NCAA Winners and Losers of BracketBusters Weekend

Justin KundratCorrespondent IFebruary 23, 2009

Although most of the participants of BracketBusters 2009 were not candidates for an at-large bid, several, such as Butler, Davidson, Utah State, and St. Mary’s were.

In those two matchups, the winners added a very solid win to their resumes and just about solidified their NCAA tournament bids. So, as BracketBusters weekend comes to an end, here is a short recap of the winners and losers of the event.



There is nothing like a big home win against the CAA leader. A huge comeback sparked by Luke Babbitt gave Nevada a much needed edge and a boost before the WAC conference tournament.


Nothing like holding the nation’s leading scorer, Stephen Curry, to 6-23 shooting in a bid-clinching road win.

The Bulldogs, despite having a rough week in which they dropped two games to Horizon League opponents, have just about sealed their spot in the tournament and would like nothing more than to win the remainder of their schedule.

Watch out for Gordon Hayward, America.


Although it was a home game, the Catamounts mounted a huge comeback against Buffalo and showed why they deserve to be in the NCAA tournament. Winning the America East shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for this team, but it was definitely a great opportunity to prove themselves on national television.


Like Vermont, the Saints made a huge case for themselves.

Yes, they got off to a rough start, but since November, this team has been on a roll. Losses to Pitt and Kansas will not hurt their case. Neither will a 15-1 conference record and a win over a tough Northern Iowa team.

Two more games to go, and I still think they deserve a bid even if they don’t win the MAAC, although they definitely should.

St. Mary’s

All I can say is "wow."

This team struggled a bit after losing Patty Mills with losses to Gonzaga, twice, Portland, and Santa Clara. But Omar Samhan and Diamon Simpson have really stepped up.

Their final two games should be wins regardless, and I bet the Gaels cannot wait to get Mills back. They may need to go deep into the WCC tournament in order to get a bid, but that should be manageable.


The Bluejays are on fire, winning their last eight and a big one against CAA-contender George Mason. I can’t imagine this team not getting a bid now, but that could easily change in the short remainder of the season. Booker Woodfox certainly knows when and how to step up for his team though.

Kent State

I talked earlier about this team and how they were unable to play well together despite the talent being there.

Well now the Golden Flashes seem to have found a rhythm, winning their last eight and picking up a nice win over Morehead State, the second place team in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Here is a dark horse to win the MAC title and do some damage in the NCAA tournament.



A chance to show off their own Curry, Seth, in a rare national appearance and they came up short.

Old Dominion is in no way a bad team, but Liberty is trying to push for the Big South crown and now Radford seems to be running away with it. Their final two games happen to be against the first and second place teams, Radford and VMI.

Let’s see what they do.

Miami (OH)

Here is another team who was desperately trying to make a case for themselves and ended up blowing a big lead. The loss of point guard Kenny Hayes has really hurt them, and now their window of opportunity is slowly closing. Evansville, who started off hot and has since gone cold, found a way to slow down Michael Bramos.

Utah State

The Aggies made a brief stint in the top-25 before dropping a game to Boise State and ending their 19 game winning streak. Because of their weak schedule, they needed a win against St. Mary’s badly, but fell short.

Maybe this team is not as good as we had originally thought, or maybe it was just a poor performance. Regardless, winning the WAC tournament is now a must.


Not as much of a loser, but still could not afford to lose that game and have a chance at an at-large bid. The Wildcats, who missed Curry this past week, now must win the Southern Conference or their tournament hopes are gone.

Could you imagine a tournament without Stephen Curry? I couldn’t.

Cleveland State

This team was red hot coming into Saturday, winning seven straight, and really pulling for a chance at winning the Horizon League. Wichita State has been tough at home, but the Vikings needed this one badly.

A game this coming Saturday versus Butler will be huge.

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