FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Northern Arizona will take on Cal Poly of the Big West Conference in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 19 in the 2011 ESPNU BracketBusters. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. Flagstaff time.
Northern Arizona is in the field for the fifth time in school history and first since the 2007-08 season. NAU defeated Wichita State (2008), San Jose State (2007) and fell to Tulsa (2005) and Western Kentucky (2006) in its previous four games in the event. The Big Sky Conference is participating in the BracketBusters Pool for the seventh straight season.
BracketBusters will feature 11 nationally televised games over three days, selected from 114 eligible teams – the largest pool in the event's history. ESPNU and ESPN2 will each air five games; all ESPN2 contests will be simulcast on ESPN3.com. The Feb. 20 game with two teams ranked in the Rating Percentage Index (RPI) top 31 – No. 29 Cleveland State at No. 31 Old Dominion at 1 p.m. will air either on ESPN or ESPN2 (determined approximately one week before the game).
No. 21 nationally ranked Utah State will play at St. Mary's (CA), who dropped out of the top 25 this week, Saturday, Feb. 19, at 9 pm. ET on ESPN2. Other anticipated matchups include Virginia Commonwealth at Wichita State on Friday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 and Missouri State at Valparaiso on Saturday, Feb. 19, at 5 p.m. on ESPN2. Montana will play at Long Beach State on ESPN 2 at 8 p.m. on Feb. 19.
Cal Poly is 9-11 overall and 4-4 in conference play. The two schools last met in 2007-08 in Flagstaff, a game won by the Lumberjacks. NAU owns a 7-4 all-time mark against the Mustangs.
For the first time, all nine Big Sky games were part of the BracketBusters Pool, which included 114 teams from 14 conferences and one independent.
Of the remaining eight Big Sky teams, four will play at home and four will be on the road. Games will be played either Friday, Feb. 18 or Saturday, Feb. 19. Game dates and times will be announced. The Big Sky will play three WAC teams, three Big West squads, one WCC team, and one from the Ohio Valley.
Northern Colorado (7-1, 11-9) will play at New Mexico State (6-3, 12-11) of the WAC. Weber State (4-4, 10-9) drew San Jose State of the WAC (2-7, 10-10). Montana State (5-4, 11-10) will play host to former Big Sky rival Idaho (5-4, 12-9). Portland State takes (4-5, 11-10) on Loyola-Marymount (1-6, 8-13) of the WCC at the Stott Center. Eastern Washington (4-5, 7-14) will play former Big Sky member Cal State Northridge (5-3, 8-13). Idaho State (2-7, 6-15) will welcome Cal State Fullerton (4-5, 8-14) to Pocatello. Sacramento State (2-8, 5-16) will travel to Southeast Missouri State (4-8, 5-17) of the Ohio Valley Conference.
Per the BracketBusters agreement, the teams paired against each other this year must return a regular-season game in either 2011-12, or 2012-13.
Saturday, Feb. 19, ESPN2 8 p.m. Pacific
Montana at Long Beach State
Other Big Sky BracketBusters Matchups
Cal State Northridge (5-3, 8-13) at Eastern Washington (4-5, 7-14)
Cal State Fullerton (4-5, 8-14) at Idaho State (2-7, 6-15)
Idaho (5-4, 12-9) at Montana State (5-4, 11-10)
Northern Arizona (3-4, 11-8) at Cal Poly (4-4, 9-11)
Northern Colorado (7-1, 11-9) at New Mexico State (6-3, 12-11)
Loyola Marymount (1-6, 8-13) at Portland State (4-5, 11-10)
Sacramento State (2-8, 5-16) at Southeast Missouri State (4-8, 5-17)
Weber State (4-4, 10-9) at San Jose State (2-7, 10-10)