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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko ( or email

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Breaking down the BracketBusters

ESPN announced the matchups for its 10th annual BracketBusters on Monday night, with only Iona from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference making a national TV appearance.

All games will be played the weekend of Feb. 17-19.

The MAAC went 9-1 in BracketBuster games last season.

Here's a rundown of how the MAAC BracketBusters shape up starting with Iona:

Nevada (18-3, 7-0 WAC) at Iona (17-5, -2): The Wolfpack have run off 15 in a row and are undefeated in the WAC. Tim Cluess, who signed a contract extension Monday, won't like the return trip his team has to make but can't complain about the quality of the opposition. Nevada is led by sophomore guard Deonte Burton, who averages 15.5 points per game. Of course, the Gaels don't lack any star power with Scott Machado, Lamont Jones and the MAAC's leading scorer Mike Glover (18.8 ppg). Neither has a marquee non-conference win but both have piled up the victories, although, Nevada would get a bigger boost from a win because of the cross-country travel.

Boston University (11-12, 7-2 America East) at Loyola (16-5, 9-2): Jimmy Patsos has every right to be angry that his team was bypassed for a national TV game. But he had to know Iona was the first choice from the MAAC because of its star power. The Greyhounds, though, do get a game against Boston U, which is in second place in the America East. Loyola will have to avoid getting caught sleeping without a TV audience. Senior guard Darryl Partin, a transfer from La Salle, leads the Terriers in scoring at 19.1 ppg.

UNC-Wilmington (8-17, 4-7 Colonial) at Manhattan (16-7, 9-2): Yet another MAAC squad that deserved better. Steve Masiello's Jaspers have been a pleasant surprise, still tied for first in the league, this late into the season. UNC-Wilmington made history earlier last week when Towson snapped its Division I record losing streak of 41 against the Seahawks.

Fairfield (11-10, 6-4) at Wisconsin-Milwaukee (14-9, 7-4 Horizon): Easily the worst trip for the MAAC. Sydney Johnson's underachieving Stags going to the Midwest to face a capable Milwaukee team. These matchups are the ones that concern you. A lot of travel, meaningless game, opponent you know nothing about. That equation adds up to a blowout loss.

Rider (9-14, 6-5) at Albany (14-9 6-3): There were closer options for the Broncs, but it's not the worst trip in the world, and this looks like a pretty competitive matchup. The Great Danes have an excellent scorer in junior guard Gerardo Suero (21.1 ppg) and two very good complimentary pieces with Logan Aronhalt (15.7 ppg) and Mike Black (13.3 ppg) both averaging in double figures. Rider is 8-4 since making its worst start to a season in 68 years after opening 1-10.

Siena (10-11, 5-6) at Hofstra (7-16, 1-10 Colonial): Can anyone believe the Pride beat Iona this year? Leading scorer Mike Moore averages 19.3 points per game but he's no Charles Jenkins. Hofstra's going to have a difficult time with the toughness of OD Anosike, the nation's leading rebounder with 12.9 per game, and quickness of freshman guard Evan Hymes (14.2 ppg).

Niagara (9-14, 4-7) at Vermont (13-10, 7-2 America East): The Purple Eagles are led by a pair of freshmen guards -- Juan'ya Green and Antoine Mason -- that combine for 32.6 points per night. Those two might be taking their lumps this season, but Niagara will be better for it in the future. The Catamounts are traditionally one of the better teams in the America East.

Hartford (4-17, 4-5 America East) at St. Peter's (4-18, 3-8): Hard to get excited about these matchups that feature the bottom of the conference barrel. You have to feel for St. Peter's, though, having fallen so far after winning the MAAC tournament championship last year. The Peacocks lost four starters from that team and were always going to struggle, but John Dunne had to expect more than four wins from his team.

Marist (7-14, 2-8) at Maine (10-10, 4-5 America East): Gerlad McLemore averages 17.1 points per game and could pose a problem for the Red Foxes, who make the trip north.

UMBC (3-17, 2-6 America East) at Canisius (4-17, 1-10): The Griffs already beat the America East's worst team, Binghamton, so now they get a shot at UMBC, which is only slightly better. Too bad the Retrievers have to go from Baltimore to Buffalo. Here's hoping the snow lets them get out.



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