BKC--Saint Marys-BYU Basketbal

Creighton/St. Mary’s highlights ‘BracketBusters’ line-up


It’s here folks, the creamy, mid-major goodness we all love, the line-up for ESPN’s BracketBusters was released on Monday night, with a few games highlighting an, ahem, otherwise lack-luster slate.

First, the schedule:

Friday, Feb. 22

7 p.m.

North Dakota State at Akron, ESPN2

9 p.m.

Stephen F. Austin at Long Beach State, ESPNU

Saturday, Feb. 23

11 a.m.

Iona at Indiana State, ESPNU

1 p.m.

Eastern Kentucky at Valporaiso, ESPNU

Canisius at Vermont, ESPN3

2 p.m.

Pacific at Western Washington, ESPN3

3 p.m.

Montana at Davidson, ESPNU

Northwestern State at Niagara, ESPNU

4 p.m.

Detroit at Wichita State, ESPNN/ESPN2

6 p.m.

No. 16 Creighton at St. Mary’s, ESPN/ESPN2

8 p.m.

South Dakota State at Murray State, ESPN2

Denver at Northern Iowa, ESPN3

10 p.m.

Ohio at Belmont, ESPN2

In between, the one match-up worth spending the entire game on is No. 16 Creighton at St. Mary’s. Dougie McBuckets against the likes of Matthew Dellavedova for offensive supremacy. Both those teams could benefit off a win there.

Problem is, that’s the only game with that scenario in place.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a few decent games, Iona takes on Indiana State and South Dakota State brings Nate Wolters to Murray State to guard Isaiah Canaan. Ohio takes on Belmont. But in none of those games do BOTH teams help their tournament resumes.

So, what was the reason that Creighton ISN’T playing Belmont? I need a good one. Anyone? That’s a game that would be insane for the talent level, environment and what would be on the line. A win for either would all but seal an at-large berth.

Another scary good game not getting a ton of play? Long Beach State taking on Stephen F. Austin at home. Both teams could do some damage in the Big Dance. However, a win for either team, national television or not, won’t do much for their resumes come March.

Being someone who covered a game that defined what the series is about (St. Mary’s/Murray State last year), I think this year’s schedule was lacking. Creighton needs to be making a trip to Nashville to take on a Rick Byrd team that has jumped right into the Ohio Valley Conference and played like it’s still dominating the Atlantic Sun.

Some of these issues have been inconsistent for BracketBusters. Every few years they get it right, but in years like this, when the talent pool is down, it’s hard to get a lot of marquee mid-major teams together to play. You have to spread the wealth. I think that is what BracketBusters is trying to do this year.

David Harten is the founder of The Backboard Chronicles. Follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Utah State denies transfer David Collette a release

David Collette Goodluck Okonoboh
AP Photo
1 Comment

Utah State has denied former forward David Collette a release, saying that his decision to leave the program two days before the start of the season left them without an adequate way to replace last season’s second-leading scorer and was unduly influenced by tampering from other coaching staffs.

“I think there were a lot of factors in play that, unfortunately, have become a trend in college basketball of schools poaching other schools’ players,” head coach Tim Duryea said in a Nov. 11th release announcing the transfer. “I don’t feel good and don’t like how things transpired.”

But that’s not how Collette, who averaged 12.8 points as a redshirt freshman, said things went down. He says he left the team because he and Duryea did not get along. Duryea was a longtime assistant for former head coach Stew Morrill.

The allegations Collette has made range from worrisome to embarrassingly petty. He told Yahoo! Sports and ESPN that the team was told not to tell anyone about a fight in practice, that the school immediately pulled all his athletic aid and that they went as far as to change his measurements on the team site from 6-foot-10, 235 pounds to 6-foot-8, 220 pounds.

Now trying to keep a practice fight off the media’s radar isn’t a huge issue; they happen more than you think and are a bigger deal as a headline than in the locker room. And if Collette is no longer on the team, he is no longer doing the work required to get that aid. Nothing wrong with that, either.

But changing what he’s listed at on the team site? Refusing to release, which prohibits him from being recruited by other coaching staffs and will force him to pay his own way at his new school for two semesters?

Bitter, petty and unnecessary.

This story is now a headline on three of the biggest sports websites. Pretty soon Jay Bilas will be railing against it on twitter, and probably on a broadcast, too; Utah State plays Duke on Sunday on ESPNU.

This is going to be a wave of negative publicity for a Utah State program that A) doesn’t make many national headlines, and B) might actually be pretty good this year.

Is that really worth getting revenge on some college sophomore that doesn’t like playing for you?

Labissiere scores 16 as top-ranked Kentucky beats BU 82-62

Eric Johnson, Isaiah Briscoe
Leave a comment

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Freshman center Skal Labissiere scored 16 points to lead top-ranked Kentucky past Boston University 82-62 on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (5-0) used a big second half to overcome Boston U. in their season debut at No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. One day after taking over the top spot, Kentucky struggled to put away the Terriers early but outscored them 42-29 in the second half.

Labissiere finished 7 of 13 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. Tyler Ulis added 15 points, and Alex Poythress had 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for his second straight double-double.

Jamal Murray scored 12 points and Isaiah Briscoe had 11. Kentucky, which spent all of last season ranked No. 1, scored 58 points in the paint and closed with a 22-9 run.

Boston University (2-3) got 15 points from John Papale. Nathan Dieudonne and Kyle Foreman scored 11 apiece.

The Wildcats raced out to a 10-0 lead 3 minutes into the game, but Boston University settled down after making its first basket and kept the score close in the first half by hitting five shots from long range.

The Terriers led 34-33 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half, but the Wildcats scored the last six points of the period to regain the lead.

Labissiere paced the Wildcats with 11 points in the first half, followed by Murray with 10.


Kentucky: The Wildcats improved to 216-28 as the top-ranked team in the country and have won 61 of their last 64 games while holding the top spot. Under coach John Calipari, Kentucky is 63-5 as the top-ranked team in the AP poll.

Boston University: The Terriers fell to 0-5 against Kentucky. … Boston University missed its first four shots and didn’t score its first basket until the 16:55 mark of the first half. … Dieudonne, a graduate of Louisville Trinity, was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 2012.


Kentucky plays Friday against South Florida at the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

Boston University plays Saturday at Binghamton.