Bracket Buster Saturday Pool Announced
Sept. 15, 2005
PLANO, Texas - A pair of Southland Conference schools are included in the 100-team pool for this season's ESPN Bracket Buster Saturday Series, conference officials announced Thursday. Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern State will both participate in the event, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 18, 2006.
Bracket Buster Saturday is a one-day event featuring potential NCAA tournament hopefuls. Bracket Buster Saturday is sponsored and promoted by ESPN. This is the program's fourth year. Due to its popularity and success, the number of teams involved has increased each year.
In a scheduling format unique to the Bracket Buster program, the match-ups will not be announced until three weeks prior to the Feb. 18 games. The pairings will be established based on regular-season play. Half of the 100 teams are established as home teams, and the other half will be road teams. Both SFA and Northwestern State are scheduled as road teams. When the pairings are announced, each team will enter into a mandatory home-and-home series with its opponent, to be completed early in the following season.
The Lumberjacks are coming off a 12-15 campaign in 2004-05. The two seasons prior to that, SFA posted 21-8 and 21-9 records and reached the championship game of the SLC postseason tournament, only to fall just short of an NCCA Tournament berth each time. Head coach Danny Kaspar is looking for another strong showing as he begins his sixth season at the program's helm.
"We're very excited to be a part of this event," SFA athletics director Robert Hill said. "It shows how far our program has progressed under Danny Kaspar for us to be selected for an event like Bracket Buster Saturday."
This season marks the first time for any SLC school to participate in the event.
"We are very proud to be included in the ESPN Bracket Buster Saturday pool, and feel we are very deserving of consideration," Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett said in a release Thursday. "Both Northwestern State and SFA have enjoyed success over the last three years, and we feel they will represent us very well. We thank our good friends at ESPN for their interest in Southland Conference basketball."
A total of 11 Bracket Buster games will be televised this year. ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to carry six games, and five will be shown on the recently launched ESPNU, a network that focuses on collegiate sports.
Included in this season's bracket buster pool are five teams that have reached the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Tournament in one of the last four years -- Kent State (2002), Southern Illinois (2002), Butler (2003), Nevada (2004) and Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2005). The teams were drawn from 18 different conferences.
The evaluation and pairing of teams will be done by ESPN staff, with input from the commissioners of participating conferences. Pairings will be announced on Sunday, Jan. 29 and Thursday, Feb. 2.
The Lumberjacks open the 2005-06 season on Nov. 19 with a road game against Tulsa.
-- SFA --