Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Look at MAAC Opponents in BracketBuster Games

Matchups for the final "BracketBusters" series, in which all 10 MAAC teams will be involved, were announced earlier this week.

More than a few coaches involved in the BracketBusters series would prefer not to play a non-league game so late in the season.

But, the event has been beneficial in getting an additional non-league opponent on the schedule in an era when scheduling is becoming increasingly difficult. And, for the better teams, the result of a BracketBusters' contest can be the difference between an eventual bid in a national post-season tournament, or staying home.

A year ago, for instance, Iona's case for an eventual at-large berth in the NCAA tournament got a significant boost with a BracketBusters' victory over Nevada.

Here's a look at who is playing who, and some information on opponents of conference teams; three league teams will be involved in televised games (as noted below)...

- Iona at Indian State University, Saturday, Feb. 23, 11 a.m. at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute, Ind (ESPNU).

Indiana State, of the Mountain Valley Conference, has a 14-8 overall record (through Tuesday night's games). Its top players are 6-4 junior guard Jake Odum (13.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game) and 6-6 junior forward Manny Arop (12.9 points, 5.0 rebounds per game).

- Canisius at Vermont, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. at Patrick Gymnasium in Burlington, Vt. (ESPN3).

Vermont, a member of the America East Conference, has a 14-7 overall record. Its top players are 6-8 junior forward Clancy Rugg ((11.1 points, 5.8 rebounds), 6-7 junior forward Luke Apfeld (10.1, 3.9) and 6-2 junior guard Sandro Carissimo (10.1, 3.0). The Catamounts have an early season 54-53 victory over Siena and a 68-58 loss to Niagara.

- Niagara will host Northwestern State University, Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. at the Gallagher Center (ESPN 3).

Northwestern State, of the Southland Conference, has a 14-6 overall record.  Its best players are 6-7 junior forward DeQuan Hicks (15.1, 6.8), 6-0 senior guard Shamir Davis (12.7, 2.4), and 6-8 senior forward James Hulbin (12.4, 6.6). The Demons are the highest-scoring team nationally (83.56 points per game) and have five players averaging double figures.

- Fairfield will host UAlbany, Feb. 23.

The Great Danes are 17-7 overall playing in the America East Conference. Its top players are senior guards Mike Black (15.2, 3.4) and Jacob Iati (12.7). Albany, this season, has beaten Siena, 69-56 and lost to Loyola, 67-64.

- Loyola will be at Tennessee State, Feb. 23

The Tigers, of the Ohio Valley Conference, are 13-10 overall.   ... Its best players are 6-8 senior forward Kellen Thornton (14.6, 7.8) and 6-1 junior guard Patrick Miller (13.8, 5.3 assists).

- Manhattan will be at Buffalo, Feb. 23

Buffalo, of the Mid-American Conference, has an 8-14 overall record. Its best players are 6-7 junior forward Javon McCrea (17.3, 7.5) and 6-8 sophomore forward Will Regan (10.2, 4.5). The Bulls lost to Canisius, 71-64, and defeated Niagara, 77-67.

- VMI will be at Marist, Feb. 23

VMI, of the Big South Conference, has a 10-10 overall record. Its best players are 6-6 senior forward Stan Okoye (20.4, 9.1) and 6-9 junior center D.J. Covington (12.9, 7.0).

- Charleston Southern will be at Rider, Feb. 23

Charleston Southern, of the Big South Conference, has an overall record of 12-7. Its best players are 5-8 sophomore guard Saah Nimley (16.1, 5.0, 5.5 assists), and 6-1 sophomore guard Arion Harper (14.6, 3.8).

- Saint Peter's will be at Hampton, Feb. 23

Hampton, of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, have an 8-13 overall record. Its top players are 5-11 freshman guard Deron Powers (12.1, 4.8 assists) and 6-10 junior center David Bruce (9.1, 5.9).

- Radford will be at Siena, Feb. 24

Radford, of the Big South Conference, has a 10-14 overall record. Its best players are 6-0 sophomore guard R.J. Price (14.4, 2.3) 6-4 sophomore guard Javonte Green (14.1, 8.0).

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