Long Beach State’s men’s basketball team will host Wisconsin-Green Bay at the Walter Pyramid on Feb. 21 as part of ESPNU’s BracketBusters.
“The ESPNU BracketBusters concept,” according to the Big West Conference press release, “named because of the success of teams from these conferences in NCAA Tournament play through the years, provides participating programs with an opportunity to play top non-conference opponents about three weeks before Selection Sunday.”
The time and the network for the game will be announced Feb. 9.
The game will be one of 13 nationally televised games broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN360.com.
ESPNU will carry six games and ESPN2, five. ESPN and ESPN360.com will each have one.
The game is a great showcase for The Beach’s first-place Big West team, which was selected as one of 13 participants from a pool of 102 teams.
“Getting Green Bay in the BracketBusters sounds better after the Phoenix beat Butler,” senior college basketball writer Andy Katz of ESPN said in a live chat on ESPN.com early Tuesday.
The Phoenix are 18-6 with a 10-2 mark in the Horizon League. They are just a half-game behind first-place Butler after they upset the 11th-ranked Bulldogs at home Monday night, 75-66.
“It’s a tough draw,” LBSU head coach Dan Monson said after practice Tuesday. “It’s pretty high praise for our program.”
The ‘Niners and the Phoenix have two common opponents this season. Both teams beat Idaho State — Green Bay at home, Long Beach on the road — and both lost at Wisconsin.
For an LBSU team trying to raise its national profile, this is a great opportunity. Katz noticed the progress The Beach has made in year two under coach Monson.
“Monson should flourish in the Big West and making the tourney this season is realistic,” he said.
All nine Big-West teams will play in a BracketBusters game, which carries a home-and-away feature that means LBSU will play at Green Bay in the 2009-2010 season.
Sports editor Tracy McDannald contributed to this report.