A BRACKET BUSTER SATURDAY
ESPN's annual Bracket Buster Saturday is headed your way this weekend. Six mid-major games involving seven teams who played NCAA Tourney ball last season will be broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2, all with major implications regarding this year's NCAA Tournament. The action tips off at 11:00 AM CST, and the last battle of the day does not not begin until 11:00 PM CST. Teams from all across the country, from California to Vermont and back to Hawaii, will take part in the festivities. Here's a quick look at each of the matchups:
11:00 AM CST : ESPN2 : Wichita State at Miami (Ohio) : Miami currently holds the best league record in the MAC, while Wichita State is tied atop the Missouri Valley standings. Both teams have RPI ratings among the top thirty in the country and are on pace to make the NCAA Tournament.
1:00 PM CST : ESPN2 : Vermont at Nevada : Billed as the signature matchup of the weekend, this battle showcases the best team in the America East Conference against the WAC's top squad. Like the previous matchup, both teams bring in top thirty RPI ratings, the Catamounts an impressive sixteen.
3:00 PM CST : ESPN2 : Western Michigan at Northern Iowa : The Broncos are leading the MAC West but find themselves a couple of games behind Miami (Ohio) in the overall standings. The Panthers also find themselves a few games back in the Missouri Valley standings. Neither team boasts an impressive RPI at this time.
5:00 PM CST : ESPN2 : Southern Illinois at Kent State : This is another matchup of the Missouri Valley and MAC. The Salukis, a team with good recent history in March, are tied atop the MVC standings and bring in an RPI of fourteen. The Flashes are 8-5 in MAC play with a top-forty RPI rating.
7:00 PM CST : ESPN2 : Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Hawaii : UWM is currently leading the Horizon League but carries an RPI of only sixty-seven. The Warriors, though they have beaten Oral Roberts and USC, have struggled this season and have little shot at the NCAA Tourney other than winning the WAC Tournament.
11:00 PM CST : ESPN : UTEP at Pacific : The final matchup of the day pits a controversial Pacific team against a Miner team that is currently second in the WAC. The Tigers have a top twenty-five RPI, but some say the 20-2 club is overrated. UTEP, who carries a sixty-six RPI rating, is squarely on the NCAA bubble.
TIME FOR A PLAYOFF
If you are familiar with this website, you know that we are very much in favor of a playoff in college football, whether it be the four-team or eight-team variety. We wish for anything other than the debacles of the past two seasons.
One group is trying to spread the word by getting signatures on a petition, over 2700 of which they have already received. If you would like to read the petition and take a moment to sign, just click the link below.
WEEKEND SPOTLIGHT LEAGUE
For this week's spotlight league, we look down south. The SEC has several crucial matchups on tap for Saturday. Take a look....
South Carolina and Alabama get underway at 2:00 PM CST Saturday afternoon. That game will be televised regionally by Jefferson-Pilot. The Gamecocks' NCAA hopes looked bleak after a loss to Auburn last week, but a huge upset of Kentucky now puts USC back on the NCAA map at 14-8 and 6-5 in league play. A win at Alabama would make things very interesting in the next few weeks. The Tide is playing for a high seed and conference title.
Like the USC/UA contest, Florida and LSU will tip-off at 2:00 and be shown by JP. The Tigers are likely the SEC's fifth-best team right now, but many experts are unsure if the league will earn that fifth NCAA berth. To keep those hopes alive, LSU needs to protect the home court, especially when a team who is almost a lock for the NCAA Tournament themselves comes to town.
FoxSportsNet will televise a 6:00 PM CST battle between Arkansas and Vanderbilt. Both squads still have NCAA hopes, but they are fading fast. A break-even conference record is a must for any team in the SEC. Vandy currently sits at 4-6, while the Hogs are 5-6. Road wins are precious, so a victory like this could get a 17-7 UA squad on the map. This is a must-win for the 'Dores.
The final SEC matchup of the weekend has Mississippi State traveling to Kentucky where the ESPN College GameDay crew will be set up. Tip-off is set for 8:00 PM CST. The Bulldogs have slipped out of the national polls in recent weeks but are still a very good bet for the NCAA Tournament, especially since star guard Winsome Frazier is expected back any day. Like Alabama, UK is playing for championships and seeding.
The only other matchups of the SEC weekend pit four teams who, unless they win the conference tournament, will not factor into the NCAA discussion. Auburn and Georgia get underway at 3:00 PM CST with no television broadcast. Mississippi hosts Tennessee at 4:00 PM CST on FoxSportsNet.
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