Jan. 30, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. - The UC Davis men's basketball team will play in ESPN's Sears BracketBusters event for the fifth consecutive season when the Aggies travel to face Northern Arizona of the Big Sky Conference on Feb. 18, it was announced on Monday afternoon.
The game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (PST) from Rolle Activity Center on the NAU campus located in Flagstaff, approximately 150 miles north of Phoenix. The Lumberjacks are currently 5-16 overall and 1-8 in the Big Sky.
The nonconference matchup will mark the third all-time meeting between UC Davis and Northern Arizona which met in a home-and-home series early in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. The Lumberjacks captured a 69-64 win on Hamilton Court in the first meeting before winning 78-50 in the season opener the next year.
The teams share two common opponents this season in Eastern Washington and Sacramento State. The Lumberjacks lost to EWU 76-59 on Jan. 7 and split games with the Hornets on Dec. 29 (W,73-64) and this past Saturday (L,77-43). UC Davis dropped matchups to both teams.
The Aggies are 1-3 in previous BracketBusters games, facing Loyola, Md., (L,67-64, 2008) and Boise State (W,82-74, 2009) on the road, and Fresno State (L,71-70; 2008) and Hawai'i (L,83-69) at home. As part of the BracketBusters' arrangement, Northern Arizona will play at UC Davis next season.
The ESPN Sears BracketBusters event was developed to provide nonconference matchups just three weeks prior to selection for the NCAA Tournament. The 142-team field will feature 13 televised matchups across the network's family of broadcast outlets. This year's teams will play over three days from Feb. 17-19.
"It's kind of nice to step out of your league at this point of the season," said first-year Aggie coach Jim Les. "Us going on the road this year gets us an all-important home game next year when we feel we're going to make some huge strides to being a competitive program and putting ourselves in a position for postseason consideration."
Les said Northern Arizona will provide a good matchup for UC Davis.
"Our guys are gaining confidence day by day with the work that they're putting in, and I think they're going to be (excited) that they're getting a 'like' opponent to help continue to gauge that progress," he said. All Big West teams are participating in the BracketBusters event. Long Beach State will travel to No. 12 Creighton in a televised matchup on ESPN2/ESPN3, headlining the league's participation.
Non-televised home games for the Big West include Montana State at Cal State Fullerton, Fresno State at Cal State Northridge, Eastern Washington at UC Irvine, Southern Utah at UC Riverside and Idaho State at Pacific. Road matchups include Cal Poly at Northern Colorado and UC Santa Barbara at Utah State.
UC Davis, currently 1-18, will continue Big West Conference action on Thursday when it visits UC Irvine for a 7 p.m. game. The Aggies will travel to UC Riverside on Saturday.