Niagara Gazette

Sports

February 4, 2013

NU tabbed to host BracketBuster

Niagara Gazette — Before the BracketBuster goes bust, the Niagara Purple Eagles will play in one of the marquee games.

Niagara will host Northwestern State at 3 p.m. Feb. 23 in one of the 13 games selected to be showcased on ESPN's family of networks.

The matchup between the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference-leading Purple Eagles and the third-place team in the Southland Conference will stream online at ESPN3.com.

This will be Niagara's first nationally-broadcast BracketBuster game since 2009 when it hosted Illinois State in a game that aired on ESPN2.

"We're so proud and excited to be in one of the TV games," coach Joe Mihalich said. "We watched the selection show as a team and it gave us a little boost from that tough loss Saturday."

Northwestern State (14-6, 8-2) is the highest-scoring and fastest-paced team in the country.

"It's going to be an exciting game," Mihalich said. "It'll be something like 110-109. Hopefully we get 110."

Niagara (14-8, 10-2) has a two-game lead in the MAAC standings over Iona (14-9, 8-4), which was selected to play Indiana State in a BracketBuster game on ESPNU.

Canisius will play at Vermont in a game on ESPN3, while Buffalo will host Manhattan in a non-televised BracketBuster game Feb. 23. The tip-off time for that game hasn't yet been announced.

Home teams in the BracketBuster games are required to play at the visiting team's venue at some point over the next two seasons.

This will be the final season of the current BracketBuster format, which was created in 2003 to give mid-major teams a boost in strength of schedule and RPI rankings to enhance their NCAA tournament credentials.

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