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Liberty To Face Niagara In O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters
The Liberty University men's basketball team will play the Niagara University Purple Eagles of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) as part of the 37 non-televised intra-conference home-and-home series created from the original pool of 102 O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters teams, on Feb. 17, school officials announced. Game time is set for 4 p.m. EST.
This will be the first meeting ever between Niagara and Liberty. Two years ago the Purple Eagles were in the NCAA Tournament. The Flames are 2-4 all-time against the current members of the MAAC, with their most recent victory coming during the 2005-06 season when Liberty won at Marist, 69-67.
"As a program we are honored to have an opportunity to participate in the O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters field," commented head coach Randy Dunton. "It presents quality competition with a tournament game atmosphere. This is valuable experience for our players and can be used effectively for post-season preparation. We have a lot of respect for Coach Mihalich and what he has achieved with in his program at Niagara."
Coastal Carolina and Winthrop are the only other Big South Conference members participating in the O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBuster this season. Coastal Carolina will host MAAC member Canisius on Feb. 17 while Winthrop was selected Monday night to play at Missouri State in one of the 14 televised games, on Feb. 16.
The O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters concept provides participating programs with an opportunity to play top non-conference opponents approximately three weeks prior to Selection Sunday. Each conference selected its participating teams months prior to the beginning of the season and the match-ups for the event were determined by ESPNU in conjunction with the conferences.
Winthrop, Coastal Carolina and Liberty will also benefit from another important component of their participation – future scheduling. Each team which participates any given year agrees to enter into a home-and-home series with its opponent. The return game of each series is made the following November or December; this return game allows for the completion of the two-game series contract and is not part of the event in the second year.