September 23, 2009

MEN'S HOOP TO TAKE PART IN ESPN'S BRACKETBUSTERS SERIES

DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team has been selected to take part in the eighth annual BracketBusters event, a two-day men's college basketball extravaganza pitting potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls against each other Feb. 19-20, it was announced today. The BracketBusters event - the first ever for UNH - 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.

America East has had BracketBusters television games in four of the past five years, including Vermont's 78-70 victory over Buffalo last February. Albany appeared on ESPNU in 2005 and 2006, suffering an 83-82 loss at Boise State in 2007 after falling 70-67 at Virginia Commonwealth in 2006. Vermont traveled to Nevada for the event's marquee game on ESPN2 in 2005. The Catamounts dropped a 74-64 decision to the Wolfpack, but advanced to the NCAA Tournament two weeks later where they upset Syracuse, 60-57, in the first round.

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).

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