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Bulls draw Jackrabbits in ESPN BracketBuster

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Last night marked the announcement of the ESPN BracketBuster match-ups—the series of 13 nationally-televised college basketball games between mid-majors that not only provides exposure for excellent smaller programs, but also tests their mettle against similar success stories.

The University at Buffalo Bulls drew the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits for their 1 p.m. clash on Feb. 18 (ESPNU), and the nationally-televised game is a win in itself for Reggie Witherspoon’s team. With Buffalo begging for exposure on a national scale, basketball fans around America will finally be able to feast their eyes on Javon McCrea. The Bulls must travel 1,009 miles to reach South Dakota State—it would take the average human being just shy of 13 days to walk that distance (no one cares, Ben.)

For the Canisius Golden Griffins, there’s virtually no national exposure, but they are scheduled for a BracketBuster game as well. The Griffs will host the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers (3-17), often referred to as UMBC, at 2 p.m. on Feb. 18. 

South Dakota State boasts an impressive RPI of .575, which ranks 64th in the country—the Jackrabbits are sandwiched between Texas and Notre Dame on the scale that uses the following criteria (courtesy of NCAA.org):

SDSU, not to be confused with San Diego State University (OK, fine, be confused), carries a 9-2 record in the Summit League, good for second place behind undefeated Oral Roberts. Led by lanky 6’4 point guard Nate Wolters, who dropped 23 points for SDSU in a 79-71 win over Niagara University in late November, South Dakota State owns two quality road wins: Pac-12’s Washington and Atlantic Sun leader Mercer (also receiving votes in MM Top 25).

The Jacks have some height—Tony Fiegen is 6’7 and Jordan Dykstra is 6’8, but Javon McCrea has 20 pounds on both of the players. SDSU will struggle in the paint against Buffalo, as most teams have this season. Interesting fact: the Jackrabbits have only competed in Division I since 2004.

For a list of the marquee mid-major games, check out Andy Katz’s report on the schedule. For the full schedule of all games, go here.

Photo courtesy of Flickr / *~Dawn~*

TAGGED: bracketbuster, college basketball, espn, mac, south dakota state jackrabbits, summit league, university at buffalo

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