Monday, February 19, 2007

BracketBusted? Davidson might be ...

The BracketBusters games over the weekend helped boost the profiles of Appalachian State and Winthrop, but Davidson athletic director Jim Murphy said his school doesn’t regret its decision to not play.

“It comes at a difficult time in the season for us,” he said. “If we were sent across the country, that would be a rigorous schedule for us.”

Davidson is already scheduled to play three games this week - Monday night’s game with Wofford, a home game with Furman Thursday and a game at The Citadel Saturday. Appalachian State beat Wichita State Saturday, then flew to Atlanta early Sunday morning. The team then rode a bus to Boone later that day before heading to Western Carolina Monday night.

More than 100 teams participated in the BracketBusters this season, but aren’t guaranteed a marquee matchup. ESPN dictates which teams play each other, and that can create a game with little excitement. Southern Conference teams UNC Greensboro and Chattanooga hosted teams with 19 losses (UNC Wilmington and Jacksonville St.) and now must schedule a return visit to those schools next season.

Murphy said he didn’t expect Davidson to enter the BracketBusters next season either, because the school already has a difficult nonconference schedule lined up including games with Duke and North Carolina.

But the school might rue passing it up again. Davidson’s nonconference opponents this season did not meet expectations, and the Wildcats could use the BracketBusters game as an extra opportunity next year. Appalachian State’s win Saturday gives the Mountaineers a much better chance of getting an at-large berth this season than Davidson if either team fails to win the Southern Conference tournament. Appalachian State now is 5-2 against teams in the RPI top 100. Davidson is 1-4.

-- Kevin Cary