Jan. 31, 2011
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - Two West Coast Conference teams will participate in the ninth annual BracketBusters - a three-day men's college basketball event pitting potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls against each other Feb. 18-20. On Monday, the entire BracketBusters field was announced. Saint Mary's (18-4) will play host to No. 20 Utah State (20-2) on Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. in a nationally televised game on ESPN2, and Loyola Marymount (8-13) will travel to Portland State (11-10) Saturday with the time to be announced at a later date.
Overall, the West Coast Conference is making its seventh appearance in the nine-year history of the event. WCC teams are 6-2 in BracketBusters play since it began in 2003 - including a 75-64 Saint Mary's victory over Utah State in 2009.
BracketBusters, named because of the success of the teams in NCAA Tournament play, will provide the teams an opportunity to play other top non-conference opponents three weeks before Selection Sunday.
This year's 114-team field is the largest in the event's history. The pool features teams from 15 conferences as well as one independent: 12 from the Mid-American Conference and Colonial Athletic; 10 from the Ohio Valley Conference, Missouri Valley and Metro Atlantic Athletic; nine from Big Sky, Big South, Big West and Western Athletic; eight from the Horizon League; five from America East and Southern; two from the MEAC and West Coast; and one from the Summit League, as well as independent Seattle.
Both Saint Mary's and LMU will return these games within the next two seasons when LMU hosts Portland State and Saint Mary's travels to Utah State. The teams will also start a new BracketBusters series next season, with Loyola Marymount playing at home, and Saint Mary's playing on the road against opponents to be determined.