Sept. 15, 2005
BRISTOL, Conn. -- The Santa Clara University men's basketball team has been selected to participate in the fourth annual Bracket Buster Saturday event, a one-day men's college basketball extravaganza pitting potential NCAA tournament hopefuls against each other on February 18.
Bracket Buster Saturday will feature 11 nationally televised games selected from an expanded pool of 100 teams representing 18 conferences.
Last year's field included a potential 64 teams representing 13 conferences (vying for 11 Bracket Buster Saturday games) while the 2004 event featured 46 teams (for 10 Bracket Buster Saturday games) and the inaugural event in 2003 included 18 teams (for nine Bracket Buster Saturday games).
In addition to the expanded field, this year's event will also feature five Bracket Buster Saturday games exclusively on ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network. ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to televise the remaining six contests. Match-ups and nationally televised games will be determined January 29, 2006
Bracket Buster Saturday, named because of the success of the teams in NCAA Tournament play over the past few years, will provide the 22 televised teams (selected from the pool of 100 schools) an opportunity to play other top non-conference opponents three weeks prior to Selection Sunday. The 78 teams not selected for Bracket Buster Saturday will compete against each other on the same day.
The 100-team field will feature 12 teams from the Mid-American Conference; 11 from the Ohio Valley Conference; 10 from the Missouri Valley and Metro Atlantic Athletic; nine from the Western Athletic Conference and Horizon League; eight from the Big West and Colonial Athletic; four from the Sun Belt and the Big Sky; three from the Big South; two from the America East, Mid-Continent, Southern, Southland and West Coast; and Bucknell from the Patriot League and Fairleigh Dickinson from the Northeast. Four new conferences join the pool this year: Big South, Northeast, Patriot and Southland. The West Coast conference returns after a one-year absence.
While each conference selects their participating teams prior to the season, the 11 matchups for Bracket Buster Saturday will be determined from the pool of 100 teams by ESPN in conjunction with the conferences approximately three weeks prior to the event (this year - January 29 2006). As part of the agreement, all 11 of the Bracket Buster Saturday home teams, as well as the remaining 39 home squads, will play a "return" game at the home facility of their opponent in November or December of the following season.
Bracket Buster Saturday is an example of ESPN college basketball franchise programming. Others include Rivalry Week, Feast Week, Judgment Week and Championship Week.
This year's Bracket Buster Saturday pool features teams with 31 appearances in the last two NCAA Tournaments, including two Sweet Sixteen squads - UW-Milwaukee (2005) and Nevada (2004).