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ESPN's BracketBusters to Feature Largest Pool in History

Sept. 30, 2010

The ninth annual Bracketbusters, a three-day men's college basketball event pitting potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls against each other Feb. 18-20, will feature 11 nationally televised games - on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU -- selected from a pool of 114 teams, the largest BracketBusters pool in the event's history.

The West Coast Conference will be represented in the event by Saint Mary's College and Loyola Marymount University, and will be the conference's seventh appearance in the nine-year history of the event. Both teams have agreed to participate in the event in 2011 and 2012, with Saint Mary's playing at home and LMU on the road in 2011 and LMU at home and Saint Mary's on the road in 2012. The WCC is 6-2 in BracketBusters since the event began in 2003.

For the sixth straight year, ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, will feature five BracketBusters games, while ESPN or ESPN2 will televise up to six contests. The 11 BracketBusters matchups will be announced Jan. 31.

BracketBusters, named because of the success of the teams in NCAA Tournament play, will provide the 22 televised teams an opportunity to play other top non-conference opponents three weeks before Selection Sunday. The 92 teams not selected for BracketBusters will compete against each other through the same three days.

The 114-team field will feature 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.

As part of the agreement, all 11 of the BracketBusters home teams in televised games, as well as the remaining 46 home squads, will play a "return" game at the home facility of their opponent in November or December of the 2012-13 season.

BracketBusters is part of ESPN's college basketball franchise programming, along with Rivalry Week Presented by Cisco, 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 BracketBusters have produced 74 appearances in the last five NCAA Tournaments.

BracketBusters Schedule (subject to change)

Date - Time (ET) - Network

Fri, Feb 18
7 p.m. - ESPN2
9 p.m. - ESPNU

Sat, Feb 19
11 a.m. - ESPNU
1 p.m. - ESPNU
3 p.m. - ESPNU
5 p.m. - ESPN2
5 p.m. - ESPNU
7 p.m. - ESPN2
9 p.m. - ESPN2
11 p.m. - ESPN2

Sun, Feb 20
1 p.m. - ESPN or ESPN2

BracketBusters in NCAA Tournament play from 2006-10:2010 NCAA Tournament: 11 berths - Morgan State, Murray State, New Mexico State, Northern Iowa, Ohio, Old Dominion, Siena, Utah State, UC-Santa Barbara, Vermont, Winthrop. Five wins overall: Murray State defeated Vanderbilt; Northern Iowa defeated UNLV and Kansas; Ohio defeated Georgetown; and Old Dominion defeated Notre Dame.

2009 NCAA Tournament: 12 berths - Akron, Butler, Cal State Northridge, Cleveland State, Morehead State, Morgan State, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Portland State, Siena, Utah State, and Virginia Commonwealth. Three wins overall: Cleveland State defeated Wake Forest; Morehead State defeated Alabama State and Siena beat Ohio State.

2008 NCAA Tournament: 15 Berths - Austin Peay, Boise State, Butler, Cal State-Fullerton, Davidson, Drake, George Mason, Kent State, Oral Roberts, Portland State, Saint Mary's, San Diego, Siena, UMBC and Winthrop. Six wins overall: Davidson defeated Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin to reach the Elite Eight; Butler defeated South Alabama; Siena defeated Vanderbilt; and San Diego defeated Connecticut.

2007 NCAA Tournament: 17 Berths - Albany, Butler, Creighton, Davidson, Eastern Kentucky, Holy Cross, Long Beach State, Miami (Ohio), Nevada, New Mexico State, Niagara, Old Dominion, Oral Roberts, Southern Illinois, Virginia Commonwealth, Winthrop and Wright State. Seven wins overall: Butler defeated Old Dominion and Maryland to reach the Sweet Sixteen; Southern Illinois defeated Holy Cross and Virginia Tech to reach the Sweet Sixteen; Nevada defeated Creighton; Virginia Commonwealth defeated Duke; and Winthrop defeated Notre Dame.

2006 NCAA Tournament: 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. Twelve wins overall: 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.