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Golden Eagles draw Coastal Carolina in Sears BracketBusters

Chanticleers are 16-5 overall this season

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech will be going coastal for its Sears BracketBusters contest – to Coastal Carolina, that is. The game will be played on the weekend of Feb. 17-19.

The pairings for the annual event, which pits potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls against one another, were announced via live ESPNU broadcast on Monday night. The Golden Eagles learned they will be traveling to Conway, S.C., to take on Big South Conference member Coastal Carolina.

The Chanticleers are currently second in the Big South with a 16-5 overall record and a 9-2 conference mark. The Golden Eagles have an RPI of 178 while Coastal Carolina comes in at 139.

"Coastal Carolina is a very good team and it's going to be a very tough environment for us to play in," TTU head coach Steve Payne said. "It's a good draw and a great test for us to prepare us for tournament play."

Coastal Carolina got off to an 8-1 start to the season in which they defeated LSU in Conway, 71-63, and won at Clemson, 60-59. Since then, CCU has gone 7-4, suffering losses at Florida International, East Carolina and Campbell. The Chanticleers’ only home loss came against College of Charleston on Dec. 22.

CCU ranks in the top 10 in NCAA Division I in two statistical categories – field goal percentage and rebound margin. The Chanticleers are shooting 50 percent from the field and outrebound their opponents by an average of 8.8 boards per contest.

Junior guard Anthony Raffa ranks in the nation’s top 50 in both scoring (18.1 points per game) and steals (2.2 per contest). In addition to Raffa, three other players are averaging in double-figures for Coastal Carolina – senior forward Chris Gradnigo (15.2 ppg), junior guard Kierre Greenwood (10.5 ppg) and junior forward Sam McLaurin (10.1 ppg). 

This year marks the 10th edition of the BracketBusters. Tech holds a 2-4 all-time record in the event, with both victories coming at home and all four losses coming on the road.

"The BracketBusters are a great thing," Payne said. "It's especially great for those teams that get a TV game, but it gives everyone a game against quality non-conference opposition toward the end of the season."

 

Tech’s BracketBuster history

2011            Tech 60, Gardner-Webb 58

2010            Appalachian State 81, Tech 68

2009            Ball State 59, Tech 55

2008            East Tennessee State 88, Tech 80

2007            Tech 85, Northwestern State 84

2006            Bradley 77, Tech 62

 

Other OVC Sears BracketBusters contests

Youngstown State at Austin Peay

Illinois-Chicago at Eastern Illinois

IPFW at Eastern Kentucky

Presbyterian at Jacksonville State

Morehead State at Bowling Green

Saint Mary's at Murray State, 5 p.m. (ESPN or ESPN2)

Southeast Missouri at McNeese State

Northern Illinois at SIU Edwardsville

Tennessee State at Miami (OH)

UT Martin at Southeastern Louisiana