Sept. 24, 2009
EDWARDSVILLE, ILL. - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville will join its fellow Ohio Valley Conference schools for the eighth annual BracketBusters event, a two-day men's college basketball extravaganza on Feb. 19-20.
A total of 98 NCAA Division I teams have consented to make themselves available for the BracketBusters event. ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, and ESPN2 will televise 11 games. BracketBusters matchups will be announced on Feb. 1 with network assignments being done Feb. 8.
Half of the 98 teams have been assigned a home game while the other half have been assigned an away contest. SIUE is listed as an away team and will learn where it will travel to Feb. 1.
SIUE Coach Lennox Forrester was enthusiastic about the announcement.
"That's a tremendous step to get into BracketBusters," said Forrester. "We will be getting out and gaining more exposure for our program and potentially could be on television."
All 11 schools in the OVC will participate in the event. Schools from the America East, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Horizon, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Missouri Valley, MEAC, Southern, Summit and the WAC will compete.
SIUE gained exposure to BracketBusters in part because of its participation last season at the Charleston Classic. That tournament also was an ESPN-owned event.
Forrester said a BracketBusters game could potentially be helpful to the Cougars for the postseason. Even though SIUE is not eligible to compete in the NCAA Tournament this upcoming season during its transition to NCAA Division I status, SIUE is eligible for the other three postseason tournaments - the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) or the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT).
"It means a lot for us to be a part of BracketBusters. We're stepping in the right direction," Forrester said.
As part of the agreement, the team that SIUE travels to this season will play a "return" game in November or December 2011 at the Vadalabene Center.