Davidson’s BracketBuster game with Winthrop will create some local interest, but Wildcats officials can’t be thrilled with the matchup.
That’s not because Davidson doesn’t want to play Winthrop at some point, but the Feb. 22 game might kill any chance Davidson had for an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament.
Davidson, which was No. 69 in RPI according to collegerpi.com, needed a matchup against a top-30 RPI team, such as Butler or St. Mary’s, in the BracketBuster game to help its NCAA resume. The Wildcats are 1-6 in Division I nonconference games and don’t have a signature road win.
Davidson won’t get that against Winthrop this season. The Eagles have a strong history – reaching the NCAA tournament seven of the past nine years – but Winthrop’s RPI is around 110. That won’t improve before the game with Davidson, because Winthrop’s next six opponents other than the Wildcats all have RPIs of 200 or higher.
Winthrop’s RPI is comparable to Southern Conference teams Chattanooga, Georgia Southern and UNC Greensboro, and wins against those schools won’t help Davidson’s cause either.
So, while the matchup with Winthrop might create a buzz locally, it will be a buzz kill for Davidson’s NCAA chances unless the Wildcats win the Southern Conference tournament in March.
-- Kevin Cary