BracketBuster matchups set, Gauchos travel to Utah State

The UCSB men’s basketball team will travel to Utah State on Saturday, Feb. 18 for a Sears BracketBuster game, it was announced Monday.  The game will not be televised.

All Big West teams are participating in the BracketBusters event. Long Beach State will travel to No. 12 Creighton in a televised matchup on ESPN2/ESPN3, headlining the league’s participation.

Non-televised home games for the Big West include Montana State at Cal State Fullerton, Fresno State at Cal State Northridge, Eastern Washington at UC Irvine, Southern Utah at UC Riverside and Idaho State at Pacific. Road matchups include Cal Poly at Northern Colorado and UC Davis at Northern Arizona.

The Aggies and Gauchos have a history as Big West Conference rivals and have met 61 times.  Utah State has won 39 of the match-ups between the teams.

“It will be great to renew our rivalry with Utah State,” said UCSB head coach Bob Williams.  “It’s always a tough trip because they are well-coached and have a great crowd, but we have a relationship with people there so this is a good draw.”

This will be the second time that the Gauchos have played the Aggies in a BracketBuster match-up.  The two teams also met in Logan in 2008 with Utah State winning, 72-59.

Including the 2008 meeting with the Aggies, this year’s game will be UCSB’s eighth as part of the BracketBuster series.  In the inaugural event in 2003, the Gauchos lost to the University of Detroit by a score of 75-59.  They also played BracketBuster games in 2006 (winning at San Jose State, 76-72), 2007 (losing at home to Eastern Washington, 71-70), 2009 (winning at home against Montana State, 78-72 in overtime), 2010 (winning at Fresno State, 64-60) and 2011 (losing at home to Boise State, 78-76 in overtime).

Utah State, which is coached by Stew Morrill, is currently 12-10 on the season.  The Aggies have three players scoring in double-figures, led by guards Preston Medlin and Brockeith Pane who average 15.3 and 12.5 points per game respectively.  Among their wins this season was a Nov. 11 win over BYU, 69-62.