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Golden Eagles draw Appalachian State in ESPNU BracketBuster

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The pairings for the 2010 ESPNU BracketBuster match-ups have been announced and the Tennessee Tech men’s basketball team will square off against Appalachian State in Boone, N.C. on Feb. 20.

Appalachian State is currently 12-9 overall and 6-4 in the Southern Conference. The Mountaineers and Golden Eagles will be meeting for the sixth time in program history. Appalachian State owns a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series. As part of the contract for the BracketBuster game, Appalachian State will play a return game in Cookeville next season.

Tech is currently 12-10 overall and 6-5 in OVC play. The Golden Eagles are currently riding a four-game winning streak, and have won five of their last six games, all in OVC play.

The Golden Eagles and Mountaineers do not share any common opponents this season and OVC teams are 2-2 against the Southern Conference.

Appalachian State is led by Donald Sims, who is averaging 22.6 points per game in conference play. Isaac Butts is averaging 8.0 rebounds per game in SoCon play, and the Mountaineers are out-rebounding their SoCon opponents by 8.8 boards per game.

TTU coach Mike Sutton, an Appalachian State Alumni, is 1-1 in his career against the Mountaineers. Sutton earned his master’s degree from Appalachian State in 1979.

The Mountaineers are coached by Buzz Peterson, who is in the first year of his second stint as the head coach at Appalachian State. Peterson led the Mountaineers to a 79-39 record, three Southern Conference championships and an NCAA Tournament appearance from 1996-2000. Peterson played his collegiate basketball at the University of North Carolina, and helped the Tar Heels to four ACC championships and one national championship from 1981-85.

“Coach Peterson has done an outstanding job and he’s got a very good team,” Sutton said. “This is going to be a challenge and we’re very excited for it.”

Tech's first BracketBuster game was in 2006, when the Golden Eagles lost at Bradley, 77-62. In 2007, Tech defeated Northwestern (La.) State, 85-84, in overtime. In 2008, the Golden Eagles dropped an 88-80 contest at East Tennessee State and last year Tech fell at Ball State 59-55.

All 11 Ohio Valley Conference schools, including reclassifying Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, are participating in the Bracket Buster event. Five schools will host games this season while the six will go on the road.

The 2010 OVC BracketBuster match-ups include: Oral Roberts (13-10) at Austin Peay (13-10), Northern Illinois (8-11) at Eastern Illinois (11-11), Winthrop (11-10) at Eastern Kentucky (15-8), Presbyterian (4-19) at Jacksonville State (10-11), Morehead State (15-7) at Illinois State (15-7), Southeast Missouri State (6-15) at Miami (Ohio) (8-13), SIU Edwardsville (3-18) at Cal State Fullerton (10-10), Tennessee State (4-19) at Central Michigan (10-9), Tennessee Tech (12-10) at Appalachian State (12-9), UT Martin (3-17) at Ball State (11-9) and Morgan State (15-7) at Murray State (20-3).