The impact (or lack thereof) of BracketBusters weekend

As we all get excited about BracketBusters weekend before, during and after the event, we must take a step back and approach it from a realistic perspective: do these games really matter?

Surely there are the intangible benefits: exposure, hype, a break from the monotony of conference play.

We're supposed to believe that for many of the participating teams these games are significantly more important and beneficial than, say, a home game against an in-conference bottom feeder.

But is that really the case? Isn't it possible for some of the top mid-majors to enter BracketBusters weekend with just as much to lose or nothing to gain based on their match-up? What is the actual impact on tournament seeding?

Personally, I believe that these games should shake-up mid-major rankings as much as possible, and offer us with a level of volatility that forces us to definitely state, "these games are incredibly important."

It should be more about teams getting to improve their resume than fans getting to see some lesser known teams. Sometimes I'm not sure that's the case.

Take a look at the impact BracketBusters weekend had on a trio of Bracketologist's latest reports. I will add Jerry Palm's numbers tomorrow upon his latest publishing on Tuesday afternoon, but the numbers below will paint a pretty clear picture of how little these games affected team's projected NCAA Tournament seeding.

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Many would argue that it's unrealistic to expect sizable jumps in seeding based on these games. I understand that one season may provide us with a dozen solid mid-major teams, and another could give us just a few.

Regardless, it's worth keeping tabs on just how much of a swing a win or a loss can mean before championing this annual event as fantastic.

A take and interpretation on each team after the jump...

Murray State

While the Racers are supposed to be the best-in-class, it looks as though BracketBusters could have only brought bad things upon this team. Cruising to a 65-51 victory over Saint Mary's, Murray State has little room to move up based on their current seeding. If they had lose on Saturday, however, and it could have been a doomsday scenario in southwest Kentucky. The visit from Dick Vitale was great to see though, something hard earned by this program's consistency over the last 20 seasons.

Saint Mary's

Beaten convincingly by Murray State, the Gaels were the biggest losers over the weekend. Frankly they have severely crippled their chances from winning an NCAA Tournament game, as they could have moved up to a five seed, and now could fall from a seven or eight seed. If you had to pick which team this weekend mattered most to, it was this Gaels club.

Long Beach State

After Twitter freaked out into the wee hours of Saturday night over the 49ers buzzer-beating loss at the hands of Creighton, it's actual impact was negligible. Really, that game was more for the Blue Jays to right the ship after losing three of their last four than it was for LBSU to earn another nice non-conference victory. Granted, this team could have probably all but clinched an at-large berth with the victory, but they didn't lose much over the weekend, aside from a bit of pride.

Creighton

It's funny how after Antoine Young hits a jumper as time expires to give his team a "big" win, the net-net leave us in the same place where we began. If anything, this team actually may slip a line on the s-curve based on other team's around them playing better. Creighton has been struggling lately, and it shouldn't have taken such theatrics to eek out a win at home over a perceived lesser team. Was the court storm really worth it, kids?

Wichita State

What a waste of time for the Shockers to have to play Davidson. Being paired with Wildcats bordered on insulting for such a solid club. They had little to gain and everything to lose. Thankfully, this team proved they were in a different class than their mid-major opponent, but perhaps another Missouri Valley Conference home game would have been just as appropriate.

Iona

Because of three MAAC losses, the Gaels have probably let an at-large berth pass them by. But as we measure the tangible impact of BracketBuster weekend, this team's play may have had the most intangible impact with a victory on Saturday afternoon. On national TV, the Gaels proved they're an offensive juggernaut that can spread the floor and push the ball. Led by Scott Machado, arguably the nation's top point guard, they can't move any higher than a 13-seed, but boy will they give their first round opponent fits, and it should stick in the minds of casual fans.

Nevada

The Wolf Pack's hopes of an at-large berth were slim entering the weekend, now they've slipped away. If this team does win the WAC, this experience will be more about getting accustomed to playing in a tournament environment far away from Reno.

Drexel

On paper their 20-point victory over Cleveland State did not move the meter whatsoever, meaning they did not rise above the at-large cut line. But the Dragons stood out this weekend as one of the most efficient defense teams in the country. Because they hail from a conference that breeds Cinderellas, this may be a game analysts point to when handicapping the field

Oral Roberts

People seem to love the Golden Eagles, but they couldn't be more overrated. Because their SOS hovers around 200, their conference dominance isn't helping them become one of the few mid-majors who are eligible of receiving an at-large berth. Basically their BracketBusters experience - a win over Akron - was just short of irrelevant.

Weber State

The Wildcats escaped with a 72-70 victory over UT-Arlington, with star Damian Lillard scoring 17 points. Because it was on ESPN3, and not ESPN or ESPN2, it's likely that this game provided zero to minimal impact for a team with no at-large hopes. Sure we pointed to this event as made for teams like this, but really that talk was a facade.

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