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BracketBusters          Send a link to a friend

102 teams eligible for one of 13 telecasts on Feb. 16-17

Matchups to be announced Jan. 29

[SEPT. 2, 2006]  The fifth annual BracketBusters event, a two-day men's college basketball extravaganza pitting potential NCAA tournament hopefuls against each other on Feb. 16-17, will feature 13 nationally televised games selected from an expanded pool of 102 teams. The field is highlighted by the return of last year's BracketBusters participants George Mason and Wichita State, a Final Four and Sweet Sixteen team, respectively, who met in last year's event and the NCAA tournament. Last year's field included a potential 100 teams vying for 13 BracketBusters games, while the 2005 event featured 64 teams vying for 11 BracketBusters games.

For the second consecutive year, the event will feature five BracketBusters games exclusively on ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, and two on ESPN360, ESPN's customized broadband service. ESPN2 will televise six contests. The 13 BracketBusters matchups will be announced Jan. 29, while game time and network assignments will be announced Feb. 5.

BracketBusters, named because of the success of the teams in NCAA tournament play over the past few years, will provide the 26 televised teams an opportunity to play other top nonconference opponents three weeks prior to Selection Sunday. The 76 teams not selected for BracketBusters will compete against each other over the same two days.

The 102-team field will feature 12 teams from the Mid-American Conference and Colonial Athletic; 11 from the Ohio Valley Conference; 10 from the Missouri Valley and Metro Atlantic Athletic; nine from the Western Athletic Conference and Horizon League; eight from the Big West; four from the Big Sky and Southern; three from the Big South and Patriot; two from the America East, Mid-Continent and Southland; and San Francisco from the West Coast Conference.

As part of the agreement, all 13 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 following season.

BracketBusters is an example of ESPN college basketball franchise programming. Others include Rivalry Week, Feast Week, Holiday Hoops, Judgment Week and Championship Week.

This year's BracketBusters pool features teams with 70 appearances in the last five NCAA tournaments, including a team in the Final Four, George Mason, from 2006; an Elite Eight team, Kent State, 2002; and six Sweet Sixteen squads -- Bradley, 2006; Wichita State, 2006; UW-Milwaukee, 2005; Nevada, 2004; Butler, 2003; and Southern Illinois, 2002.

Home and away teams

Note: Matchups and nationally televised games will be determined Jan. 29, 2007

Home teams


  • Akron

  • Buffalo

  • Eastern Michigan

  • Northern Illinois

  • Toledo

  • Western Michigan

Ohio Valley

  • Morehead State

  • Tennessee-Martin

  • Samford

  • Southeast Missouri State

  • Tennessee State

  • Tennessee Tech

Missouri Valley

  • Creighton

  • Drake

  • Illinois State

  • Indiana State

  • Missouri State

  • Wichita State

Metro Atlantic Athletic

  • Fairfield

  • Marist

  • Niagara

  • Rider

  • Siena


  • Butler

  • Illinois-Chicago

  • Loyola (Illinois)

  • Wright State

  • Youngstown State

Western Athletic

  • Boise State

  • Fresno State

  • Idaho

  • Nevada

  • New Mexico State

Big West

  • Cal Poly

  • Long Beach State

  • Cal-State Northridge

  • UC Santa Barbara

Visiting teams


  • Ball State

  • Bowling Green

  • Central Michigan

  • Kent State

  • Miami (Ohio)

  • Ohio

Ohio Valley

  • Austin Peay

  • Eastern Illinois

  • Eastern Kentucky

  • Jacksonville State

  • Murray State


Missouri Valley

  • Bradley

  • Evansville

  • Northern Iowa

  • Southern Illinois


Metro Atlantic Athletic

  • Canisius

  • Iona

  • Loyola (Maryland)

  • Manhattan

  • Saint Peter's


  • Cleveland State

  • Detroit

  • Wisconsin-
    Green Bay

  • Wisconsin-

Western Athletic

  • Hawaii

  • Louisiana Tech

  • San Jose State

  • Utah State

Big West

  • UC Irvine

  • Pacific

  • UC Riverside

  • CS-Fullerton

[to top of second column]

Home teams

Colonial Athletic

  • Delaware

  • George Mason

  • Georgia State

  • Hofstra

  • Northeastern

  • Virginia

Big Sky

  • Montana

  • Northern Arizona

Big South

  • Coastal Carolina




  • Oral Roberts


  • Tennessee-

  • UNC Greensboro


West Coast

  • San Francisco


  • Bucknell

Visiting teams

Colonial Athletic

  • Drexel

  • James Madison

  • UNC-Wilmington

  • Old Dominion

  • Towson

  • William & Mary

Big Sky

  • Portland State

  • Eastern Washington

Big South

  • Winthrop

  • Liberty

America East

  • Albany

  • Maine


  • Valparaiso


  • Elon

  • Appalachian State


  • Northwestern State

  • Sam Houston State


  • Colgate

  • Holy Cross

Below are statistics of this year's BracketBusters pool of 102 teams in NCAA tournament play from 2002 to 2006:

2006 NCAA, 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. A 12-19 overall record: 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.

2005 NCAA, 15 berths -- Bucknell, Chattanooga, Creighton, Eastern Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, Niagara, Northern Iowa, Ohio, Old Dominion, Pacific, Southern Illinois, Utah State, UW-Milwaukee and Winthrop. A 6-15 overall record: Bucknell defeated Kansas; Nevada defeated Texas; Pacific defeated Pittsburgh; Southern Illinois defeated Saint Mary's of California; and UW-Milwaukee defeated Alabama and Boston College to reach the Sweet Sixteen.

2004 NCAA, 12 berths -- Eastern Washington, Illinois-Chicago, Liberty, Manhattan, Murray State, Nevada, Northern Iowa, Pacific, Southern Illinois, Valparaiso, Virginia Commonwealth and Western Michigan. A 4-12 overall record: Manhattan defeated Florida, Nevada defeated Michigan State and Gonzaga to reach the Sweet Sixteen; and Pacific defeated Providence.

2003 NCAA, 11 berths -- Austin Peay, Butler, Central Michigan, Creighton, Holy Cross, Manhattan, UNC-Wilmington, Sam Houston State, Southern Illinois, Utah State and UW-Milwaukee. A 3-11 overall record: Butler defeated Mississippi State and Louisville to reach the Sweet Sixteen; and Central Michigan defeated Creighton.

2002 NCAA, 13 berths -- Creighton, Kent State, Hawaii, Holy Cross, Illinois-Chicago, Montana, Murray State, Southern Illinois, UNC-Wilmington, Siena, UC Santa Barbara, Winthrop and Valparaiso. An 8-13 overall record: Kent State defeated Oklahoma State, Alabama and Pittsburgh to reach the Elite Eight; Creighton defeated Florida; UNC-Wilmington defeated USC; Siena defeated Alcorn State; and Southern Illinois defeated Texas Tech and Georgia to reach the Sweet Sixteen.

[News release provided by Todd Kober, assistant athletics director, media relations, Illinois State University]

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