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Men’s Basketball to Take on Hawai‘i in BracketBusters

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Northern Arizona will take on Hawai'i of the Big West Conference in Honolulu at the Stan Sheriff Center on Saturday, Feb. 23 in ESPN's Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters. The time of the game will be announced at a later date.

"I am really excited about the opportunity to play the University of Hawai'i," said Head Coach Jack Murphy. "They are one of the better programs out West and have a great tradition."

Northern Arizona is in the BracketBusters field for the seventh time in school history and third consecutive season overall. NAU is 3-3 all-time in the event, posting wins over Wichita State (2008), San Jose State (2007) and Cal Poly (2011). The Lumberjacks have lost games to Tulsa (2005) Western Kentucky (2006) and UC Davis (2012) in its previous participation.

The Big Sky Conference is participating in the BracketBusters Pool for the ninth straight season.

Hawai'i is 13-9 on the season overall after recording a current three-game conference winning streak with road wins at UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. The Rainbows are 7-4 in Best West Conference play.

"To have the ability to go on the road and play an opponent of that caliber in February is exciting," said Murphy. "It is also exciting for our players because a lot of them have never been there. It is one of the most beautiful states in our nation. So it is going to be a great experience for them."

The two schools have two common opponents in UNLV and UC Davis. UNLV defeated both teams, while NAU posted a win at UC Davis on Nov. 18 and Hawai'i lost at home to UC Davis on Jan. 19.

NAU and Hawai'i will be meeting for the first time in school history.

"For the team to have a little bit of a reward is nice but we are going over there to play a game and we are going to take that seriously," said Murphy. "But I also want them to enjoy the trip."

The Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters field will feature 13 nationally televised games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3, selected from 122 eligible teams. ESPN2 will have a minimum of three BracketBusters games (an additional two games are designated as flex picks for either ESPN or ESPN2 determined approximately one week before the games) and ESPNU and ESPN3 will each host four games.

Per the BracketBusters agreement, the teams paired against each other this year must return a regular-season game in either 2013-14 or 2014-15.