Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Creighton/St. Mary's Headlines Final BracketBusters Event

Creighton travels to St. Mary's for the biggest BracketBusters game of the year. (smcgaels.com)

BracketBusters is in it's final season, and after the pairings were announced Tuesday, it isn't exactly going out with a bang.

While some of the best mid-major teams are in action Feb. 22 and 23, the matchups are lacking the excitement the namesake has brought in the past. The purpose of BracketBusters is to give mid-major teams a final chance to earn a quality win late in the season and get exposure on national television.

If you're looking to scout teams that can make a buzz in the NCAA Tournament, this is your event. Indiana State is making a run at Creighton, Wichita State (both part of BracketBusters) and a Missouri Valley title and can make noise if they get into the tournament, March Madness veterans Belmont and Davidson are looking for a return trip and Murray State and Long Beach State try to regain the momentum from outstanding seasons last year.

The clear winner for best matchup to watch is Creighton versus St. Mary's. Creighton will be able to walk into the NCAA Tournament with a 20-3 record and quality wins but St. Mary's (19-4) is still in need of a signature win to boost the resume. Unlike some of the other matchups in the BracketBusters event, the Gaels can vastly improve their chances in March with a win against Creighton and can gain the most out of the BracketBusters teams who were not given the best opponent to help their causes.

St. Mary's has a great home crowd that will be going crazy for this game, but not only will having so much at stake for one side help build the anticipation in the arena, it will also be a great matchup on the court. The Bluejays and Gaels are both uptempo teams who can score quickly, so this could be a game of runs.

Creighton's Doug McDermott (24 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is a front runner for national player of the year and fans should take any chance they get to watch this guy play. St. Mary's is lead by point guard Matthew Dellavedova (16.3 ppg, 6.5 apg) who can hit big shot after big shot and has been doing it his whole career. Playing in the Olympics for the Australian national team looked to have only enhanced his game, and if the game is close in the final two minutes, look for the ball to be in his hands.

St. Mary's is looking to reach the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time since 2008, and a win over a ranked Creighton team should boost the Gaels into one of the final 68 spots, as long as they don't shoot themselves in the foot in the remainder of WCC play.

To start preparing your viewing schedule now, here's a schedule from ESPN for the BracketBusters games on TV:

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