Opponent named for ESPN event

Jonas Fortune

ESPN announced Monday evening that the Kent State Men’s basketball team will visit George Mason Feb. 17 as part of its annual Bracketbusters event.

The game pits last year’s storybook-esque GMU squad, who turned its first NCAA tournament win into a historical run that lasted into the Final Four, against a team all too familiar with historic tournament runs: Kent State. The Flashes, who lost in the opening round of last season’s NCAA tournament to Pittsburgh, made it all the way to the Elite Eight in 2002.

This will be the fifth year for the ESPN Bracketbusters. The two-day event pits NCAA tournament hopefuls against one another as an opportunity to gain ranking points by adding another quality opponent to their schedule. The nationally-televised games also delivers more publicity to the mid-major teams.

Last season both teams were victorious in their bracketbuster game. Kent State defeated Butler 80-76 in front of a M.A.C. Center crowd. George Mason handled Wichita State 70-67, a game that helped propel GMU to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament. The Patriots lost to the National Champion Florida Gators.