Winthrop University

Eagles again tapped for BracketBuster

CHARLOTTE -- Winthrop and High Point will represent the Big South Conference in the sixth annual O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters event in late February, the league announced Thursday.

The Big South will be among 16 conferences eligible for the event scheduled for Feb. 22-23, with 100 teams scheduled to compete for one of the 14 nationally televised games.

Winthrop, the defending Big South Conference champion and a BracketBusters participant the past two seasons, will host a game, while the Panthers, who also competed in the event the past two years, will be on the road. Winthrop beat Northern Illinois and Missouri State in its two appearances, while High Point split games with Loyola (Md.).

The Big South is 4-2 in the event.

"The success of Big South teams in this outstanding event has helped to elevate the Conference's national profile in men's basketball, which has reached unparalleled heights the past two seasons," Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander said.

The field will be announced Feb. 4. Of the 14 TV games, six will air on ESPN2, five will be televised by ESPNU, two will be on ESPN360 and one will be broadcast on ESPN Classic. The remaining 36 games will not be televised, and those teams will be paired for games on Saturday, Feb. 23. Each team that hosts a BracketBusters game must schedule a return date for next season with its opponent.

"We are excited that Winthrop will once again be participating," said Winthrop coach Randy Peele. "The national exposure that this event provides is tremendous, and the opportunity for Winthrop to host a game in 2008 is great for our fans. We look forward to representing our school and the Big South Conference for a third straight year in the BracketBuster."

"It is a tremendous opportunity and provides our basketball program and University a chance for national exposure," High Point coach Bart Lundy said. "The BracketBusters format is outstanding, as it gives us the opportunity to play a home-and-home series against a top quality opponent."