ESPNU announced the matchups for the 11th Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters – a two-day men’s college basketball event pitting potential NCAA Championship hopefuls against each other Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23 – on the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters Selection Show hosted by Matt Schick, with analysts Andy Katz and Joe Lunardi on Monday, Feb. 4. All games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will also be available on WatchESPN. A schedule of game commentators will be announced at a later date.
The Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters field will feature 13 nationally televised games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3, selected from 122 eligible teams. ESPN2 will have a minimum of three BracketBusters games (an additional two games are designated as flex picks for either ESPN or ESPN2 determined approximately one week before the games) and ESPNU and ESPN3 will each host four games.
Saturday’s schedule includes some of the top teams in the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters pool. Wichita State, which was ranked as high as No. 15 in the Associated Press poll this season, will face Detroit on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 4 p.m. ET on either ESPN or ESPN2. As one of only five teams in the nation with 20 or more wins this season, No. 16 Creighton will face Saint Mary’s (Calif.), also on Saturday, on ESPN or ESPN2 at 6 p.m. Since the start of December, Saint Mary’s has posted a record of 15-2 overall and Creighton has had a presence in the national polls all season.
ESPN2 will be the home to two Saturday prime-time matchups tipping off at 8 p.m. with South Dakota State at Murray State followed by Ohio at Belmont at 10 p.m. Murray State is 7-2 in Ohio Valley play, which ranks first in the West Division and South Dakota State is one of three teams tied atop The Summit League with a 9-2 mark. Ohio started 6-0 in Mid-American Conference play for the first time since 1973-74, while Belmont is undefeated at 10-0 in Ohio Valley Conference games.
Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters team highlights:
- The games consist of teams from 13 conferences, including four from the Missouri Valley Conference and three apiece from the MAAC, Mid-American and the Ohio Valley Conference.
- Akron, Saint Mary’s and Wichita State are all receiving votes in the Feb. 4 Associated Press poll, in addition to Creighton’s current rank of No. 16.
- 2012 NCAA Championship participants include 10 teams: Creighton, Detroit, Iona, Long Beach State, Murray State, Ohio, Saint Mary’s, South Dakota State, Vermont and Wichita State.
- Ohio made a run to the Sweet 16 as a 13 seed by defeating Michigan and USF.
- Fourteen of the 26 teams are included in the top 100 of ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index (BPI): Creighton (11), Wichita State (23), Belmont (41), Akron (42), Saint Mary’s (43), North Dakota State (61), Northern Iowa (65), Indiana State (66), Denver (74), Stephen F. Austin (80), Ohio (82), Detroit (85), Valparaiso (87) and Davidson (99).
2013 Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters Schedule (All times are Eastern and subject to change)
|Fri, Feb 22||7 p.m.||North Dakota State at Akron||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|9 p.m.||Stephen F. Austin at Long Beach State||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|Sat, Feb 23||11 a.m.||Iona at Indiana State||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|1 p.m.||Eastern Kentucky at Valparaiso||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|Canisius at Vermont||ESPN3|
|2 p.m.||Pacific at Western Michigan||ESPN3|
|3 p.m.||Montana at Davidson||ESPNU / WatchESPN|
|Northwestern State at Niagara||ESPN3|
|4 p.m.||Detroit at Wichita State||ESPN or ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|6 p.m.||No. 16 Creighton at Saint Mary’s (Calif.)||ESPN or ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|8 p.m.||South Dakota State at Murray State||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|Denver at Northern Iowa||ESPN3|
|10 p.m.||Ohio at Belmont||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters in NCAA Championship play from 2006-12:
2012 NCAA Championship: 12 berths – Creighton, Davidson, VCU, Iona, Long Beach State, Murray State, New Mexico State, Ohio, Saint Mary’s, South Dakota State, UNC-Asheville, Wichita State. 5 wins: VCU defeated Wichita State; Murray State defeated Colorado State; Creighton defeated Alabama; Ohio advanced to the Sweet Sixteen by defeating Michigan and USF.
2011 NCAA Championship: 13 berths – Akron, Boston University, George Mason, Indiana State, Morehead State, Northern Colorado, Old Dominion, Saint Peter’s, UC-Santa Barbara, UNC Ashville, Utah State, VCU, and Wofford. Eight wins: George Mason defeated Villanova; Morehead State defeated Louisville; UNC Ashville defeated Arkansas-Little Rock; VCU advanced to the Final Four defeating USC, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State and Kansas.
2010 NCAA Championship: 12 berths – Butler, Morgan State, Murray State, New Mexico State, Northern Iowa, Ohio, Old Dominion, Siena, Utah State, UC-Santa Barbara, Vermont, Winthrop. 10 wins overall: Butler advanced to the National Title game defeating UTEP, Murray State, Syracuse, Kansas State, Michigan State; Murray State defeated Vanderbilt; Northern Iowa defeated UNLV and Kansas; Ohio defeated Georgetown; and Old Dominion defeated Notre Dame.
2009 NCAA Championship: 13 berths – Akron, Binghamton, 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.
About Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters
The Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters concept, named because of the success of participating teams from these conferences in NCAA Championship 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. Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters is an example of ESPN college basketball franchise programming. Others include Rivalry Week, Feast Week Presented by Lowe’s, Holiday Hoops Presented by Kay Jewelers, Bracket Builder Week and Championship Week Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.