CONTEST WILL BE PART OF ESPN TELEVISION PACKAGE
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 2, 2004) - ESPN announced Monday that the East Tennessee State University men's basketball team will be paired against Western Athletic Conference member Fresno State as part of the ESPN Bracket Buster Saturday on Feb. 21. The game will be part of the event's 10-game television package.
"Fresno State is a well-known name in college athletics, and they have some quality wins over teams like Hawaii and Washington State out of the Pac 10," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow, whose team is currently 17-4 overall, 9-0 in Southern Conference play. "We're really excited to be a part of the television component of the event, and it's really important to point out that we want to get good programs in the Dome. By being a part of Bracket Busters, we'll be able to bring Fresno State back here next year."
Indeed, while the Bucs will be eligible again next year for the Bracket Buster, they are now guaranteed a home-and-home contract with Fresno State, meaning the Bulldogs (10-8 overall, No. 82 RPI) will play at Memorial Center next season. In addition, the game on Feb. 21 will be part of the ESPN television package and may possibly be televised locally as part of a syndicated broadcast.
ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dave Mullins said that being involved in the Bracket Busters Saturday is an early indication of where ETSU men's basketball is going and the focus on taking the program to a higher level.
"When we were given the opportunity, we saw this as another step in the process of gaining national exposure for our program and building on the momentum we are establishing for basketball," Mullins said. "Playing on a national stage is something we are always interesting in doing. You can't buy this kind of advertising for our university and community. This gives the rest of the country an opportunity to learn what we are all about at ETSU."
The Bracket Buster Saturday series was developed by ESPN in conjunction with a group of conference commissioners prior to the 2002-03 basketball season. The 2004 event is an ESPN television property in its second year of existence after a highly successful inaugural event last February. The term "bracket buster" was chosen by ESPN as the name for the event in recognition of the collective achievements teams in the field in past NCAA tournaments, with numerous upsets of higher-seeded teams taking place almost every year - hence, the term bracket buster.
A total of 46 teams from 11 conferences made themselves available to participate in the Bracket Buster Saturday Series. Only the top teams will be featured on ESPN. Five games will be carried on ESPN2 and another five games will played played on ESPN's Fullcourt satellite TV package. The SoCon was one of just four conferences to have multiple teams appear on ESPN.
More information on game time and television broadcast schedules can be found at espn.com or by checking www.etsubucs.com.