A Capsuled look at 3 of the Marquee Bracket Buster Games

31 Jan

St. Mary’s at Murray State 6:00PM Feb. 18 ESPN or ESPN2

This is the match up everyone was hoping for, the best available road team in the pool squaring off with the nation’s last undefeated team.   Both teams are undefeated in their respective conferences and neither should have to sweat anything come Selection Sunday.

St. Mary’s 21-2, 10-0 1st in West Coast Conference

RPI: 20

SOS: 110

Key Wins: vs BYU 98-92,vs Gonzaga 83-62,at BYU 80-66

Bad Losses: NONE


Points: Matthew Dellavedova 15.4

                 Rob Jones 14.3

Rebounds: Rob Jones 10.8

                         Stephen Holt 4.9

Assists: Matthew Dellavedova 6.4

                  Stephen Holt 3.5

Why it is important to St. Mary’s

While a loss doesn’t hurt the Gaels at all in terms of an at-large, a win however gives them another notch on the bedpost heading into the NCAA Tournament.



Murray State 21-0, 9-0 1st in Ohio Valley Conference

RPI: 33

Isaiah Caanan leads undefeated Murray State

SOS: 227

Key Wins: vs Southern Mississippi 90-81 2OT ,vs Dayton 75-58,at Memphis 76-72

Bad Losses: None


Points: Isaiah Canaan 18.7

Donte Poole 14.7

Rebounds: Ivan Aska 5.8

Ed Daniel 5.3

Assists: Isaiah Canaan 3.8

Jewuan Long 3.0

Why it is important to Murray State

Let’s be honest, to some it is still Murray State  from the Ohio Valley, undefeated or not.   The level of competition is always going to be a question.  And for the most part that is true as the Racers will not face anyone with an RPI above 178 the rest of the season.  A win against St. Mary’s will give them legitimacy in some eyes and perhaps improve their seeding in the NCAA Tournament.

Long Beach State at Creighton 10:00PM Feb. 18 ESPN2

The leader in the Big West travels to the Valley to take on Creighton.  Creighton should be in the tournament no questions asked.  When looking at Long Beach, they could use a resume building win. But you can’t say they haven’t tried, having played the toughest non-conference schedule in the country.



Long Beach State 16-6, 9-0 1st in Big West Conference

RPI: 34

Casper Ware leads Long Beach State into Omaha to face Creighton

SOS: 70

Key Wins: vs Pitt 86-76vs Xavier 68-58

Bad Losses: None


Points: Casper Ware 16.8

Larry Anderson 15.2

Rebounds: TJ Robinson 10.2

Eugene Phelps 5.5

Assists: Casper Ware 3.3

Larry Anderson 3.2

Why it is important to Long Beach State

Could use another top 100 win to add to the wins over Xavier and Pittsburgh.  The 9ers also have losses to; San Diego State, Louisville, North Carolina, Kansas and Kansas State. One more win could help them sleep easier if they happen to fall in the Big West Finals.



Creighton 20-2, 10-1 1st in Missouri Valley Conference

RPI: 14

SOS: 120

Key Wins: at San Diego State 85-83at Wichita State 68-61

Bad Losses: None


Points: Doug McDermott 23.5

Antoine Young 11.2

Rebounds: Doug McDermott 8.4

Gregory Echenique 7.2

Assists: Grant Gibbs 5.7

Antoine Young 4.4

Why it is important to Creighton

Another chance for Creighton to solidify its at-large resume (which should be as solid as it gets).  Player of the Year Candidate gets to shine in a spotlight pre-March.

Nevada at Iona 4:00PM Feb. 18 ESPN or ESPN2




Nevada 18-3, 7-0 1st in Western Athletic Conference

RPI:  59

SOS: 182

Key Wins: vs Washington 76-73 OT

Bad Losses: None


Points: Deonte Burton 15.5

Malik Story 14.6

Rebounds: Dario Hunt 9.0

Olek Czyz 6.1

Assists: Deonte Burton 4.5

Malik Story 2.2

Why it is important to Nevada

A win by Nevada will give them an extra boost in the eyes of the Selection Committee, and the Wolf Pack could use a quality non-conference win.



Iona 17-5, 9-2 tied for 1st in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

RPI:  53

SOS: 145

Key Wins: None

Bad Losses: at Hofstra 83-75at Siena 65-62


Scotty Machado will lead Iona's get up and go pace against Nevada

Points: Michael Glover 18.8

Lamont Jones 14.9

Rebounds: Michael Glover 9.0

Scott Machado 5.2

Assists: Scott Machado 9.9

Lamont Jones 3.3

Why it is important to Iona

Like Nevada, Iona lacks that signature win, and with a couple of questionable blemishes on their dockett, and currently being in a 3-way tie for the lead in the MAAC with Manhattan and Loyola (MD), could use a result to distinguish themselves one way or the other.

College Hoop Haven


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