ESPN’s BracketBusters Features Pool of 122 Eligible Teams

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ESPN’s BracketBusters Features Pool of 122 Eligible Teams

13 Telecast Windows Across ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 during Feb. 22-23

The 11th annual BracketBusters, a two-day men’s college basketball event pitting potential NCAA Championship hopefuls against each other Feb. 22-23, will feature 13 nationally televised games – across ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3. The NCAA hopefuls will be selected from a pool of 122 teams from 15 conferences, including Ohio University, which made a run into the Sweet Sixteen.

ESPN2 will feature five BracketBusters games, while ESPNU and ESPN3 will each house four games. The 13 BracketBusters matchups will be announced Monday, Feb. 4, with dates, times and networks. The televised matchups are selected by ESPN, while a Committee of Conference Commissioners determines the additional non-televised games.

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 96 teams not selected for BracketBusters will compete against each other through the same three days.

The 122-team field will feature teams from 13 conferences: 12 each from Big South, Mid-American Conference and Ohio Valley Conference; 11 from the Big Sky; 10 each from Big West, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Missouri Valley and Southland Conference; nine each from Horizon and Summit Leagues; six from the Western Athletic Association; four from the Southern Conference; three from the MEAC; and two each from the America East and West Coast Conferences.

As part of the agreement, all 13 of the 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.

BracketBusters is part of ESPN’s college basketball franchise programming, along with Feast Week presented by Lowe’s, Holiday Hoops Presented by Kay Jewelers, Rivalry Week, Bracket Builder Week and Championship Week Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

Teams participating this season in BracketBusters have produced 101 appearances in the last seven NCAA Championships.

For more information on Bracketbusters, please visit

BracketBusters Home and Away Teams (Matchups announced Jan. 28)

Home Team Visiting Team
America East
Vermont Albany
Big Sky
Eastern Washington Montana
Idaho State Northern Arizona
Montana State North Dakota
Portland State Northern Colorado
Southern Utah Sacramento State
Weber State
Big South
Campbell Charleston Southern
High Point Coastal Carolina
Liberty Gardner-Webb
UNC Asheville Longwood
Presbyterian Radford
Winthrop Virginia Military Institute
Big West
UC Davis UC Irvine
Cal Poly UC Riverside
UC Santa Barbara Cal State Fullerton
Hawaii Cal State Northridge
Long Beach State Pacific
UIC Cleveland State
Loyola (Ill.) Detroit
Valparaiso Green Bay
Wright State Milwaukee
Youngstown State
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
Fairfield Canisius
Marist Iona
Niagara Loyola (Md.)
Rider Manhattan
Siena Saint Peter’s
Akron Ball State
Buffalo Bowling Green
Eastern Michigan Central Michigan
Northern Illinois Kent State
Toledo Miami (Ohio)
Western Michigan Ohio
Hampton Morgan State
Savannah State
Missouri Valley
Drake Bradley
Indiana State Creighton
Northern Iowa Evansville
Southern Illinois Illinois State
Wichita State Missouri State
Ohio Valley
Belmont Austin Peay
Murray State Eastern Illinois
SE Missouri State Eastern Kentucky
Tennessee-Martin Jacksonville State
Tennessee State Morehead State
Tennessee Tech SIU Edwardsville
College of Charleston Citadel
Western Carolina
Central Arkansas McNeese State
Lamar Nicholls State
Oral Roberts Northwestern State
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Sam Houston State
Southeastern Louisiana
Stephen F. Austin
Summit League
IUPUI North Dakota State
Nebraska Omaha South Dakota
Oakland South Dakota State
Western Illinois
Utah State Texas State
UTSA Denver
UTA Idaho
West Coast Conference
St. Mary’s (Calif.) Loyola Marymount

BracketBusters in NCAA Championship play from 2006-12:
2012 NCAA Championship:
12 berths – Creighton, Davidson, VCU, Iona, Long Beach State, Murray State, New Mexico State, Ohio, Saint Mary’s, South Dakota State, UNC-Asheville, Wichita State. 5 wins: VCU defeated Wichita State; Murray State defeated Colorado State; Creighton defeated Alabama; Ohio advanced to the Sweet Sixteen by defeating Michigan and USF.

2011 NCAA Championship: 13 berths – Akron, Boston University, George Mason, Indiana State, Morehead State, Northern Colorado, Old Dominion, Saint Peter’s, UC-Santa Barbara, UNC Ashville, Utah State, VCU, and Wofford. Eight wins: George Mason defeated Villanova; Morehead State defeated Louisville; UNC Ashville defeated Arkansas-Little Rock; VCU advanced to the Final Four defeating USC, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State and Kansas.

2010 NCAA Championship: 12 berths – Butler, Morgan State, Murray State, New Mexico State, Northern Iowa, Ohio, Old Dominion, Siena, Utah State, UC-Santa Barbara, Vermont, Winthrop. 10 wins overall: Butler advanced to the National Title game defeating UTEP, Murray State, Syracuse, Kansas State, Michigan State; Murray State defeated Vanderbilt; Northern Iowa defeated UNLV and Kansas; Ohio defeated Georgetown; and Old Dominion defeated Notre Dame.

2009 NCAA Championship: 13 berths – Akron, Binghamton, 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 Championship: 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 Championship: 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 Championship: 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.

About BracketBusters
The BracketBusters concept, named because of the success of participating teams from these conferences in NCAA Championship play through the years, provides programs with an opportunity to play top non-conference opponents roughly three weeks before Selection Sunday. Each conference selects its participating teams before the season, and the matchups for the event are determined by ESPN in conjunction with the conferences. BracketBusters is an example of ESPN college basketball franchise programming. Others include Rivalry Week, Feast Week Presented by Lowe’s, Holiday Hoops Presented by Kay Jewelers, Bracket Builder Week and Championship Week Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.



Rachel Margolis Siegal

A part of the Internal Communications team at ESPN, I began with the network in 2010 as part of the College Sports PR team. Always an avid sports fan and not an athlete – I grew up a huge fan of the Hartford Whalers, while also watching my brother compete at different levels. I became the manager of several high school sports teams and continued that hobby into college. While at Quinnipiac, I worked in the Sports Information Department, which led me to a summer internship at the New Haven Ravens, a AA baseball team, and an eventual job with the Athletic Communications Department at the University of Connecticut. After my five-year stint at Connecticut, I spent six years as Director of Communications at the BIG EAST Conference in Providence, R.I. before joining ESPN.
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