ESPN has announced today live on ESPNU’s 2011 BracketBusters Selection Show the pairings for the ninth annual BracketBusters – a three-day men’s college basketball event pitting NCAA Tournament hopefuls Friday-Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 18-20. Three MVC teams (Missouri State, UNI and Wichita State) are featured in the 11-game telecast schedule.
Wichita State tips off the event with a 6 p.m. CT game against VCU on Friday, Feb. 18, on ESPN2. Missouri State travels to Valparaiso on Saturday, Feb. 19, and will play a 4 p.m. CT contest on ESPN2. And UNI hosts 2006 NCAA Tournament upstart and CAA member George Mason on Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
BracketBusters will feature 11 nationally televised games over three days, selected from a 114 eligible teams – the largest pool in the event’s history. ESPNU and ESPN2 will each air five games; all ESPN2 contests will be simulcast on ESPN3.com. The Feb. 20 game with two teams ranked in the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) top 31 – No. 29 Cleveland State at No. 31 Old Dominion at 1 p.m. will air either on ESPN or ESPN2 (determined approximately one week before the game).
This year’s BracketBusters pool consists of teams from 13 conferences, including five from the Colonial Athletic Association, three apiece from the Horizon League and Missouri Valley Conference and two from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Highlights:
Virginia Commonwealth at Wichita State, 6 p.m. CT, ESPN2
Kent State at Drexel, 8 p.m. CT, ESPNU
Hofstra at Wright State, 10 a.m. CT, ESPNU
Austin Peay at Fairfield, 12 p.m. CT, ESPNU
Iona at Liberty, 2 p.m. CT, ESPNU
Missouri State at Valparaiso, 4 p.m. CT, ESPN2
Vermont at College of Charleston, 4 p.m. CT, ESPNU
George Mason at Northern Iowa, 6 p.m. CT, ESPN2
No. 21 Utah State at St. Mary’s (CA), 8 p.m. CT, ESPN2
Montana at Long Beach State, 10 p.m. CT, ESPN2
Cleveland State at Old Dominion, 12 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2
Valley Games (non TV)
Bradley at UT-Martin
Creighton at Akron
Detroit at Drake
Evansville at Murray State
Illinois State at Western Michigan
Morehead State at Indiana State
Green Bay at Southern Illinois
BracketBusters in NCAA Championship play from 2006-10:
2010 NCAA Championship: 11 berths – Morgan State, Murray State, New Mexico State, Northern Iowa, Ohio, Old Dominion, Siena, Utah State, UC-Santa Barbara, Vermont, Winthrop. Five wins overall: Murray State defeated Vanderbilt; Northern Iowa defeated UNLV and Kansas; Ohio defeated Georgetown; and Old Dominion defeated Notre Dame.
2009 NCAA Championship: 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. Three wins overall: Cleveland State defeated Wake Forest; Morehead State defeated Alabama State and Siena beat Ohio State.
2008 NCAA Championship: 15 Berths - Austin Peay, Boise State, Butler, Cal State-Fullerton, Davidson, Drake, George Mason, Kent State, Oral Roberts, Portland State, Saint Mary’s, San Diego, Siena, UMBC and Winthrop. Six wins overall: 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 Championship: 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. Seven wins overall: 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 Championship: 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. Twelve wins overall: 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.
In 2010, three Valley schools appeared on television as part of the BracketBusters series. Four or more Valley teams had been selected for the BracketBusters series television package in the previous seven events. The selection of six Valley teams for the television package in 2007 established a record for the league, while the Missouri Valley Conference had five teams on the ESPN family of networks in 2006 and in 2008.
Of the 35 MVC teams to play on TV in the BracketBuster series, 15 have gone on to play in the NCAA Tournament and an additional 13 teams have reached the NIT. During the first eight years of the BracketBusters series, The Valley has had 35 games featured on television and recorded a 23-12 record in those games. In fact, the Valley's 23 wins are more than any other conference.
The BracketBusters concept, named because of the success of participating teams from these conferences in NCAA Tournament play through the years, provides programs with an opportunity to play top non-conference opponents roughly three weeks before Selection Sunday. Each conference selects its participating teams before the season, and the matchups for the event are determined by ESPN in conjunction with the conferences. BracketBusters is an example of ESPN college basketball franchise programming. Others include Rivalry Week Presented by Cisco, Feast Week Presented by Lowe’s, Holiday Hoops Presented by Kay Jewelers and Judgment Week and Championship Week Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Media contact: Rachel Margolis at 860-766-2798 or email@example.com
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