UNI and Drake step out of Missouri Valley Conference play to take part in the BrackBusters, a series of games designed to get teams from so-called Mid-Major conferences national exposure as the NCAA Tournament approaches. UNI visits Siena.The Panthers are 18-9 overall after being upended at home by Drake on Wednesday night. Coach Ben Jacobsen says his team will be able to put that loss behind them and focus on Siena.
Jacobsen says that’s been easy with this group as all they talk about is getting ready for the next game and they have been able to do that and be successful. Siena has won 11 of 12 and has already locked up the Metro Atlantic Conference regular season title. Jacobsen says the BracketBusters has been a good thing for college basketball.
Jacobsen says the league has been fortunate to get a game with a high-quality opponent most years, and he says those games help the league. Jacobsen says the series provides teams with much needed exposure. He says this year they are in a position where the game means a lot, and he says it’s great to be playing on national TV on a Saturday.
It will be a tough test for the Panthers against a Siena team that is 13-0 at home. Drake is at home against Austin Peay. The Bulldogs had lost eight of ten prior to the win in Cedar Falls and coach Mark Phelps says the tough times have made the Bulldogs battle tested. Phelps says that experience will hopefully allow them to avoid the troubles and buckle down and execute.
Drake is 16-12 overall. Austin Peay is 15-11.