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Columnists | Message Board  | Daily Dribble

By Joel Welser

January 28th, 2006

Note: Official BracketBusters Schedule Announcement & Commentary can be found here

Bracket Buster Predictions

This yearís Bracket Buster is loaded with talent on the side of the designated home teams.  That will make for an unpredictable announcement of scheduled games come January 29th, however it may make for some less than competitive games as well.  Nonetheless, Iíll take a stab at predicting what I think are fair and interesting match-ups for ESPN's Bracket Buster Saturday.

Bucknell at Northern Iowa

This is the cream of the crop right here and could actually bust a bracket.  UNI should be in either way, but Bucknell could use another big road win to leave little doubt if they stumble heading into the NCAAs. 

George Mason at Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The Colonial Athletic Association is eyeing two bids into the NCAAs.  A good conference showing on February 18th is a necessity and George Mason winning on the road against a Sweet Sixteen team from a year ago would be the marquee victory.

Northwestern State at Southern Illinois

The Demons of Northwestern State have victories in Starkville and Stillwater, but if weíve learned anything over the last few years, it is that nobody comes away from Carbondale with a win.  It would be huge for the Devils and the Southland Conference, but at the least, it gives an underappreciated team like Northwestern State some much deserved television exposure.

Oral Roberts and Montana

This one might be down the list a ways according to the RPI, but these are two teams you might see in March.  Both teams are currently second place in their respective conferences, but have plenty of firepower to overtake the leaders, or at least win the conference tournament.  Despite an overall generally disappointing season for ORU, they still have the dynamic duo of Caleb Green and Ken Tutt, who are a must watch if this game makes it on the family of networks.

Akron at Utah State

Akron may be the team to beat in the MAC and there is no better way to prove that than with a win in Logan.  Utah State doesnít have much room for error and another quality win would help out the old RPI coming down the stretch.  It isnít a must win for the Aggies, but it will be for Akron if they slip in Cleveland and still plan to have higher aspirations than the NIT.


And the rest of the projected games:

Niagara at Austin Peay

Delaware at Ball State

Santa Clara at Boise State

Youngstown State at Bowling Green

Buffalo at Bradley

Tennessee Martin at Cal State Fullerton

Eastern Michigan at Canisus

Georgia State at Cleveland State

Morehead at Central Michigan

Idaho at College of Charleston

La Tech at Creighton

Southeast Missouri State at Detroit

Wright State at Drexel

Cal Poly at Eastern Illinois

Fairleigh Dickinson at Eastern Kentucky

Tennessee State at Evansville

Toledo at Hawaii

Illinois-Chicago at Hofstra

Drake at Iona

UC Santa Barbara at Jacksonville State

Illinois State at Kent State

Long Beach State at Louisiana Lafayette

Albany at Loyola (IL)

Vermont at Loyola (MD)

Butler at Manhattan

Fairfield at Miami (OH)

Cal State Northridge at Montana State

Rider at Murray State

Northern Illinois at Nevada

Indiana State at Northeastern

Samford at Ohio

Missouri State at Old Dominion

Eastern Washington at Pacific

New Orleans at San Jose State

New Mexico State at St. Maryís

Arkansas State at St. Peterís

Northern Arizona at UC Irvine

Stephen F. Austin at UC Riverside

UNC Asheville at Wisconsin Green Bay

High Point at Valparaiso

Marist at Virginia Commonwealth

Tennessee Tech at Western Kentucky

UNC Greensboro at Western Michigan

Fresno at Wichita State

Siena at Winthrop

Check out Joel Welser's new Broadcast Basketball blog, a comprehensive guide to watching college basketball.





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