Chanticleers are 16-5 overall this season
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech will be going coastal for its Sears BracketBusters contest – to Coastal Carolina, that is. The game will be played on the weekend of Feb. 17-19.
The pairings for the annual event, which pits potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls against one another, were announced via live ESPNU broadcast on Monday night. The Golden Eagles learned they will be traveling to Conway, S.C., to take on Big South Conference member Coastal Carolina.
The Chanticleers are currently second in the Big South with a 16-5 overall record and a 9-2 conference mark. The Golden Eagles have an RPI of 178 while Coastal Carolina comes in at 139.
"Coastal Carolina is a very good team and it's going to be a very tough environment for us to play in," TTU head coach Steve Payne said. "It's a good draw and a great test for us to prepare us for tournament play."
Coastal Carolina got off to an 8-1 start to the season in which they defeated LSU in Conway, 71-63, and won at Clemson, 60-59. Since then, CCU has gone 7-4, suffering losses at Florida International, East Carolina and Campbell. The Chanticleers’ only home loss came against College of Charleston on Dec. 22.
CCU ranks in the top 10 in NCAA Division I in two statistical categories – field goal percentage and rebound margin. The Chanticleers are shooting 50 percent from the field and outrebound their opponents by an average of 8.8 boards per contest.
Junior guard Anthony Raffa ranks in the nation’s top 50 in both scoring (18.1 points per game) and steals (2.2 per contest). In addition to Raffa, three other players are averaging in double-figures for Coastal Carolina – senior forward Chris Gradnigo (15.2 ppg), junior guard Kierre Greenwood (10.5 ppg) and junior forward Sam McLaurin (10.1 ppg).
This year marks the 10th edition of the BracketBusters. Tech holds a 2-4 all-time record in the event, with both victories coming at home and all four losses coming on the road.
"The BracketBusters are a great thing," Payne said. "It's especially great for those teams that get a TV game, but it gives everyone a game against quality non-conference opposition toward the end of the season."
Tech’s BracketBuster history
2011 Tech 60, Gardner-Webb 58
2010 Appalachian State 81, Tech 68
2009 Ball State 59, Tech 55
2008 East Tennessee State 88, Tech 80
2007 Tech 85, Northwestern State 84
2006 Bradley 77, Tech 62
Other OVC Sears BracketBusters contests
Youngstown State at Austin Peay
Illinois-Chicago at Eastern Illinois
IPFW at Eastern Kentucky
Presbyterian at Jacksonville State
Morehead State at Bowling Green
Saint Mary's at Murray State, 5 p.m. (ESPN or ESPN2)
Southeast Missouri at McNeese State
Northern Illinois at SIU Edwardsville
Tennessee State at Miami (OH)
UT Martin at Southeastern Louisiana