When we were took a look at the teams that might benefit the most from their Bracket Buster games this weekend we glossed over Drake and Butler. Unlike most of the other participants, the dueling Bulldogs look like sure bets for a trip to the big dance which makes their matchup, announced today, all the more interesting.
Butler's trip to the Sweet 16 last season made the country familiar with their style but there's probably a fair chunk of people who haven't watched them play with freshman Matt Howard. His inside play balances their always strong three point shooting and, since they rarely turn the ball over, makes them nearly impossible to stop on offense. Stopping Howard will be a key for Drake. They defend the perimeter quite well but aren't loaded with size inside. Offensively, they share a proclivity for the outside shot and the efficient approach with the other Bulldogs.
It isn't every year that two mid-majors appear to be top-four seeds and even rarer that we get to see them square off when they are in full form. While they may be playing the marquee game of the weekend, there will be others worth watching.
Kent State has a decent chance at an at-large bid if they win the MAC East. If they can travel to Saint Mary's and knock off the Gaels, though, they may be okay even if they slip behind Ohio or Akron. It will be a tall order, though. The Golden Flashes don't match up well with the imposing SMC front line and play a bit too loose with the ball to win a grind it out affair.
Those other two MAC East teams drew the pearls of the CAA. VCU will visit Akron and George Mason will head to Athens for a date with Ohio. The latter game will feature a splendid matchup between GMU's Will Thomas and Leon Williams while the former is a contrast in styles. Akron is offensively gifted while the Rams are one of the nation's top defensive sides.