Coaches around the country will be waiting with baited breath for today's Bracket Buster matchup announcement. 100 mid-major teams, including the entire MAC, CAA and MVC, will be pitted against each other in games to be played on February 22 and 23. Teams like Drake and Butler will be trying to improve their seed but for most teams this game will be a key part of their resume. Here's a handful of teams whose matchups we'll be paying close attention to today and one team who could suffer from missing the fun:
Saint Mary's - I don't think the Gaels need to do much to solidify their at-large credentials, although another nice win would erase the bad feelings from the San Diego loss. What they can do when they host their Bracket Buster is improve their seed come March and help create a more favorable matchup. And, personally, I expect the Gaels will play one of the 14 nationally televised games and I think those of us on the east coast will benefit from the increased exposure to a good basketball team.
George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth - The two CAA leaders remain joined at the hip. Each has some strong wins and baffling losses, each has an RPI in the 50's and each will play a road Bracket Buster. If they both win, they could both be dancing.
Illinois State - We discussed the uncertainty surrounding a second MVC bid over the weekend and the Redbirds could go a long way to clearing it up with a win on the 22nd or 23rd. They'll be at home and could draw an opponent that makes for a better nonconference win than Cincinnati.
Kent State - The MAC East is a predictably tough race and, while the winner will have a strong case, it's been a long time since they've gotten two teams into the dance. A good road win would make Kent a very tough out on Selection Sunday.
Ohio - See Kent State, except the Bobcats won't get the benefit of a road game. They'll need to win the division to have a strong claim but this could be a help.
Davidson - Stephen Curry takes his club on the road for their game and it's not one to take lightly. If Davidson runs the table in the Southern Conference but loses in the tournament, could they land an at-large? Not based on their previous nonconference losses, no matter how good the opponent, but if they get a good draw and a big win, well, they'd have a shot.
South Alabama - The Jaguars are in a similar position as Davidson. They are the class of the Sun Belt but tournaments are tricky events, see their loss to North Texas this week. Their RPI is 35 and they look strong but not having one more feather in their cap, USA isn't a Bracket Buster, could make for a tense selection day if they don't have the automatic.