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Saint Mary's To Host Utah State; San Diego To Face Pacific In ESPNU Bracketbusters Event

Feb. 2, 2009

The 2009 ESPNU BracketBusters match-ups were announced today and Saint Mary's found out that it will host the No. 22/25 Utah State Aggies, while San Diego will host Pacific on Saturday, February 21. The time for both games have not been determined and will be announced when the television schedule is completed on Monday, Feb. 9.

The game between SMC and Utah State is one of the top match-ups in this year's ESPNU BracketBusters schedule. Utah State, which is ranked 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 25 in the Associated Press Poll, has a 21-1 overall record and is 9-0 in the Western Athletic Conference, and are in first place in the WAC standings. The Aggies, who have an RPI of 40 (according to CollegeRPI.com), currently hold the nation's longest winning streak at 16 straight victories.

Saint Mary's has a 1-4 record all-time against Utah State, and this year's meeting will mark the first in 31 years. In the last meeting between SMC and USU, the Aggies posted a 96-80 win over the Gaels in Moraga, CA on March 3, 1978.

San Diego, with an overall record of 12-10 and 4-3 in the WCC, will play five more league contests before hosting Pacific. The UOP Tigers currently own a record of 12-7 overall and 5-3 in the Big West Conference and will also play five more league games before heading to San Diego. This is USD's first appearance in the ESPNU BracketBusters, while it is UOP's fifth straight appearance. UOP leads the series with the Toreros 3-2, with the last meeting coming in 1996, a 63-57 Tiger victory.

The seventh annual ESPNU BracketBusters event, a two-day men's college basketball extravaganza pitting potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls against each other on Feb. 20-21, will feature 13 nationally televised games--on either ESPN2, ESPNU, or ESPN360.com--selected from a pool of 102 teams.

For the fourth straight year, ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, will televise five BracketBusters games while ESPN360.com, ESPN's customized broadband service, will offer two. ESPN2 will televise six contests. BracketBusters, named because of the success of the teams in NCAA Tournament play, will provide the 26 televised teams an opportunity to play other top non-conference 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 Association; 10 from the Ohio Valley, Missouri Valley, Horizon League and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference; nine from the Western Athletic Conference and Big West; four from the America East and Southern; three from the Big South; two from the Big Sky, the Summit League and the West Coast Conference; and one from the MEAC, Northeast and Patriot League.

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 Presented by Cisco, Feast Week, Holiday Hoops Presented by Kay Jewelers, Judgment Week Presented by Cisco and Championship Week Presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.