May 20, 2019

BracketBuster event holds no meaning for Fresno State Saturday

The greatest college basketball matchup of all time is this weekend. I’m not talking about top-ranked Memphis and No. 2 Tennessee. I’m talking about Fresno State and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Thanks to ESPN, Fresno State gets to play on ESPN BracketBuster weekend. The only problem is that all it does is waste Fresno State’s time. The game will not even be televised on ESPN.

In fact, 36 out of the 50 BracketBuster games won’t be on television when BracketBuster weekend begins at 4 p.m. today.

BracketBusters are an ESPN creation for college basketball that pits schools in mid-major conferences, such as the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), against other schools in mid-major conferences.

That means the WAC was dying to see Fresno State play Cal Poly. Or forced to have the horrible matchup. ESPN, who created the matchup does not care about the game. That’s right.

Fresno State plays a useless game against a team that they hopefully should crush. Of course, Fresno State should have crushed CSU Bakersfield too. Then, to top it off, Fresno State gets to go to San Luis Obispo next season for a rematch.

ESPN’s Michael Humes takes part in the BracketBuster process.

“Since the games not selected for television are more non-conference games than BracketBusters games, they are selected by the conferences,” Humes said.

He also said that BracketBusters are successful. Thrilling.

Here’s the real reason that Fresno State has a game. ESPN wanted to have a huge pool of mid-major teams that they could force against each other.

The top 28 teams get to be on national television. Well, the top 24. Boise State and three other teams will be on the internet.

Coach Steve Cleveland said last year that he didn’t like the BracketBuster. It’s easy to see why. ESPN forces the conferences to create pathetic match ups that have zero effect on conference standings.

Also, Cleveland has no control over who Fresno State will play. Thank you, ESPN.

The non-conference game comes right in the middle of the stretch at the end of the year where Fresno State plays New Mexico State, Nevada and Utah State.

Even the BracketBuster games televised are pathetic. The prime time game is No. 10 Butler versus an unranked Drake. That’s Drake, not Duke. The only other ranked team is No. 21 Saint Mary’s.

Some of the teams the average fan has unlikely ever heard of. Marist at Cleveland State. Rider at CSU Northridge. Wow. And those are two of the televised games.

ESPN holds onto the fact that they have about 20 teams in BracketBuster weekend that will receive bids into the NCAA tournament. Last year five out of 17 won a game. What a stellar group.

In previous BracketBuster games, Fresno State faced Kent State, East Tennessee State, Buffalo, Creighton, and Sam Houston State.

The only reason that I’ve heard of those teams other than Creighton is because Fresno State played them. Cal Poly is ranked sixth in the Big West Conference. Coincidentally, so is Fresno State.

There’s no bracket that Cal Poly or Fresno State is going to bust. Fresno State won’t make the NCAA tournament or the NIT. It’s not like Fresno State can be busted out of the WAC Tournament.

There is good news though. Next year Fresno State will play Fresno City College as a BracketBuster. Fans won’t have to go far. The venue is undecided, but it’s looking like Clovis West High School. Should be a barn burner.

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