Sept. 5, 2008
Saint Mary's and San Diego, both of which advanced to the 2008 NCAA Tournament, were selected as home teams in the seventh annual ESPNU BracketBusters event. BracketBusters, a two-day men's college basketball extravaganza pitting potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls against each other on February 20-21, will feature 13 nationally televised games - on either ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN360.com -- selected from a pool of 102 teams. The field is highlighted by the return of last season's BracketBusters participant Davidson, who made it to the Elite Eight in last year's NCAA Tournament.
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. ESPN360.com will also simulcast ESPN2's six telecasts. The 13 BracketBusters matchups will be announced February 2, while game time and network assignments will be announced February 9.
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 and Colonial Athletic; 10 from the Ohio Valley, Missouri Valley, Horizon League and Metro Atlantic Athletic; nine from the Western Athletic and Big West; four from the America East and Southern; three from the Big South; two from the Big Sky, Summit League and West Coast; and one from the Mid-Eastern Athletic, Northeast and Patriot.
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, Student Spirit Week, Judgment Week and Championship Week Presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.
This year's BracketBusters pool features teams with 77 appearances in the last five 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).
Conference # teams Home teams Road teamsAmerica East 4 (2-2) Vermont UMBC Boston University U of Hartford
Big Sky 2 (1-1) Portland State Montana State
Big South 3 (1-2) Winthrop Liberty Gardner-Webb
Big West 9 (4-5) Cal Poly CS-Fullerton Long Beach State CS-Northridge UC-Davis UC-Irvine UC-Santa Barbara UC-Riverside Pacific
Colonial 12 (6-6) Drexel Delaware James Madison George Mason UNC-Wilmington Georgia State Old Dominion Hofstra Towson Northeastern William & Mary VCU
Horizon 10 (6-4) Loyola Butler UIC Cleveland State Valparaiso Detroit Wright State Green Bay Youngstown State Milwaukee
Metro Atlantic 10 (5-5) Fairfield Canisius Marist Iona Niagara Loyola Rider Manhattan Siena Saint Peter's
Mid-American 12 (6-6) Ball State Akron Central Michigan Buffalo Eastern Michigan Ohio Western Michigan Miami (OH) Bowling Green Northern Illinois Kent State Toledo
MEAC 1 (0-1) Morgan State
Missouri Valley 10 (5-5) Creighton Bradley Drake Illinois State Evansville Missouri State Indiana State Northern Iowa Wichita State Southern Illinois
Northeast 1 (0-1) Fairleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley 10 (5-5) Murray State Morehead State Eastern Kentucky Tennessee Tech Southeast Missouri Austin Peay Tennessee State Eastern Illinois UT-Martin Jacksonville State
Patriot 1 (1-0) Bucknell
Southern 4 (2-2) Davidson Appalachian State Georgia Southern Elon
Summit League 2 (0-2) North Dakota State South Dakota State
West Coast 2 (2-0) Saint Mary's San Diego
WAC 9 (5-4) Hawaii Boise State Idaho Fresno Nevada LA Tech New Mexico State Utah State San Jose State
TOTAL TEAMS 51 teams 51 teams