Golden Eagle Bracket Buster: Tech to play at Ball State Feb. 21

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- The 2009 ESPN BracketBuster pairings have been announced, and the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles will play at Ball State University, a member of the Mid-America Conference. The game will be Saturday, Feb. 21, with the starting time to be announced.

Tech and Ball State have met twice before, both coming in the early 70s under head coach Connie Inman. Tech won both meetings, earning a 75-73 win early in the 1971-72 season, and following up with a 73-68 victory early in the 1972-73 season.

Ball State is currently 10-9 overall, with a 5-2 record in the MAC after claiming a 51-44 victory over Ohio on Saturday night. The Cardinals have played three Ohio Valley Conference opponents this season, and have forged a 2-1 record in those contests.

Ball State opened the year with a 72-59 victory over Eastern Illinois (Nov, 15), and then claimed a 67-55 triumph over SIU-Edwardsville (Nov. 22). Eastern Kentucky went into Muncie, Ind., on Dec. 13 and downed Ball State, 71-58.

Anthony Newell, a 6-5 senior forward from Chicago, leads Ball State in scoring and rebounds, averaging 15.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Jarrod Jones, a 6-9 freshman from Michigan City, Ind., is also averaging in double figures in scoring, knocking down 11.3 points per game while grabbing 7.3 boards per contest.

The Cardinals are a strong defensive squad, scoring 58.2 points per game while allowing just 59.3 points per game.

Billy Taylor, a two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year during his six seasons as head coach at Lehigh, is in his second season as head coach of the Ball State men’s basketball team.

The Golden Eagles are currently 11-10 overall and 5-6 within the Ohio Valley Conference.

Tech's first Bracket Buster game was in 2006, when the Golden Eagles lost at Bradley, 77-62. In 2007, Tech defeated Northwestern (La.) State, 85-84, in overtime. Last season, the Golden Eagles dropped an 88-80 contest at East Tennessee State.

For the fourth straight year, all 10 Ohio Valley Conference schools are participating in the Bracket Buster event. Five schools will host games this season while the other five will go on the road.

In addition to Tech's game at Ball State, the 2009 matchups include: Austin Peay (12-9) at Drake (14-9), Eastern Illinois (10-11) at Western Michigan (7-13), Ohio (10-10) at Eastern Kentucky (13-9), Jacksonville State (9-11) at Georgia Southern (7-12), Morehead State (13-10) at Kent State (10-11), Louisiana Tech (8-14) at Murray State (10-9), Northern Illinois (6-13) at Southeast Missouri (3-20), Detroit (6-15) at Tennessee State (6-15), and Missouri State (9-13) at UT Martin (14-6).