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Mid-Majors: Bracket Buster Breakdown

   by Ben Burns - 02/17/2009

Come March, it pays to have paid attention to BracketBuster Saturday.

Since its inception in 2003, the made-for-TV event has produced an average of 14.5 NCAA tournament teams per season.

An average of four of those teams have gone on to win at least one game in the NCAA tournament.

Here’s a breakdown of this year’s BracketBuster that will help you make a profit on Saturday and in March.

Best Team: Butler

The Bulldogs lost straight up as an 18-point home favorite to Illinois-Chicago last weekend.

Don’t expect the same kind of performance from the Bulldogs against Davidson.

Worst Team: Fairleigh Dickinson (7-19)

After starting out the season 2-14, the Knights are actually playing some of their best basketball.

But as of Tuesday, each of their seven wins came against teams from the weak Northeast Conference.

To its credit, Fairleigh Dickinson did play an ultra-tough non-conference schedule, highlighted by games against Pittsburgh, Washington State, Seton Hall, Rhode Island and Mississippi State.

The Knights lost those five games by an average margin of 25.4 points.

A 44-point loss to MAC opponent Akron also stands out. But there is hope against Saturday’s MAC opponent Central Michigan. Akron beat CMU by 21.

Best Conference: Missouri Valley

Creighton and Illinois State have already notched 20 wins. Northern Iowa needs just two more.

Honorable mention: Horizon and WAC

Worst Conference (with at least four teams): Southern

Yes, Davidson is a quality team, capable of competing with some of the best teams in the nation and very capable of making a run in the March.

But the conference’s other BracketBusters—Appalachian State, Elon and Georgia Southern—are a combined 25-48.

Best Bet: George Mason

Heading into Wednesday, the Patriots are 14-5-1 against the spread.

Honorable mention: Niagara (17-8-1 ATS), Drexel (16-7 ATS)

Worst Bet: Missouri State

The Bears are 7-16-1 against the number and have lost 7 of 8 overall.

Team that could be looking ahead: Drexel

If the Dragons get past George Mason Wednesday night, they’ll remain one game back in the Colonial, with a home game against conference co-leader Northeastern next Thursday.

Drexel hosts Loyola-Maryland Saturday.

Highest Scoring Team: North Dakota State

The Bison can fill it up in a hurry. The nation’s fifth best shooting team is averaging 80.8 a game

Best Defensive Team: Butler

The Bulldogs allow only 57 points a game and hold teams to just 37 percent shooting.

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