Monday, February 1, 2010

Siena Gets Butler in BracketBuster Game

It might be recycling a corny movie line, but if the Siena men's basketball ultimately gets into position for (and needs) an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, it will almost certainly be able to say that the Butler did it.

That would be Butler University, currently the No. 15th-ranked team nationally, which was announced Monday night as the Saints' opponent in a BracketBuster game on Feb. 20 at 11 a.m., to be televised by ESPN2. Butler will host the game at its historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Another MAAC team, 16-6 Iona, will host William & Mary in the other televised BracketBusters contest featuring a conference representative.. That game will be played at the Gaels' Mulcahy Center at 9 p.m. on Feb. 19 and will be televised by ESPNU.

ESPN announced on Monday the pairings for the television games for the eighth annual BracketBusters games, a two-day men’s college basketball event pitting NCAA Tournament hopefuls Friday, Feb. 19, and Saturday, Feb. 20.

The contest between Butler and Siena is clearly one of the featured events. The Bulldogs are the highest-rated team in the event, while Siena has been receiving votes in Top 25 polls recently and its active 13-game winning streak is the longest nationally.

BracketBusters will feature 11 nationally televised games live, selected from a pool of 98 teams. ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, will televise five BracketBusters games, and ESPN2 will televise six, all simulcast on, ESPN’s customized broadband service. Three of the ESPN2 telecasts will be in high definition.

Butler, meanwhile, has a noteable winning streak of its own with 10 right now, is 18-4 on the season and has defeated Northwestern, UCLA, Ohio State and Xavier in tough non-conference contests.

Its Hinkle Fieldhouse was the largest basketball arena (10,757) in the United States when it was built in 1928, and it retained that distinction until 1950. It is the sixth-oldest college basketball arena still in use and served as host to the annual Indiana High School Basketball Championship game, including the game that became known as the Milan Miracle, the memorable 1954 victory of tiny Milan High School over the much larger Muncie Central. The film Hoosiers, loosely based on that event, used Hinkle Fieldhouse and the memorable voices of original announcers Hilliard Gates and Tom Carnegie in filming the climactic game of the popular movie.

All 10 MAAC teams will be in BracketBuster games. The eight non-televised games (Date and time to be announced later) are:

- James Madison at Canisius.
- Fairfield at Vermont.
- New Hampshire at Loyola.
- Towson at Manhattan.
- Marist at Cal-Irvine.
- Niagara at Milwaukee.
- Rider at Hofstra
- Buffalo at Saint Peter's

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