Sept. 28, 2011
The 10th annual Sears BracketBusters, a three-day men's college basketball event pitting potential NCAA Championship hopefuls against each other Feb. 17-19, will feature 13 nationally televised games - on either ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3. The NCAA hopefuls will be selected from a pool of 142 teams from 16 conferences, the largest Sears BracketBusters pool in the event's history, which includes two team that reached the 2011 Final Four in Houston.
Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount from the West Coast Conference will participate in this year's event. Saint Mary's has played in four previous BracketBusters events, registering a 2-2 overall record. LMU is making its second appearance, after playing at Portland State in 2011.
For the seventh straight year, ESPNU will feature five Sears BracketBusters games, while ESPN or ESPN2 will television up to six and ESPN3 will carry two. The 13 Sears BracketBusters matchups will be announced Monday, Jan. 30 with dates, times and networks. The television matchups are selected by ESPN, while a Committee of Conference Commissioners determines the additional non-televised games.
Sears BracketBusters, named because of the success of the teams in NCAA Championship play, will provide the 26 televised teams an opportunity to play other top non-conference opponents three weeks before Selection Sunday. The 116 teams not selected for Sears BracketBusters will compete against each other through the same three days.
The 142-team field will feature teams from 16 conferences: 12 each from Colonial Athletic Association, Mid-American Conference and Southland; 11 each from Ohio Valley Conference and Big South; 10 each from Horizon League, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Missouri Valley and Summit League; nine each from America East, Big Sky and Big West; eight from the Western Athletic Association; four from the Southern Conference; three from the MEAC; and two from the WCC.
As part of the agreement, all 13 of the Sears BracketBusters home teams in televised games, as well as the remaining 58 home squads, will play a return game at the home facility of their opponent in November or December of the 2013-14 season.
Sears BracketBusters is part of ESPN's college basketball franchise programming, along with Rivalry Week, Feast Week presented by Lowe's, Holiday Hoops Presented by Kay Jewelers, Judgment Week and Championship Week Presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.
Teams participating this season in Sears BracketBusters have produced 87 appearances in the last six NCAA Championships.