The BracketBuster match-ups were announced this evening on ESPNU...to the dislike of many UB fans.
Buffalo gets matched up with a good team out of the Horizon league, UW-Milwaukee. Milwaukee is 12-11 on the year, but because they have a tough non-conference schedule they are ranked 124 in the RPI (where Buffalo is ranked 126 in the RPI with an 13-6 record). That stat right there is single handily the reason why the Bulls need to schedule a harder non-conference schedule, to prepare for the end of the year when the games really matter, and put yourself high up in the RPI rankings.
The immediate reaction that most people have is that UB got screwed out of a chance to be on national tv in a meaningful game to get the schools name out there. I guess that might be true, but all in all the Bulls really didn't deserve to get a feature game. 13-6 with an RPI of only 126 is not good enough to be considered a threat when tournament time comes around, which is the whole point of this event!! It is called BracketBusters, meaning teams are given a game to showcase their strength and athleticism on national tv, and get them prepared to make a run at a few upsets when March comes around. All of the teams that get the showcase television games are suppose to be good enough and have enough weapons to knock off a power team when tournament time comes around. Is UB big enough/athletic enough/good enough to knock off a power team when march rolls around? In my opinion, and if you look at it from a neutral perspective, they probably don't have it.
Look at all of the teams that got showcase games, watch their games, and look at who they've played. For the most part the common theme among them is that they take care of every cupcake on the schedule, beat every team that they really should beat, and only have a few losses a major school and/or a few conference road losses. Buffalo did not take care of Youngstown State or Bowling Green, and didn't come through in their chance to beat a Missouri Valley team on the road. I know a common argument to put up is that we hammered Kent State, have the same conference record as them, and a slightly better winning percentage, but yet they still got a nationally televised game. Very true, but BracketBusters loves to get the best team from each of the conferences participating in a showcase game, so getting a 7-1 team out of the Big South (Liberty) had to be done. Plus we played Kent State at home, a place they seem to be horrible at. If Buffalo played Kent State 10 times on a neutral court, I would take the Golden Flashes 6 times out of those 10, possibly 7 times, and if you put you're personal bias aside you would agree (and trust me I bleed Blue and White all the time).
Look at the 11 road teams playing in the showcase games, which one of those teams is not above UB's level or too far away to be considered going to? VCU, Hofstra, Missouri State, Vermont, Utah State, George Mason, and Cleveland State are all at least a half a step better than us. Montana is too far (plus they need to have west coast teams on tv as well), so there are only 2 options left. Austin Peay and Iona would have been really nice match-ups (especially Iona because they're in state and a really tough test), but sometimes the cookie doesn't crumble the way you want it. I'm not saying we cant beat some of those teams up there, at Alumni arena I think we can beat all of those teams, but you have to prove it throughout the 9 weeks before today that you deserve to be considered one of the dominant mid-majors, not just a good one.
Bottom line is that the committee that selected the match-ups to be televised got it right. Is it upsetting? Yes. Can UB compete with the top mid-major teams? Yes. Do they have the consistency and athleticism to be able to "bust a bracket" come March? Probably not, where most of these other teams have a shot at doing so.