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Tuesday, Feb. 3

Redbirds to host Loyola-Chicago
in Bracket Buster event    
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[FEB. 3, 2004]  NORMAL -- The Illinois State men's basketball team will renew an in-state rivalry Feb. 21, when the Redbirds will host Loyola-Chicago in ESPN's Bracket Buster II series, as announced by the sports television network. Tipoff for the game is 4:05 p.m.

This will be the ninth meeting in the series between the two schools. The last contest was in Redbird Arena on Jan. 20, 1993, and resulted in an 88-64 Illinois State victory. The Redbirds lead the series 5-3 and are 2-1 in Redbird Arena games against the Ramblers.

Head coach Porter Moser likes the second-year concept.

"I think that the whole Bracket Buster concept is an exciting idea," Moser said. "It's exciting that there are a number of programs being matched up and that you don't know who you are playing until a couple weeks before the game. Obviously, we wish that our Bracket Buster situation had more tournament implications, based on our record. We just wish we were in a situation every year where it has tournament implications."

A member of the Horizon League, Loyola owns a 7-13 record this season and is 3-7 in conference play. The Ramblers share two common opponents with the Redbirds this season, losing 79-63 at Bradley and dropping a pair of conference games to Illinois-Chicago, 77-59 and 64-57.

"Loyola is a great draw based on proximity," added Moser. "They get to come here and we'll get to go to Chicago next year. To get paired up with an in-state opponent -- that will just give it some extra excitement."


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In last season's Bracket Buster game, the Redbirds claimed a 57-53 victory at Marshall, and the Missouri Valley Conference went on to post a 4-0 record in the first year of the event.

The second annual Bracket Buster event includes 46 teams from 11 conferences, paired in 23 games. The 46 teams in the field feature 13 teams from the Mid-American Conference, 10 from the Missouri Valley Conference, eight from the Horizon League, three from the Sun Belt Conference and two from the Southern Conference, plus single teams from the Big West Conference, Colonial Athletic Association, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Ohio Valley Conference and West Coast Conference.

While each conference selects their participating teams prior to the season and designates teams for home or road games, the matchups, including the nationally televised games, were determined by ESPN in conjunction with the conferences.

Tickets for this game, along with the remainder of Illinois State's regular-season games, can be purchased through the ticket office at Redbird Arena by calling (309) 438-8000.

[Todd Kober, director of athletics media relations,
Illinois State University]

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