COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – For the eighth and final time, the Tennessee Tech men’s basketball team has been matched up for its annual ESPN BracketBuster game, sponsored this season by Ramada Worldwide. The Golden Eagles will take on the Kangaroos of Missouri-Kansas City on Saturday, Feb. 23. Tipoff in Eblen Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST.
Tech will meet an opponent that the team has some familiarity with, having played UMKC four times in the past. The most recent contest between the two programs came back in 1990-91, with the Golden Eagles earning a home victory, 87-74.
Missouri-Kansas City sits at 6-18 this season, including a 3-8 worksheet in conference play in the Summit League. The Kangaroos boast two players who average double digits in scoring in Estan Tyler and Thomas Staton.
A sophomore guard from St. Paul, Minn., Tyler leads UMKC in scoring with 11.4 points per contest. He also leads the team with 3.1 assists each time out. His 80 percent free throw shooting is tops on the Kangaroo squad. Hailing from Southfield, Mich., Staton is a senior swingman that puts up 10.4 points per game. Both players pose a threat from behind the 3-point arc, each hitting 46 percent from downtown.
|2005-06||Bradley||@ Peoria, Ill.
|2006-07||Northwestern State||Cookeville, Tenn.
|2007-08||East Tennessee State||@ Johnson City, Tenn.
|2008-09||Ball State||@ Muncie, Ind.
|2009-10||Appalachian State||@ Boone, N.C.||L||81-68|
|2011-12||Coastal Carolina||@ Conway, S.C.||W||77-71|
|1988-89||@ Kansas City, Mo.
|1990-91||@ Kansas City, Mo.
This year's BracketBuster game is only the third home game in the series for the Golden Eagles, who have gone on the road five times for this event.
The Golden Eagles have played eight games against current Summit League opponents, earning a 4-4 record against the likes of UMKC, North Dakota State, Oakland (Mich.), and Western Illinois.
With ESPN announcing the end of BracketBuster games following this season (the 11th of the series), the Golden Eagles will have a chance to end the series with a .500 record in BracketBuster games. Tech currently sits 3-4 all-time in the contests, winning its two most recent match-ups against Gardner-Webb and Coastal Carolina. TTU has also won its only two home contests in the BracketBuster series, defeating Northwestern State in 206-07 and Gardner-Webb in 2010-11.
Here's a look at all of the OVC match-ups:
Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters Schedule For OVC Teams
South Dakota State at Murray State (ESPN2)
Ohio at Belmont (ESPN2)
Eastern Kentucky at Valparaiso (ESPNU)
Austin Peay at Liberty
Eastern Illinois at Northern Illinois
Jacksonville State at UNC Asheville
Morehead State at Oakland
Ball State at Southeast Missouri
SIUE at Central Arkansas
Loyola (Md.) at Tennessee State
UMKC at Tennessee Tech
Longwood at UT Martin
Four games remain on Tech's schedule before the Ramada Worldwide BracketBuster game, including two at home and two on the road. The Golden Eagles will host the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State Saturday as part of a doubleheader. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. CST.
For tickets to all Tech home games, visit the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or call (931) 372-3940.