I spoke with WAC commissioner Karl Benson about the Aggies' prospect of getting one of the 13 televised BracketBuster games.
"New Mexico State is still in the running for a game," Benson said. "Nevada has locked one up but I'm still hopefully New Mexico State would be in the running. Getting in the TV package, ESPN creates whatever interesting matchups. If not, it's the best possible matchup with the geography considered."
The TV games are announced on Monday.
Thanks to this link, we can see see that New Mexico State (92 RPI according to Basketball State) currently has the 13th best RPI among the host teams. The 13th best RPI visiting team is Indiana State of the Missouri Valley Conference.
Indiana State would be a very interesting matchup for current and historical reasons. The Missouri Valley is currently the No. 8 conference and the WAC has moved up to No. 12. Indiana State is 12-9 and just 3-7 in the MVC. It would be a throwback game to the Aggies' MVC days. Either Indiana State or Drake would be a good matchup for NMSU for next year's return game, as well as the WAC this year as the MVC is No. 8 RPI)
My dream matchup early in the year when the Aggies' RPI was hovering around the Top 60 was Long Beach State. That matchup would also have some history behind it, but Long Beach State has skyrocketed to the 30s while the Aggies have fallen into the 90s.
That leaves us with other potential opponents such as:
Lamar 111 RPI (13-8, 4-3 in the Southland 28 RPI)
Valparaiso 124 RPI (14-9, 8-3 in the Horizon 15 RPI)
Drake 109 RPI (13-9, 6-5 in the MVC 8 RPI)
Buffalo 91 RPI (11-6, 5-2 in Mid American 16 RPI)
Old Dominion 118 RPI (14-9, 9-2 Colonial 17 RPI)
Cal-Santa Barbara 144 RPI (11-7, 6-2 in Big West 24 RPI)
After this list, it seems like it gets dicey in terms of high RPIs, records and conference RPI disparity. And remember that once you get past the ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 type games, geography plays a bigger factor.