Albany, N.Y. - University at Albany Vice President and Director of Athletics Lee McElroy announced on Wednesday, Sept. 28 that the men's basketball has been invited to play in the 10th annual Sears BracketBusters. The Great Danes, who are participating for the fourth time since 2006, are among 142 teams from 16 conferences selected to the pool. UAlbany is scheduled to have a home game at SEFCU Arena on the weekend of February 17-19, 2012.
     Sears BracketBusters will feature 13 nationally televised games - on either ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3. For the seventh straight year, ESPNU will feature five Sears BracketBusters games, while ESPN or ESPN2 will televise up to six and ESPN3 will carry two. The 13 Sears BracketBusters matchups will be announced Monday, Jan. 30 with dates, times and networks. The television matchups are selected by ESPN, while a Committee of Conference Commissioners determines the additional non-televised games.
     "BracketBusters has been a good event for our program and the University," said UAlbany coach Will Brown, whose team has been involved in a pair of thrilling finishes against Virginia Commonwealth and Boise State in previous years. "The game has provided great exposure due to ESPN's commitment. The series allows us to showcase college basketball in the Capital Region and provides for our students, alumni and fans to be involved in an exciting event."
     Sears BracketBusters, named because of the success of the teams in NCAA Championship play, will provide the 26 televised teams an opportunity to play other top non-conference opponents three weeks before Selection Sunday. The 116 teams not selected for Sears BracketBusters will compete against each other through the same three days.
     The 142-team field will feature teams from 16 conferences: 12 each from Colonial Athletic Association, Mid-American Conference and Southland; 11 each from Ohio Valley Conference and Big South; 10 each from Horizon League, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Missouri Valley and Summit League; nine each from America East, Big Sky and Big West; eight from the Western Athletic Association; four from the Southern Conference; three from the MEAC; and two from the West Coast Conference.
     As part of the agreement, all 13 of the Sears BracketBusters home teams in televised games, as well as the remaining 58 home squads, will play a return game at the home facility of their opponent in November or December of the 2013-14 season.
     In 2010-11, UAlbany (16-16) finished the season with its highest win total in four years. The Great Danes' nine-win improvement was the second-best in the program's 97 seasons. UAlbany returns four starters from last year's squad. Logan Aronhalt and Mike Black, a pair of All-America East Conference guards, each ranked among the conference's scoring leaders at 14.6 and 12.3 points per game, respectively.