Fooled again. Word from Iona earlier today was that New Mexico State was the likely opponent for their ESPN "Bracketbuster" game, but the sports network must have shuffled the deck with an eye toward geographical convenience before this evening's official announcement. Instead, the Gaels (16-6, 8-3 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) drew William & Mary (15-6, 6-4 Colonial Athletic Association) for a nationally televised game scheduled for 9 p.m. on Feb. 19 in New Rochelle.
The Tribe is one of five CAA teams, the most of any conference, in the lineup of 11 "Bracketbusters" telecasts matching mid-major opponents seeking an opportunity to improve their RPI ranking to help gain an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney or improve seeding. At least, Iona received a prime-time slot following a game matching Old Dominion (17-6, 9-2 CAA) at Northern Iowa (19-2, 10-1 Missouri Valley Conference) at 7 p.m. on the 19th.
Siena wasn't as lucky. Even though Siena (19-4, 12-0 MAAC) is in what is regarded as the best "Bracketbuster" game against Butler (18-4, 11-0 Horizon), that pairing was slotted at 11 a.m. on Feb. 20 as the first of nine games that day.
Here is the rest of the lineup of games on Saturday the 20th:
Morgan State (15-7, 7-0 Mid-Eastern) at Murray State (20-3, 11-0 Ohio Valley)
Louisiana Tech (18-4, 6-2 Western Athletic) at Northeastern (14-8, 9-2 CAA)
Nevada (13-8, 5-3 WAC) at Missouri State (15-7, 5-6 MVC)
Akron (15-6, 5-2 Mid-American) at Virginia Commonwealth (15-5, 6-4 CAA)
College of Charleston (14-8, 9-2 Southern) at George Mason (15-7, 10-1 CAA)
Western Carolina (17-5, 7-3 SC) at Kent State (14-7, 5-2 MAC)
New Mexico State (13-8, 6-2 WAC) at Pacific (14-6, 7-1 Big West)
Wichita State (19-4, 8-3 MVC) at Utah State (16-6, 6-2 WAC)