Back in February we told you about the deal between NBC Sports Network and the Colonial Athletic Association to broadcast football and basketball games, including the conference tournament. While the deal certainly wasn't a gamebreaker for NBC Sports Network, getting the chance to be home to recent Final Four programs like George Mason and VCU is at least a starting point. However, in recent days, the realization has set in, and been confirmed, that the CAA will miss out on the most "prestigous" mid-major event of the college basketball season, ESPN's BracketBusters. Of course, if the CAA's banner programs like George Mason and VCU leave the CAA for the Atlantic 10, as has been rumored, NBCSN and the CAA will both be left out in the cold. But it's hard to to project what any conference will look like long term, especially as mid-majors fight for the few spots left on the lifeboats of realignment.
So, that speculation aside, where does the loss of their BracketBusters game leave the CAA? Well, it will be very, very difficult for the CAA to get any high profile out-of-conference games for NBC to market. A major program isn't likely to risk being embarrassed by one of the "Little Sisters of the Poor" during the season and their marquee mid-season mid-major game is now gone from the schedule. It's a risk the conference took knowing they would be locked out of BracketBusters by signing the NBC deal.
But what about the other end of this BracketBusters breakup? Will ESPN survive without the likes of George Mason, Drexel, ODU, and VCU in their mid-major pool?