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ESPN drops CAA from Bracketbusters

George Mason Basketball: ESPN drops CAA from Bracketbusters

Friday, April 06, 2012

ESPN drops CAA from Bracketbusters

An interesting story broke yesterday involving sports TV giant ESPN and CAA basketball. ESPN is dropping CAA from their annual Bracketbusters event that takes place one weekend every February. The CAA did not receive an invite for the 2012-2013 series due in part to their new TV deal that involves leaving ESPN and going all in with NBC sports for coverage of games instead. The move makes sense for the CAA though because after this new TV deal why give a competing network prime coverage of key games in February. 

The whole Bracketbuster event was originally designed to give mid-majors another non-conference game that could help their resumes' before Selection Sunday. However the event has morphed into a different animal recently and last season over 100 teams were in the event. For all by a handful of teams it doesn't do much good besides providing unnecessary, costly games for smaller programs. The interruption of conference games during an important part of the season is something I don't think most CAA fans or coaches for that matter, will miss. 

Sure George Mason and VCU's wins over Wichita State in 2006 and 2011 in the event certainly helped get them in the NCAA tournament during those seasons. But it's not like they couldn't have scheduled a home and home series with any such MVC team or another top mid-major without ESPN's help. Some of ESPN's match-ups in recent years have been head scratching decisions, and the event certainly didn't give Drexel much help this year.

Hopefully the Missouri Valley leaves the event too. Wouldn't a CAA/MVC challenge be a better event anyway? Are you listening NBC?



Anonymous Matt said...

This is lame on the part of ESPN who is just sticking it to the CAA for signing a contract to get regular season coverage instead of occasional coverage.  Unless ESPN wants to launch ESPN MidMajor and show case the smaller schools then it should weaken the pool for it's BracketBuster by pulling out an entire conference.

As to the relevance of participating in it yes you can do a home and home but every year teams rise up that no one was expecting and that gives you a chance to get a strong game on the schedule that a year or two prior could not have been determined.  

Wouldn't it be great is the CAA had 4 or 5 great teams next year better than other mids and ESPN wouldn't have access to them?  

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Ross said...

Agreed, ESPN is trying to monopolize all sports, not including hockey. It's ridiculous to think the bracketbuster has to be solely an ESPN event the NCAA should take over and make it an event for any team that so desires the chance to play a competitive team to bolster their resume.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous JT said...

I really like the idea of a MVC-CAA challenge.  That would definitely be exciting.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Charlie T said...

Really agree with what you are saying. Not quite sure that ESPN is starting to act like all sports should filter through them but so be it. Selling advertising is not as easy for alleged mid-majors so they do not really care. In their world and with the people who work for and with them they must love to know all those BCS coaches and players. They sure do suck up to them all season. Oh,when a Mason,VCU or any alleged mid-major makes noise they really have to work since other then a few of them they know nothing about these teams.(I was going to say basketball but I will be kind.) Well its a money business where else could you get talent to play or act for free. I am all in favor of NBC creating an CAA/MVC challenge or even an A-10. Final note if midnight madness is October 12, next week we will be halfway there. Can not wait.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Rogers said...

Yeah, the original concept of bracket busters has long been lost. At the time this year Mason was at the top of the CAA standings and got Lamar this year? Not televised to boot. Really useless.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Yes, but we all knew that despite our record we had not played well against a soft schedule. BB is still a good chance to get a quality game late in the season, you don't play your conference in the big dance so taking a game out of conference should be good for aspiring teams.  And ESPN is still lame for boxing out a quality conference.

7:47 PM  

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