Monday, February 25, 2013

Bracket Buster Report

So, Saturday the bracket buster came to an end.  Its effects will be felt for a while--for example, Akron is going to have to go North Dakota and Toledo to McNeese State (lots of luck, I've been there and it is, um, interesting)--but beyond that, it was the kind of day you expect from the MAC.  OK, but not great.

The conference went 5-7.   Here are the wins and losses, with kenpom ratings listed.

Akron over North Dakota State (64)
WMU over Pacific (143)
Kent wins @Loyola-Chic (190)
Ball State wins @ SE Missouri (246)
UT wins over McNeese (305)

Ohio @Belmont (41)
Buffalo to Manhattan (177)
Miami @ Southern Illinois (188)
CMU @Youngstown State (191)
EMU to Missouri State (213)
BG @IPFW (248)
NIU to Eastern Illinois (270)

So, extrapolating...

  • Akron had the best win, though the game was at home.
  • Ohio had a really tough assignment.  They had the toughest opponent and on their floor.
  • Kent has the best road win.
  • Buffalo had the worst home loss
  • NIU has the worst loss...worst opponent and then game was in DeKalb.
  • UT has the easiest win.
  • EMU had the worst home less.

Two other observations.

First, I don't think the Bracket Buster changed much for the MAC.  I think Akron could easily be a Sweet 16 team but I don't think they are anywhere near an at-large bid.  And, their game was good but not good enough to make a real difference.  I almost think you want to go on the road for the Bracket Buster--a home win just doesn't get the steam you need.  Even after the game, Akron's ken pom and RPI is 49.  This is a one-bid conference and the only hope for the Zips (or OU) is to win at the Q.

Second, I think it was time for the Bracket Buster to go away.  The idea was noble, but I don't really think it ended up going anywhere.  It certainly didn't do much for the bracket--though you could argue the Bracket Buster win VCU got over Wichita State that season got them an at-large bid and they ended up in the Final Four.

The biggest potential plus it had was some badly needed schedule variety.  BG had 12 opponents, and two were Youngstown State and one was Detroit.  Another was Wright State...all teams we play or could play regularly.  IPFW is nothing too exciting and we played Morehead State twice.  The UIC thing was good, Valpo was good, Canisius was a new opponent and sounds like a sneeze, and Arkansas Little Rock is at least far away.

In almost classic BG fashion, the Falcons finished 6-6 in the bracket buster.

I have long thought that the MAC should find a comparable conference and play a set of games on the same weekend.  Of course, you'd have to find a conference with 12 teams, etc.

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