The annual BracketBuster event has grown to include 142 teams. That's a bit too egalitarian for me, but really there's usually less than 20 programs involved with a real shot to make noise in the NCAA Tournament.
Schedules for the event were announced today on ESPNU opposite all that pretty looking Super Bowl coverage. Perhaps the Worldwide Leader could have waited seven days, let the football season end, then build excitement by airing the selection show as a lead-in to Big Monday? Just a thought, guys.
Anyway, in order of importance, here are the only games that should be of interest, two of which will really get fans excited. The complete schedule can be found elsewhere.
Saint Mary's @ Murray State (2/18 | 6pm | ESPN)
The only game that will (likely) feature two ranked teams, and that's not a mistake. The individual match-up will be Matthew Dellavedova vs. Isaiah Canaan, but both teams have a number of guys that can score.
Long Beach State @ Creighton (2/18 | 10pm | ESPN)
No need to pick up a girl at a bar this Saturday night, just get romanced by two teams with Sweet 16 aspirations. Despite the incredible non-conference schedule the 49ers endured this season, they're still no shoe-in for an at large berth. Get a win in Omaha, though, and they have one more quality win to list next to the handful of good losses.
Nevada @ Iona (2/18 | 4pm | ESPN2)
The WAC leader faces a Gaels team with three legitimate scorers, including the nation's assist leader in Scott Machado. The Wolfpack currently have the country's second longest winning streak, and could really benefit from traveling east and gaining some national respect.
Wichita State @ Davidson (2/18 | Noon | ESPN2)
The Shockers average 78 points a game; the Wildcats are in the bottom third of the country in defense. But given that Bob McKillop's club beat Kansas and did not really have any bad losses since Samford on Saturday, this could be both surprisingly close and fun to watch.
Akron @ Oral Roberts (2/18 | 2pm | ESPN2)
Highly underrated MAC squad vs. the team that currently sits at the top of The Summit. The Golden Eagles have won 14 in a row since losing to Gonzaga on December 15th and are trending towards being a true tournament darkhorse.