BRISTOL, CN - The eighth annual BracketBusters event, a two-day men's college basketball extravaganza pitting potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls against each other Feb. 19-20, will feature 11 nationally televised games - on either ESPN2 or ESPNU -- selected from a pool of 98 teams.
For the fifth straight year, ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, will televise five BracketBusters games while ESPN2 will televise six contests. The 11 BracketBusters matchups will be announced Feb. 1, while game time and network assignments will be announced Feb. 8.
BracketBusters, named because of the success of the teams in NCAA Tournament play, will provide the 22 televised teams an opportunity to play other top non-conference opponents three weeks before Selection Sunday. The 76 teams not selected for BracketBusters will compete against each other through the same two days.
The 98-team field will feature 12 teams from the Mid-American and Colonial Athletic; 11 from the Ohio Valley, 10 from the Missouri Valley, Horizon League and Metro Atlantic Athletic; nine from the Western Athletic and Big West; four from the Big South and Southern; three from the America East; two from the MEAC; and one from the Big Sky and Summit League.
As part of the agreement, all 11 of the BracketBusters home teams, as well as the remaining 38 home squads, will play a "return" game at the home facility of their opponent in November or December of the 2011-12 season.
BracketBusters is part of ESPN's college basketball franchise programming, along with Rivalry Week Presented by Cisco, Feast Week, Holiday Hoops Presented by Kay Jewelers, Judgment Week and Championship Week Presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.
Teams participating this season in BracketBusters have produced 89 appearances in the last six NCAA Tournaments, including a team in the Final Four - George Mason (2006); one in the Elite Eight - Davidson (2008); and six Sweet Sixteen squads - Butler (2007), Southern Illinois (2007), Bradley (2006), Wichita State (2006), UW-Milwaukee (2005) and Nevada (2004).
Southeast will be an away team in this year's event. Listed below are possible opponents designated as home teams this year. (Note: Matchups will be announced Feb. 1).
BracketBusters in NCAA Tournament play from 2004-09:
2009 NCAA Tournament: 12 berths - Akron, Butler, Cal State Northridge, Cleveland State, Morehead State, Morgan State, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Portland State, Siena, Utah State, and Virginia Commonwealth. A 3-12 overall record: Cleveland State defeated Wake Forest; Morehead State defeated Alabama State and Siena beat Ohio State.
2008 NCAA Tournament: 14 Berths - Austin Peay, Boise State, Butler, Cal State-Fullerton, Davidson, Drake, George Mason, Kent State, Portland State, Saint Mary's, San Diego, Siena, UMBC and Winthrop. A 6-14 overall record: Davidson defeated Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin to reach the Elite Eight; Butler defeated South Alabama; Siena defeated Vanderbilt; and San Diego defeated Connecticut.
2007 NCAA Tournament: 17 Berths - Albany, Butler, Creighton, Davidson, Eastern Kentucky, Holy Cross, Long Beach State, Miami (Ohio), Nevada, New Mexico State, Niagara, Old Dominion, Oral Roberts, Southern Illinois, Virginia Commonwealth, Winthrop and Wright State. A 7-19 overall record: Butler defeated Old Dominion and Maryland to reach the Sweet Sixteen; Southern Illinois defeated Holy Cross and Virginia Tech to reach the Sweet Sixteen; Nevada defeated Creighton; Virginia Commonwealth defeated Duke; and Winthrop defeated Notre Dame.
2006 NCAA Tournament: 19 Berths - Albany, Bradley, Bucknell, George Mason, Iona, Kent State, Montana, Murray State, Nevada, UNC-Wilmington, Northern Iowa, Northwestern State, Pacific, Oral Roberts, Utah State, Southern Illinois, UW-Milwaukee, Winthrop and Wichita State. A 12-19 overall record: Bradley defeated Kansas and Pittsburgh to reach the Sweet Sixteen; Bucknell defeated Arkansas; George Mason defeated Michigan State, North Carolina, Wichita State and Connecticut to reach the Final Four; Montana defeated Nevada; Northwestern State defeated Iowa; UW-Milwaukee defeated Oklahoma; and Wichita State defeated Seton Hall and Tennessee to reach the Sweet Sixteen.
2005 NCAA Tournament: 15 berths - Bucknell, Chattanooga, Creighton, Eastern Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, Niagara, Northern Iowa, Ohio, Old Dominion, Pacific, Southern Illinois, Utah State, UW-Milwaukee and Winthrop. A 6-15 overall record: Bucknell defeated Kansas; Nevada defeated Texas; Pacific defeated Pittsburgh; Southern Illinois defeated Saint Mary's (California); and UW-Milwaukee defeated Alabama and Boston College to reach the Sweet Sixteen.