Author Archive - Matthew Stevens

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Bradley at Virginia Commonwealth

Right now the Braves (17-10, 8-7) are looking eerily similar to the 2006 Missouri State Bears. Jim Les’ team is well-liked by the computers, but is just 1-7 against the RPI’s Top 50 teams, the one win coming against SIU at home. A road win to improve that record to 2-7 this late in the… more »

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Utah State at Oral Roberts

The Mid-Con’s current leader and overwhelming favorite to win the conference is looking for a program-defining win against a consistent NCAA Tournament team.USU is hoping for two consecutive at-large bids this year, but are significantly hindered by a cupcake non-conference schedule (we don’t blame them; the Committee sent the wrong message last year). USU’s RPI… more »

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Old Dominion at Toledo

Fans of Old Dominion could not have asked for a worse draw. ODU is playing its best basketball of the year, blowing out VCU at home over the weekend, and with its non-conference win at Georgetown, is squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble.But Toledo is not an at-large threat, despite a gaudy 9-2 MAC record,… more »

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Northern Iowa at Nevada

When the BracketBuster matchups were announced last month, this looked like the second- or third-best behind Butler-SIU. But with UNI’s recent slide in Valley play (four of five L’s, including three at home), the This very last thing Northern Iowa (16-10, 7-8) needs is a cross-country road trip. But they now travel to Reno, Nevada,… more »

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Southern Illinois at Butler

We’re already salivating, Pavlov-style, over this game of canine superiority (a Saluki is a kind of racing dog for the uninitiated), and the game doesn’t take place for another six days. In a Saturday laden with a ridiculous number of terrific matchups (Florida @ Vandy, UCLA @ Arizona, UNC @ BC, Washington @ Pittsburgh, Memphis… more »

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Holy Cross at Hofstra

We could easily see both of these teams in the NCAA Tournament, despite the fact that neither has a powerful enough resume to make it as an at-large. Hofstra was the hot preseason pick in the Colonial Athletic Association, but fizzled early, starting the season 0-3. Holy Cross, meanwhile, was always expected to challenge Bucknell… more »

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Appalachian State at Wichita State

With its limited market saturation, “The U” may as well be “The Ocho.” And that’s unfortunate, because this could be one of the BracketBuster’s best games, and it certainly has bubble and seeding implications.With neutral-court wins over Virginia and Vanderbilt, and road wins at Davidson and VCU, the Mountaineers (19-6, 11-3) could make a strong… more »

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Albany at Boise State

Though there aren’t any major NCAA Tournament implications at stake in this game, a road win would certainly give Albany (18-7, 11-2) an injection of confidence as they try to the win the America East regular season title for the second consecutive season. It might also be enough to keep the Great Danes out of… more »

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Winthrop at Missouri State

The opening matchup of the 2007 BracketBuster is exactly what the founders of the event had in mind when they came up with the idea for the event back in 2003: two highly-rated, highly-respected mid-majors battling on national television for a major, major win in the eyes of the NCAA Selection Committee. Given where these… more »

Mid-American Conference Musings

The members of the Mid-American Conference have created a history of making deep runs in the NCAA Tournament (2002 Elite Eight – Kent State, 1999 Miami (OH) – Sweet 16). But in the last two seasons the MAC has lost its luster when it comes to tournament respect and success, and this season looks to… more »

Virginia Commonwealth Rams

Team Personality: Size doesn’t matter.Virginia Commonwealth (18-3, 10-0 CAA) relies on full-court pressure defense and has its three best players live and die from the outside. Longtime Billy Donovan assistant Anthony Grant (replacing Jeff Capel, who left for Oklahoma) plays a Rick Pitino-style of basketball that forces opponents to chase his guys all over the… more »

Winthrop Eagles

Winthrop was seconds away from sending its 2006 first round NCAA Tournament game with Tennessee to overtime in its attempt to become the third-ever 15-seed to pull off an upset. Then Tennessee guard Chris Lofton ruined the Eagles’ season. A fall-away jump shot off a sideline inbounds pass made the Eagles were the victim a… more »

Holy Cross Crusaders

After two straight seasons of first round victories, jersey flipping and overall dominance, the Patriot League has been all about the Bucknell Bison. But, after two members of the Bison’s backcourt graduated, four straight losses to start the season followed. Suddenly, the conference seemed wide open.To find the team that may wave the league flag… more »

Samford Bulldogs

Less grind and more glide. It’s these simple words that got Samford head coach Jimmy Tillette to sell his players on an offense they had never seen live and was unique to its region of the country. Explaining the Princeton-style offense in the middle of Dixie country became similar to teaching a foreign language. “What… more »

2006 South Padre Island Tournament

For most of the programs in this eight-team preseason event, they couldn’t be happier with the sun, surf and vacation during its Thanksgiving break. It is worth mentioning the gym that hosts the event in Texas has a capacity of 1,500 so television viewers and fans may be disappointed with early struggles as teams fail… more »

Potential NCAA Tournament Upsets

Thursday and Friday represent Christmas Day for every mid-major program, as they receive national television coverage, play in front of their largest attendance all year and attempt to pull of an upset that their fans will remember for generations to come. Here’s my breakdown of each of my predicted first-round upsets. Veterans Memorial Arena –… more »

NCAA Tournament Snubs

Andy Kennedy sat down with his players to watch the selection show Sunday evening and had a scheduled meeting with his assistants immediately afterward to begin the process of gameplanning for its first round matchup. Then he waited, and waited and waited some more.Once Cincinnati never appeared on the board but mid-major schools like George… more »

NCAA Tournament Cinderella Teams

For the sixth time in a decade, Murray State will carry the banner for the Ohio Valley Conference into the NCAA Tournament. The Racers rolled to 64-48 victory over Samford in the OVC Tournament Championship.Murray State will be a scouting nightmare for its first-round opponent. Because unlike most mid-majors that advance to the NCAA Tournament,… more »

Team Profile: 2006 BracketBuster Recap: Northern Iowa 65, Bucknell 61 (2OT)

UNI-Dome, Cedar Falls, Iowa Think about it: all Bucknell had to do with inbound the ball. The Bison didn’t, and in failing to do so, probably lost a realistic shot at achieving a quality seed in the NCAA Tournament. “It was a great game. The kids left it all out there,” Bucknell head coach Pat… more »

Team Profile: 2006 BracketBuster Preview: Bucknell at Northern Iowa

This game epitomizes the entire media-created BracketBuster event. The fans know it, the Selection Committee knows it, Bristol knows it. “It’s two of the premier mid-major teams going at it,” UNI’s Ben Jacobson told the Cedar Falls Courier. “A lot of eyes will be on this game.” It almost seems like these two programs were… more »

Northwestern State

Like most coaches in the preseason, Northwestern State head coach Mike McConathy looked at his 2005 non-conference schedule and saw possibilities, not pitfalls. Given the seventh-toughest non-conference slate in the country, the Demons of the Southland Conference turned those possibilities into reality. In a nine-day period starting in late November and ending on Dec. 5,… more »

Mid-Major Games of the Week: Part II: December 22, 2005

While most students are home for Christmas break relaxing, coaches and student-athletes across the country are putting in long hours to get through what might be the toughest stretch in collegiate sports. The period before, during, and after finals often involves numerous high-quality matchups, especially for mid-majors trying to beef up their NCAA Tournament profile… more »

The Missouri Valley at Its Peak

There’s a reason you’ve seen three consecutive articles on Bracketography all featuring the Missouri Valley Conference. The conference’s secret is out: The Valley is dangerous.“Every day you wake up and see another (winning) score,” Illinois State head coach Porter Moser said. “Nobody is surprised, we weren’t surprised but we were just waiting for it to… more »

Mid-Major Games of the Week: December 4, 2005

Newsflash for all college basketball fans: the NCAA Tournament field is already filled with parity. Don’t believe me? Just ask Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski if his team deserved to beat Virginia Tech at home. While the VaTech game was an ACC matchup, we’ve seen a number of games already where the favored major team… more »

Bucknell Bison Ready to Roam in 2006

In the small town of Lewisburg, Pa., everyone in the orange and blue faithful are all quoting Bob Dylan because the times they are a changing.As the Bucknell Bison approach their 2005 season, excitement is buzzing around a season that could be even more magical than the previous one. One thing is for sure about… more »

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