May 31, 2020

‘Dogs draw UC Riverside in Saturday’s BracketBuster

Fresno State will play its final non-conference game of the regular season at the Save Mart Center

Mike Howells/The Collegian

BracketBuster weekend has finally come around for college basketball teams around the nation.

For the Fresno State Bulldogs, it marks another year when they will compete during the ESPN-sponsored event.

The BracketBuster games were created so mid-major schools from around the country gain more exposure. With the added exposure, teams get the opportunity to play in front of a larger national audience.

Today, things have changed a little bit regarding the BracketBuster games.

Fresno State head basketball coach Steve Cleveland has seen the growth of BracketBuster weekend games since its early beginnings.

“It started out many years ago as something that gave exposure to mid-majors,” Cleveland said. “It didn’t involve that many teams.

Today, it involves close to 100 teams and there is about 20 of those teams are going to be on television. Initially, it was exposure given to mid-majors who had an opportunity get into the postseason. Today, it’s changed a little bit. The one good thing about it is it does help you with scheduling because it could be really difficult for scheduling.”

In deciding the matchups for the BracketBusters, the NCAA uses each team’s Ratings Percentage Index to determine which teams to pit against one another. According to, the formula used calculates a team’s strength based on its winning percentage, opponent’s winning percentage and opponent’s opponents’ winning percentage.

The NCAA used this formula to decide which team the Dogs’ would play, matching Fresno State up against UC Riverside Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Dogs’ head into the game with a 12-14 record after picking up a win on Wednesday night against Cal State Bakersfield.

UC Riverside comes into tomorrow’s game with a 9-15 record and is currently on a three game losing streak.

Although the Highlanders come in with a losing record, sophomore center Greg Smith isn’t underestimating them.

“It feels great,” Smith said. “Playing against competition that we usually don’t play every year is a good chance for us to go out and play teams that are close to our level—that has won a couple games. UC Riverside is a good team. They’re physical. They’re run and gun. It will be good for us to play against them.”

The game won’t be televised on any of the ESPN networks but some of their games have been televised during the season.

Although the Dogs’ won’t be playing on ESPN, Smith sees the importance of gaining some exposure.

“It feels so good,” Smith said. “The national audience gets to watch us. All around the country they get to see how good the Bulldogs are.

Put Fresno on the map let them know that we play hard and we compete at the highest level. It’s going to be good for us.”

Senior forward Ned Golubovic also sees how big the BracketBuster game is even though it isn’t going to be on national television.

“It’s a really big game,” Golubovic said. “We are on the bubble right now so it’s really a big game for us. It’s a home game so we don’t really want to lose. To win another game before we finish the conference it’s really important to us.”

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