CEDAR FALLS -- Drake put up awfully little fight Saturday night.
Perhaps the UNI Panthers' upcoming BracketBusters opponent will better prepare Coach Jake's troops for postseason play. The BracketBusters pairings won't be announced until around Jan. 31, but we do have a pretty good feel for UNI's possible opponent.
RPIratings.com released its BracketBusters report to media members earlier this week, shedding some light on the subject.
In that aforementioned report, UNI boasted the seventh-best RPI rating of any team slated to host a BracketBusters game. Virginia Commonwealth boasted the seventh-best RPI among teams slated to play on the road in BracketBusters.
Thus, if the pairings were announced today, UNI would probably vie with VCU (currently ranked No. 51 in the RPI) during the BracketBusters event, on either Feb. 18, Feb. 19, or Feb. 20.
Of course, RPI rankings will fluctuate a bit between now and the BracketBusters' selection show.
Taking that into account, here are other possible BracketBusters foes for UNI, which, as of this writing (on Sunday), possesses an RPI ranking of No. 71:
Cleveland State (RPI ranking No. 30) ... George Mason (32) ... Utah State (44) ... Iona (84) ... Kent State (88) ... Miami (OH) (89) ... Ball State (108).
Keep this in mind: This year's BracketBusters event will boast very little star-power, so ESPN's consideration for potential TV-matchups could factor in. It's extremely likely that UNI will play a televised BracketBusters game.
OFF THE BEATON PATH: Here were some intriguing, under-the-radar statistics from UNI's 69-49 defeat of Drake on Saturday: Lucas O'Rear now has 501 career rebounds. ... Chip Rank went 5-for-7 Saturday, and before that the freshman had never shot more than five times in any game. ... UNI is now 55-15 all-time in the McLeod Center. ... Freshman Tyler Lange scored his first collegiate field goal in the final minute.