INDIANAPOLIS -- It's the eve of mid-majordom's national holiday, and for this fifth edition of the event we're getting the whole family involved.
Yo dad, those repairs on the car can wait. There are 14 great televised mid-major matchups to watch! It's the perfect time to bring Junior onto the couch for a day of male bonding and watch some good ol' fundamentals-first basketball. You want him to grow up to play the right way, right? Watching Butler and Southern Illinois and Appalachian State should give him the hoops and life smarts that he needs to be the next
Dru Joyce. That dude stayed in school.
Janie, why don't you get off that cell phone, come out of your room, and join the party? Everyone knows that mid-major guys are total hotties. And hey mom, how 'bout baking up some great BracketBusters Brickle Cookies
for the whole clan to enjoy? They'll need plenty of while they watch the action on ESPN2 and ESPNU, then huddle around the family computer to watch the ESPN360 games.
1 package yellow cake mix
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c English toffee bits
In a mixing bowl, combine the dry cake mix, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla; mix well. Stir in pecans. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Roll into 1-inch balls; dip top of each into toffee bits and set 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Thanks, mom! Look, they've saved a spot on the couch for you.
And for the rest of you, there's plenty of words to read about the Busters here
, you can listen to one of those "podcast" thingies on your ThingyPod here
, and you can even come talk about it on the electronic chatterbox at 3pm Eastern time here
! What a handsome and articulate gentleman that guy is. And here, once again, are our up-to-the minute previews of all 51 games.Albany at Boise State
(TV)Appalachian State at Wichita State
(TV)Austin Peay at AkronBall State at Illinois StateBowling Green at Morehead StateBradley at Virginia Commonwealth
(TV)Cal State Fullerton at Wright State
(TV)California-Irvine at San FranciscoCalifornia-Riverside at IdahoCanisius at Coastal CarolinaCentral Michigan at Illinois-ChicagoCleveland State at Cal State NorthridgeColgate at MaristDetroit at BuffaloDrexel at Creighton
(TV)Eastern Illinois at Loyola (Ill.)Eastern Kentucky at Youngstown StateEastern Washington at California-Santa BarbaraElon at Georgia StateEvansville at SamfordHawaii at Long Beach StateHoly Cross at Hofstra
(TV)Iona at DelawareJacksonville State at ChattanoogaJames Madison at SienaKent State at George Mason
(TV)Liberty at NiagaraLouisiana Tech at Southeast MissouriLoyola (Md.) at Tennessee StateMaine at NortheasternManhattan at Eastern MichiganMiami (Oh.) at Indiana StateMurray State at RiderNorth Carolina-Wilmington at North Carolina-GreensboroNorthern Iowa at Nevada
(TV)Northwestern State at Tennessee TechOhio at New Mexico State
(TV)Old Dominion at Toledo
(TV)Pacific at MontanaPortland State at Cal PolySaint Peter's at Tennessee-MartinSam Houston State at Fresno StateSan Jose State at Northern ArizonaSouthern Illinois at Butler
(TV)Towson at BucknellUtah State at Oral Roberts
(TV)Valparaiso at Western MichiganWilliam & Mary at FairfieldWinthrop at Missouri State
(TV)Wisconsin-Green Bay at Northern IllinoisWisconsin-Milwaukee at Drake
All hail Hoops Nation's first champion of the year, Central Connecticut State from the mighty mighty Northeast Conference
. The Real Blue Devils completed their regular-season title run by defeating the defending tourney champions Monmouth down on the Jersey Shore, 70-65
... Weber State (18-10, 11-4) owns a share of the Big Sky
title, after dropping league champs Montana 73-67
. Now the Wildcats sit around and wait as the others make up the schedule slack -- their final league game is at Sacramento State on Feb. 26... Another No. 1 tie-clinching team last night was Oral Roberts in the Mid-Con
, which beat Centenary 85-80
to move to 11-1, two games ahead of 9-3 Oakland, an 80-76
loser to Missouri-Kansas City last evening... Vermont (20-6, 12-2 America East
) celebrated a Buster-free Valentine's Day by making up one of Albany's games in hand, defeating Maine in Orono by a 90-75
count. The Catamounts have won eight straight, and are a game and a half up on the Scoobies with three league games to go...Bradley is getting hot at the right time; the Braves are 9-7 after nipping Evansville 72-71 at Roberts Stadium on Wednesday and return home to finish out the league slate with slumping Wichita State and out-of-it Indiana State. What could they do at Arch Madness with an 11-7 record and a four seed?... Winthrop (22-4, 12-0, 12 straight wins) tuned up for its Missouri State Buster with a 78-54 win against Charleston Southern... Long Beach State (18-6, 9-2, five straight wins) is in control of the Big West race after a 94-84 win at TV Buster-bound Cal State Fullerton. The 49ers have successfully swept its tough three-game road trip, and are up on CSF in the RPI race, 72-139, despite being radio-only tomorrow. Oops!
Nevada spent its Valentine's Day spreading the love against San Jose State; four Pack members scored in double figures, led by 20 on 9-for-16 shooting out of The Big Freak... Patriot Leaguers Bucknell and Holy Cross are both 11-1 going into BB after Thursday wins; HC will visit Hofstra on TV, and Bucknell (nine straight wins) will toil versus Towson at home... Appalachian State (20-6, 12-3) dusted Chattanooga 85-69 in SoCon play; they're off to Wichita's Roundhouse, while 13-1 Davidson will celebrate BracketBusters Saturday by playing league foe Western Carolina on the road. Oh well.
No denying the trouble Drexel (19-7, 11-5 CAA) is in at-large-wise after losing at William & Mary 60-47 the other day. It's still Virginia Commonwealth first (14-2), Old Dominion second (13-3), Hofstra third (12-4). All the top four will be playing onscreen on BracketBusters Saturday... Three teams in the MAAC are on five-game win streaks; Marist has once again peeked above at 12-4, earning its 20th win last night in a 73-57 thunderstrike against suddenly sliding Manhattan (three straight losses). Siena (11-5), my current pick to win the league, capped a come-from-behind on formerly hot Fairfield 69-64 on the strength of 19 from the ageless Michael Haddix. Niagara (10-5) is the other streaky team.
K-Dub's Krazy Fact of the Day!
Just a few BracketBusters nuggets to tide you over until the hoops feast:
- Think the predetermined home and road teams were imbalanced, with too many good home teams? Consider this: visiting BracketBusters teams are a combined 714-608 (.540) and home teams are a combined 651-668 (.494).
- There are only five teams to have participated in all five BracketBusters: Creighton, Southern Illinois, Fresno State, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Kent State.
- Of the nine games in the first BracketBusters, only two ended up with double-digit margins: Detroit's 75-59 win at California-Santa Barbara, and Illinois-Chicago's 83-72 home decision over Bowling Green.
- Efficiency-wise, last year's television games were pretty good. When measured by efficiency margin, George Mason (+4.5 over Wichita State) was the beat game of the day, Utah State (+4.9 over Northwestern State) and Louisiana Tech (+4.9 over Southern Illinois), were next, then Kent State (+5.8 over Butler), Missouri State (+11.8 over Wisconsin-Milwaukee). Western Kentucky, which dropped out of the Buster along with the rest of the Sun Belt, romped (+33.4 over NAU) on ESPNU. The 360 games were pretty bad metric blowouts: Iona (+22.8 over Buffalo) and Ohio (+22.5 over Samford).
- UMPFN participated in the first two Busters in 2003 and 2004, drawing Tulsa both times and winning 69-60 and 76-56. Ironically, neither is a mid-major anymore.
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