The Bulls won their home game against Northern Illinois yesterday in an ugly/low scoring game in which the refereeing was fairly shaky...
But a win is a win, making it 5 in a row for the Bulls and putting them on the Bracket Buster Television Bubble.
The Buffalo victory combined with the rest of the action from this past weeks play puts the MAC East at 9-2 over the MAC West, and soon to be 10-2 if the score of this Akron vs CMU game holds up. Either way, 9-3, and 10-2 both equal dominance, meaning the next 4 games for the Bulls should end with a 3-1 record. Good news is that the Bulls have a chance to really put themselves on top of the conference over the next 2 weeks, helping them have a really good chance at one of the top 4 spots in the conference when the regular season ends. Bad news is that Kent State and Bowling Green are in the same exact position, so a bye in the MAC tournament is nowhere near a lock. The one team that really got hurt this week was Ball State. Almost every poll I saw had Ball State at the top of the conference with a 5-0 record, but that was against all of the easier opponents in the conference. Now that they've lost 2 straight to MAC East teams they now look like the bearers of good luck, and none of their 5 wins in conference have any sort of validity with the way the MAC West is shaping out. Their RPI now sits at 181, and pretty much have no shot at getting a tv appearance over the Bracket Buster weekend.
So where does Buffalo stand in terms of a chance at a televised Bracket Buster game? As most college basketball junkies would say, right on the Bubble.
They're ranked 128 in the RPI right now, and have a very weak 13-6 record. (I know 13-6 is very hard to associate with weak, but they have pretty much no good wins, and are 1-1 against the RPI top 100, 1-2 if you include Miami who is ranked 105). As most of us know, the top 11 games over the Bracket Buster weekend are televised, and right now Buffalo has the 13th best RPI of the home teams that are participating. (A fan of the CAA's Virgina Commonwealth University sets up an amazing spread sheet every year showing where all the Bracket Buster teams stand, which I advise all college basketball fans view). http://www.vcuramnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4429
Those who select these games usually try to put only 1 team on t.v. from each conference that isn't strong, and right now Kent State Sits as the 6th best road team, and has Miami as the 11th best road team according to RPI. What does this mean? Means that right now there at 2 teams better than Buffalo in the MAC on a national level, both teams being more well known than the Bulls as well. Games are no solely based off of RPI, but also based off of location, trying to get similarly talented teams that are close by to play one another. Iona, Hofstra, Vermont, Morehead State, and Austin Peay seem like the most likely teams based off of location and RPI (Delaware and Creighton as well but I don't find them as likely scenarios). A match up with Iona, Hofstra, or Vermont would all be possible t.v. games based off of the strength of the match-ups, but unfortunately its not up to me.
Do I think we get one of the Televised games? Honestly, I think we fall just short. This is probably going to be the case because they have too low of and RPI, there are 2 teams in the conference that are better than UB on a national level, and mostly because Kent St has has great success in BracketBusters (a win over a nationally ranked Saint Mary's team on the road). Buffalo is gonna have to bank on the fact that they've won 5 in a row and that when BracketBuster games roll around they can possibly have a 17-7 record when the games are played. Unfortunately I am not the optimist that fellow BullRun blogger K-Mass is, but I would prefer if he were right and Buffalo got to play in a big game.