In the final year of the Bracketbusters event, the OVC will be featured more than anytime in the event’s history. Three teams will be featured in televised games, including back-to-back games in the nightcap.
The Bracketbusters event involves 122 teams from 13 mid-major conference. Every Ohio Valley Conference basketball team is involved this year with six teams being at home and the remaining on the road. As per an agreement with ESPN, each school will make a return trip withing two years of playing.
All games Saturday, February 23.
Eastern Kentucky (17-6) at Valparaiso (17-6)
ESPNU, 1 p.m. EST
Initial Thoughts: A good game with regional interest. Valpo is not only 17-6, but 7-2 in the very good Horizon conference. Valpo, much like the Colonels, like to shoot the three. Could be a very high scoring affair for the Colonels.
South Dakota State (18-6) at Murray State (16-5)
ESPN2, 7p.m. CST
Initial Thoughts: Murray State made out better than could have been expected. One of, if not the prime TV spot, and they face a hugely tough opponents in the Jackrabbits. A win would be a good boost to the Racers resume. Important to note, the Jackrabbits are undefeated at home, just 5-6 on the road this year. The matchup between Isaiah Cannan and Nate Wolters will make for must-see TV.
Ohio (15-6) at Belmont (19-4)
ESPN2, 9 p.m. CST
Initial Thoughts: It’s not a bad game by any stretch, but the Bruins likely are a bit disappointed to see Creighton head to the West Coast. Ohio has a 92 RPI (lower than SD State) and won’t provide a big boost to the Bruins with a win. Watching D.J. Cooper against Ian Clark will be fun to see.
Austin Peay (5-18) at Liberty (7-16)
Eastern Illinois (6-17) at Northern Illinois (5-15)
Jacksonville State (15-7) at UNC Ashville (13-10)
Morehead State (11-13) at Oakland (11-13)
Ball State (8-12) at SEMO (11-13)
SIUE (8-11) at Central Arkansas (9-11)
Loyola (MD) (16-8)at Tennessee State (13-10)
UMKC (6-18) at Tennessee Tech (8-14)
Longwood (3-20) at UT Martin (6-16)