Bracket Buster 2013
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Bracket Buster TV Game Predictions Overall: 1-1
Friday, February 22
North Dakota St. @ Akron 7 pm ET ESPN2
Akron comes into to the game undefeated in MAC play. Led by senior Zeke Marshall, the Zips have won 17 games in a row. The Zips have held opponents to 60 or less points 12 times this season. Demetrius Treadwell has elevated his game this season averaging 10.6 points per game and 7.4 rebounds a game.
North Dakota St. has won two of their last four and in the loss to Western Illinois they only scored 36 points. The Bison go pretty deep with eight players averaging more than 15 minutes a game. Taylor Braun is the best of the bunch averaging 15.2 points a game and five rebounds.
Prediction: Akron. Win
Stephen F. Austin @ Long Beach St. 9 pm ET ESPN
Long Beach State's been dominate since the mid-season transfers arrived. Tony Freeland and Keala King arrived in time for conference play and haven't disappointed. King is coming of his best game yet scoring 22 points, Wednesday vs. UC Davis. Freeland had 18 points and six rebounds in that. The team's best player is James Ennis, he is capable of taking over a game on the boards and scoring.
Stephen F. Austin only has three losses on the season. The Lumberjacks got at big non-conference win at Oklahoma. Taylor Smith is the team's leading scorer and has field goal percentage of .707. The next two games are crucial for the Lumberjacks to improve their resume, Long Beach St then at Northwestern St.
Prediction: Long Beach State. Loss
Saturday, February 23
Iona @ Indiana St. 11 AM ET ESPNU
Iona is third in the nation in scoring at 81.5 points a game. The big problem for the Gaels is their defense, giving up at least 70 points in seven of their 12 loses. Iona is coming of back to back losses by a combined three points. Momo Jones and Sean Armand combined for about 40 points a game. Indiana will need to keep them in check.
Indiana State has dropped three straight after they beat Wichita St. and Creighton. The Sycamores are led by Jake Odum and Manny Arop. Arop leads the team in rebounding and is second in scoring. Odum knows how to get to the free throw line where he shoots 77 percent.
Eastern Kentucky @ Valparasio 1 PM ET ESPNU
Eastern Kentucky comes into the game with a 22-6 record. The Colonials have won six in a row and scored 80 or more points in five of the six games. The offense is powered by two guards, Mike DiNunno who averages 15.2 points per game and Glenn Cosey who's scored 17 or more in his past four games.
Valparasio comes into the game with only 2 home losses on the season. Australian forward Ryan Broekhoff does a bit of everything for the Crusaders. He averages 16 points per game, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists.
Canisius @ Vermont 1 pm ET ESPN3
Vermont comes into the game winning one of last three. The two losses came to Boston (tied for 2nd) and Stony Brook (1st). The Catamounts share the ball well; three players score over ten points on a team that averages just 62 points a game.
If Canisius can play at their tempo they should be able to win this game. The Griffins have nine players that average ten minutes a game. Canisius is led by a guard trio, Billy Baron 16.7 points per game, Harold Washington 12.8, and Issac Sosa 12.1.
Pacific @ Western Michigan 2 pm ET ESPN3
Pacific only has one double digit scorer, Lorenzo McCloud. The Tigers sit in second place in the Big West. One area of concern for Pacific is on the board where they are 293rd in the nation.
Western Michigan dominates the boards with almost 38 rebounds a game. Junior center Shayne Whittington almost averages a double-double with 12.8 points per game and 8.7 rebounds.
Prediction: Western Michigan
Montana @ Davidson 3 pm ET ESPNU
This is one of the best match-ups on the Bracketbuster lineup. Montana comes into the game 15-1 in the Big Sky. Since Will Cherry's return they have only lost two games. Forward Mathias Ward leads the team in points a game with 14.8.
Davidson enters the game on an eleven game winning streak. The Wildcats only have one home loss, Charlotte. The strength of the team is the frontcourt. Jake Cohen and De'mon Brooks combined for 27.6 points per game and 12 rebounds per game.
Northwestern St. @ Niagara 3 pm ET ESPN3
This should be the highest scoring game of the evening. Northwestern St. is the nation's highest scoring team at 84.0 points per game. They go deep into their bench with 10 players averaging more 15 minutes a game. If the Demons sub in 4 or 5 guys don't be alarmed this is normal.
Niagara has been up and down in its past six games. In the Purple Eagles last 3 loses it was by a combined 12 points. In their last three wins they've won by a total of 10 points. Niagara has one of the best young backcourts in the nation, Sophomores Antoine Mason (18.9) and Juan'ya Green (16.7). Odds are this will be a very close game.
Prediction: Northwestern St.
Detroit @ Wichita St. 4 pm ET ESPN/ESPN2
A lot of talent will be on the floor when these two teams take the court. Detroit's Ray McCallum Jr. comes into the game averaging 18.7 points per game. Expect a few highlight reel dunks out of Doug Anderson.
Wichita St. is on a four game win streak after a confusing three game losing streak. Hall and Early make this team go. Both players average over 12 points a game and 5 rebounds a game. What makes Wichita St. a tough team to play is what they do on the defensive end. Wichita is a tough place to play. The Shockers only have one home loss this season.
Prediction: Wichita St.
Creighton @ Saint Mary's 6 pm ET ESPN/ESPN2
Creighton started off the season looking like a national title contender, then MVC play began. Since conference play began the Bluejays have lost five games. Doug McDermott has player of the year talent he's averaged over 22 points the past two season. Center Greg Echenique leads the team in blocked shots and is second in rebounds per game.
Saint Mary's has two losses in WCC play, both to Gonzaga. This is the last game in the regular season for the Gaels to get a big win. Matthew Dellavedova leads the team in scoring and assists. Saint Mary's will need to keep McDermott in check to come out with a victory.
Prediction: Saint Mary's
South Dakota St. @ Murray St. 8 pm ET ESPN2
Two of the best guards in the country meet up in Murray. Murray St. guard Isaiah Canaan is averaging 21.2 points a game. Canaan was a pre-season All-American. Ed Daniel does the dirty work down low, averaging a double-double this season.
South Dakota St. guard Nate Wolters dropped 53 points on IPFW this season. Wolters would a third team All-American on arenafanatic.com. If Wolters is being keyed on look for forward Jordan Dykstra has the ability to beat you too.
Prediction: Murray St.
Denver @ Northern Iowa 8 pm ET ESPN3
Denver enters the game with a 13-2 WAC record. Chris Udofia leads the team in points and is second in rebounds and assists. Royce O'Neale leads the team in rebounding and assists and second in the team in scoring for the Pioneers.
Northern Iowa prides it's self on tough defense. They've beat both Creighton and Wichita St. at home. James, Koch, and Tuttle fill up the stat sheet for the Panthers.
Prediction: Northern Iowa
Ohio @ Belmont 10 pm ET ESPN2
Another great guard match-up. Ian Clark is one of the best three point shooters in the nation. Pair him with guard Kerron Johnson and you have one of the best senior backcourts. Watch out for Trevor Noack, he's scored 15 or more nine times this season including a 30 point night vs SE Missouri St.
Ohio made a sweet sixteen run last season. D.J. Cooper's number a down, but he's sharing the basketball more and taking less shots. He's averaging almost eight assists a game. Walter Offutt and Reggie Keely can take over a game if they need too.
Ranking the Match-Ups
#1 Creighton at St. Mary's
#2 Detroit at Wichita St.
#3 South Dakota St. @ Murray St.
#4 Montana @ Davidson
#5 Ohio at Belmont
#6 Stephen F. Austin @ Long Beach State
#7 Northwestern St. @ Niagara
#8 Iona @ Indiana St.
#9 North Dakota St. @ Akron
#10 Eastern Kentucky @ Valparaiso
#11 Pacific @ Western Michigan
#12 Denver @ Northern Iowa
#13 Cansius @ Vermont
Illinois State at Utah State
Loyola-Maryland at Tennessee State
Weber State at Oral Roberts
Bradley at Illinois-Chicago
Wisconsin-Green Bay at Drake
Central Michigan at Youngstown State
Albany at Fairfield
Evansville at Wright State
Gardner-Webb at College of Charleston
Morehead State at Oakland
UC Irvine at Texas-Arlington
Kent State at Loyola-Chicago
Jacksonville State at UNC Asheville
Charleston Southern at Rider
McNeese State at Toledo
Loyola Marymount at Cal Poly
Sacramento State at UC Santa Barbara
Missouri State at Eastern Michigan
Miami (Ohio) at Southern Illinois
Manhattan at Buffalo
Northern Arizona at Hawaii
Ball State at Southeast Missouri State
Northern Colorado at UC Davis
Southeastern Louisiana at Winthrop
Savannah State at Campbell
UMKC at Tennessee Tech
Eastern Illinois at Northern Illinois
Morgan State at High Point
Nicholls State at Texas-San Antonio
VMI at Marist
SIU Edwardsville at Central Arkansas
Coastal Carolina at Western Carolina
Radford at Siena
North Dakota at Nebraska-Omaha
South Dakota at Montana State
Bowling Green at IPFW
Wisconsin-Milwaukee at IUPUI
Longwood at Tennessee Martin
Cal State Northridge at Southern Utah
Texas State at Lamar
Cal State Fullerton at Texas A&M- CC
St. Peter's at Hampton
Idaho at Idaho State
Sam Houston State at Eastern Washington
UC Riverside at Portland State
Austin Peay at Liberty
The Citadel at Presbyterian
Cleveland State at Western Illinois