ESPNU BracketBusters Pairings Announced
Event to Feature 13 Games Feb. 20-21; Selections Highlighted by Return of Davidson; #11 Butler
Pairings for the seventh annual ESPNU BracketBusters – a two-day men’s college basketball event pitting NCAA Tournament hopefuls Friday, Feb. 20, and Saturday, Feb. 21, were announced today. The field features two ranked, one-loss teams, #11 Butler and #22 Utah State, and the return of last season’s BracketBusters participant Davidson, which made it to the Elite Eight in the 2007-08 NCAA Tournament.
Game times and network assignments for the matchups will be announced Monday, Feb. 9. ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, will televise six BracketBusters games, while ESPN360.com, ESPN’s customized broadband service, will offer one. ESPN2 will televise five contests and ESPN will have one game. ESPN360.com will also simulcast the ESPN and ESPN2 telecasts. ESPNU BracketBusters will feature 13 nationally televised games selected from a pool of 102 teams. The matchups are highlighted by #11 Butler against Davidson, both undefeated in conference play, and #22 Utah State against Saint Mary’s, a 2008 NCAA Tournament participant that has been among the nation’s top 25 teams this season as recently as last week.
2009 ESPNU BracketBusters Pairings
Friday, Feb. 20
Virginia Commonwealth at Nevada
Illinois State at Niagara
Saturday, Feb. 21
George Mason at Creighton
#11 Butler at Davidson
Miami (OH) at Evansville
Hofstra at Fairfield
Green Bay at Long Beach State
Liberty at Old Dominion
Boise State at Portland State
#22 Utah State at Saint Mary’s
Northern Iowa at Siena
Buffalo at Vermont
Northeastern at Wright State
This year’s 26 ESPNU BracketBusters teams represent 12 conferences and:
- Two ranked teams: #11 Butler and #22 Utah State
- Four teams in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) top 50, including Butler at ninth and Siena at 20th; and 21 in the top 100
- Seven 2008 NCAA Tournament participants: Davidson, George Mason, Boise State, Butler, Portland State, Siena and Saint Mary’s
- Fourteen teams with 15 or more wins overall, and four undefeated in conference play (Butler, Davidson, Utah State and Siena)
The ESPNU BracketBusters concept, named because of the success of teams from these conferences in NCAA Tournament play through the years, provides participating programs with an opportunity to play top non-conference opponents about three weeks before Selection Sunday. Each conference selected its participating teams before the season, and the matchups for the event were determined by ESPN in conjunction with the conferences.
ESPNU 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, Campus Connection Week, Judgment Week and Championship Week Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods.
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