Joel Knows: BracketBusters Review

February 18th, 2007

Joel knows this is a special BracketBusters edition of “Joel Knows.”

Joel knows the Missouri Valley Conference now understands why the BCS conferences will never play in any bracket busting type event. In one day, well two counting the Missouri State thud on Friday night, the MVC lost at least one bid to the NCAA Tournament. Yet, the true sign that the MVC is a power conference comes with the faithful believing that they should win against teams in “bad” conferences like the Big South and Southern Conference. In the span of about three years, the fans of the MVC have gone from not receiving enough respect for their conference to not respecting the teams and conferences that were in the same situation they were in three years ago.

Joel knows Bradley did pick up a good win at VCU, which pretty much made the weekend a wash for the conference, but it is probably too little too late for the Braves to earn an at-large bid. The RPI is nice, but it looks like Bradley will need a few other bubble teams to burst before their name is called. However, they are definitely playing well enough to take care of business at Arch Madness and leave the decision out of the hands of the committee.

Joel knows Missouri State is not out of it yet either after their Friday night loss against Winthrop, but with two losses in a row, they need to turn things around right now and win at Wichita State on Tuesday. In any event, the MVC looks like a three-bid league at most.

Joel knows Valdas Vasylius played Old Dominion firmly onto the bubble by leading the way during a 73-70 victory at Toledo. Beating the Rockets is not a great win, but any win on the road over a team that is 10-2 in a decent conference cannot hurt. Vasylius scored 22 points and grabbed ten boards, earning his third consecutive double-double. Outside of the puzzling loss at James Madison, ODU doesn’t have a horrible loss on the schedule. The lone quality non-conference victory is over Georgetown, and as the Hoyas get better, ODU looks better.

Joel knows another CAA team, Drexel, is back on the bubble as well. The Dragons slipped by Creighton in Omaha 64-58 and added another marquee victory to the resume. Losses at Penn, Rider and William & Mary will most likely come back to haunt Coach Bruiser Flint and company if they can’t manage to win the CAA tournament. At the least, they need to win their final two games and probably make a nice little run in the conference tournament to be a serious bubble candidate

Joel knows Western Michigan is going to win the MAC…next year. On Saturday, WMU knocked off Valparaiso 89-80 in overtime. What does that have to do with next year? It is a rarity for the young Broncos to keep their composure during a close game and the win over Valpo means, or so the Zoo Crew hopes, that the youngsters are growing up. WMU expects to return everybody on their roster and with Joe Reitz under the basket, David Kool knocking down the long balls, Shawntes Gary scoring 20 points a night and Michael Redell running the show, the Broncos have more than enough weapons to win the conference. My only concern is that it will take a few more years before Kool becomes the team leader and we start to see “Kool and the Gang” signs at University Arena. Somebody tell the band to start practicing ‘Celebration.’

Joel knows the Horizon League had a good day, despite the marquee loss of Butler to Southern Illinois. The only other loss for the conference was when Drake completed a come from behind victory at home over Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Even cellar dweller Cleveland State headed across the country to Wells Fargo Court at the Matadome in Redwood Hall, better known as the Kinesiology Building, and knocked off Cal State Northridge 85-76.

Joel knows it was fun watching the Missouri Valley Conference’s RPI slide up and down. The MVC, according to some RPI outlets, started Saturday at sixth, slipped to seventh after their 0-3 start on the day and then slid up to fifth, over the Big XII and Big East, after the success later in the evening. By early Sunday morning, the conference was back down to seventh with Creighton’s loss to Drexel.

Joel knows the fans love BracketBusters. It’s a chance to talk smack on a different message board and compare who had the more disappointing season with the opponent’s fans.