casper Ware and a talented Long Beach St. squad. Ware and Larry Anderson will be pests for the Blue Jays, but the key for the 49ers is to get T. J. Robinson going. Robinson averages a double double and could be the x-factor in this game. The 49ers have been battle tested, facing Louisville, Kansas, UNC, and Kansas St. already so far. They won’t be fazed when facing Creighton, which could be an upset in the making.

3. Nevada @ Iona: On a 15 game winning streak, the Wolfpack may have finally met their match. Iona is a team that leads the nation in assists, is fifth in scoring, and sixth in field goal percentage. The Gaels receive the majority of their production from a trio of players that could truly be called the big three: Michael Glover, Lamont Jones, and Scott Machado. Glover leads in scoring with 18.8 points and also has 9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Jones is solid across the board with 14.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Finally, Machado is the player I feel is the most important part to this team. He averages 13.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 9.9 assists, and 1.5 steals. Machado is a huge reason why the Gaels lead the country in assists. Meanwhile, Nevada is certainly going to put up a fight. Four players average in double figures as Deonte Burton is scoring 15.5 points per game, while Dario Hunt is a beast on the glass, getting 9 rebounds per contest. The Wolfpack is still looking for that signature win, so expect them to being playing extra motivated. In what looks to be an extremely up-tempo and close game, you will not want to miss this one.

4. Drexel @ Cleveland St.:
Two of the top mid-major conferences have a representative in this matchup: Drexel of the CAA and Cleveland St. of the Horizon League. The Dragons are the underdogs in this one, as they would receive a nice resume boost by beating the Vikings, who lead the Horizon League. Drexel has two players who average over 7 rebounds per game in Sammie Givens and Daryl McCoy. These two are the best way to beat the Vikings, who have a guard-oriented team that is led by Trevon Harmon (12 ppg), D’Aundray Brown (11.5 ppg), and Jeremy Montgomery (10.6 ppg). Cleveland St. has already beaten Vanderbilt, but could use another big win. However, the game is more crucial for the Dragons, who have a bad loss to Delaware. Drexel will be upset-minded, but I expect Cleveland St. to hold strong.

5. Wichita St. @ Davidson: The Wildcats rely heavily on two of the basic facets of the game: scoring and rebounding. They are 19th in scoring and 47th in rebounding. Losses to Charlotte and Samford hurt, but the road win against Kansas speaks volumes for their resume. Another solid win would be nice, however. The two big men, De’Mon Brooks and Jake Cohen, are the embodiment of their team, scoring 15.2 and 14.2 points, and 6.4 and 6.1 rebounds respectively. They will have their hands full with a very balanced Wichita St. team. The Shockers hold a win over UNLV and still have another chance to beat Creighton, so they are looking good at the moment. Senior center Garrett Stutz has been a leader both on and off the floor. The seven-footer averages 13.6 points and 7.5 assists. This game pits two similar and evenly matched teams against each other; the winner will be the team who wants it more.

6. Akron @ Oral Roberts: The Zips have rebounded from a tough start to win seven of eight. Like Davidson, they are led by their frontcourt. Nikola Cventinovic averages 10.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, but the true x-factor is Zeke Marshall. Marshall averages 3 blocks a contest and is a complete game changer. When Marshall patrols the paint, the opposing team will think twice about attacking it. Since its first win of the season over Mississippi St., Akron hasn’t really beaten anyone of note, so they have a golden opportunity here. Speaking of golden, the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles have won 13 straight and have already reached the 20 win plateau. Their resume isn’t the best, but the reason for their great success is that they’re shooting .487 from the field as a team. Dominique Morrison averages 20.2 points and is a terror from long range. If the Zips can contain Morrison, they have a shot, but if he is on his game, Oral Roberts will be flying high.

7. Northern Iowa @ VCU: With the daunting task of opening the Bracket Busters, the Panthers of Northern Iowa have a chance to revive their season against the surging Rams. It has been a tale of two halves for both teams. For Northern Iowa, they started the year off 10-1 with wins over Old Dominion and Iowa St. and their only loss to St. Mary’s. Since then, they have lost eight of twelve, two of the losses coming to Evansville and Bradley. VCU has been the opposite. An average start at 3-3, they have gone 15-2 since then. Both teams have two players that are staples to their teams: Anthony James and Jake Koch for Northern Iowa and Bradford Burgess and Juvonte Reddic for VCU. Burgess was key to the final four run for the Rams this year; he could be the difference in this game.

8. UT-Arlington @ Weber St.: Damian Lillard should be in consideration for player of the year, but because he plays for Weber St., he won’t receive any votes. Lillard averages 24.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists for Wildcats, who are most likely tournament bound. Scott Bamforth has also been a key with 15.6 points per game. However, it’s hard to determine just how good Weber St. is because they have lost to every good team they’ve played, so this will be a nice test. Texas-Arlington is in the top 25 in the nation in both scoring and rebounding, so you know they are an impressive ball club. They will do whatever it takes to keep their 11-game winning streak alive. LaMarcus Reed III is a star, scoring at a 16.8 clip. It will be a lot of fun to see Lillard and Reed battle with each other, and whoever has the better game will probably be the one to lead their team to victory.

9. Valparaiso @ Loyola Marymount: Some people may be surprised that the Lions got a home game, but they are battle tested and will try to prove their worth against the Crusaders. Valparaiso has been more impressive, but has also had an easier schedule. Kevin Van Wijk and Ryan Broekhoff are the top performers for the Crusaders. Broekhoff (8.8 rebounds per game) will have to control the glass to keep Valparaiso at their best. They will have to contend with the scoring of Loyola Marymount. Drew Viney, Anthony Ireland, and Ashely Hamilton all average more than 12 points per game. The game is huge for both teams, who have rough paths to winning their conference championship, but it’s bigger for Loyola Marymount. The Lions won’t be able to climb over St. Mary’s and Gonzaga, so they’ll need this win for both a resume builder and momentum.

10. Old Dominion @ Missouri St.: This matchup is very underrated and has a chance to be special. Old Dominion has been a strong rebounding team as usual, and although they are not as good as they were last year, they still have their two seniors Kent Bazemore and Chris Cooper. Bazemore is an offensive threat at 13.6 points per game, while Cooper is averaging a double double. The Monarchs have played some tough teams like Kentucky and Missouri, but have also lost to some teams that they shouldn’t have lost to (Vermont, Fairfield, Richmond). Missouri St. has had a tough season, losing four of six, but their claim to fame is a road win over Creighton. Kyle Weems is a star player for the Bears with stats such as 16 points and 7.5 rebounds. Weems will have his hands full, and Missouri St. desperately needs this win. Sometimes desperation is all a team needs.

11. UNC Asheville @ Ohio: There’s a lot to like about UNC Asheville even though some people may think they don’t belong in the Bracket Busters. They are third in the nation in scoring, and are led by the duo of Matt Dickey and J. P. Primm, who average a combined 33 points per game. Chris Stephenson, Jaron Lane, and Jeremy Atkinson all score in double digits as well. The reason for their high-powered offense is their .494 field goal percentage, good for ninth in the nation. You can talk all you want about the Bulldogs, but Ohio has had a better season. At 17-4 and with two of their losses coming on the road to Louisville and Akron, the Bobcats have been cleaning house. D. J. Cooper is an all around player who averages 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 5.6 assists. Cooper and the Bobcats are still looking for that signature win, and they may find one in UNC Asheville.

12. Drake @ New Mexico St.: The Bulldogs are in the lower tier of Bracket Busters, while the Aggies have already beaten New Mexico and are only two games out of first place in the WAC. New Mexico St. is 4th in the nation in rebounding, a surprising stat. The biggest reason for that is Wendell McKines. The senior forward is averaging 18.3 points and 10.3 rebounds. He’s going to be a terror for Drake, who need this win badly. After just beating Wichita St. in triple overtime, they will look to sustain their momentum. Rayvonte Rice and Ben Simons do the majority of the work for the Bulldogs, but they lack depth. It’s going to be difficult for Drake to hold off New Mexico St., but expect them to enter this game focused.

13. Buffalo @ South Dakota St.: Buffalo is actually a very solid team overall. They are 4th in rebounds and 14th in assists in the nation and are on a four game winning streak. In need of a big win, the Bulls will look towards Javon Mcrea and Mitchell Watt. Both averaging nearly 15 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The duo will try to hold off Nate Wolters and the Jack Rabbits of South Dakota St. Wolters is a star, averaging 20.7 points, 5 rebounds, and 6.1 assists. He is certainly one of the best mid-major players out there, and now he will have a chance to shine on a national stage. A win over Washington is all they have to their name, so South Dakota St. will be looking for a key win. It’s Jack Rabbits against Bulls. Who will be the better Bracket Buster?