Cougars Take on Vermont in ESPN Bracketbuster

The College of Charleston men’s basketball team will face Vermont in an ESPN BracketBusters game to be televised live nationally on Saturday, Feb. 19, from Carolina First Arena at 5 p.m. (ET) on ESPNU.

It will mark a first-ever meeting between the Cougars (15-7, 8-2) and Catamounts (16-5, 7-2), who earned an automatic berth into the 2010 NCAA Tournament field as the American East Conference Tournament champion.

CofC is 3-1 all-time in BracketBuster games and has won its last three-straight appearances in the event. Last season, the Cougars defeated George Mason, 85-83, before a nationally-televised audience on ESPN2 on Feb. 20, 2010, in Fairfax, Va. CofC’s two other BracketBusters wins came against VCU in 2005 and Georgia State in 2006.

“You never know who you are going to play,” CofC head coach Bobby Cremins said. “If you are ever a team who is on the bubble (for an NCAA Tournament bid) a BracketBusters game can really make a difference. For us, I think it’s a great opportunity to play Vermont at home and on national television. I didn’t know what BracketBusters was when I first came back to coaching (four years ago), but we really had a great experience at George Mason last year.”

The Cougars are currently 15-7 on the season and have won six of their last eight games including an 8-2 mark in Southern Conference play. They are rated No. 95 in this week’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball RPI report released on Jan. 31 with a 7-1 home record (.875) at Carolina First Arena.

CofC is led by the nation’s fifth-leading scorer in senior All-America candidate Andrew Goudelock (Stone Mountain, Ga.), who is averaging 23.5 points per game, and senior big man and defending SoCon Co-Defensive Player of the Year Jeremy Simmons (Lithonia, Ga.), who ranks sixth nationally in field-goal percentage with a 61.5 percent accuracy from the floor this season.

“Bobby Cremins has coached some great guard teams and has another good one right now in Charleston. (Andrew) Goudelock has range. College of Charleston won at Tennessee and really should have won at Maryland earlier in the season and lost on a last-second shot by Pe’Shon Howard,” said ESPN College Basketball analyst Andy Katz on the ESPNU BracketBusters Selection Show on Monday night.

Vermont is paced by preseason America East First Team selection Evan Fjeld, a 6-foot-8 senior forward, who is averaging a team-leading 16.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in 21 starts for the Catamounts.

This year’s BracketBusters field was the largest pool in the nine-year history of the event which annually pits potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls against each other over the course of three days. BracketBusters, named because of the success of the teams in NCAA Tournament play, will provide the 22 televised teams an opportunity to play other top non-conference opponents three weeks before Selection Sunday.

As part of the agreement, all 11 of the BracketBusters home teams in televised games, as well as the remaining 46 home squads, will play a “return” game at the home facility of their opponent in November or December of the 2012-13 season. Teams participating this season in BracketBusters have produced 74 appearances in the last five NCAA Tournaments.

Tickets for the Vermont ESPN BracketBusters game are priced at $20 and can be purchased by calling 1-843-953-COFC (2632) or visiting the CofC Athletics Ticket Center online at www.CofCSports.com/tickets.

COUGARS ALL-TIME IN ESPN BRACKETBUSTERS (3-1)
2004 – College of Charleston at Western Michigan, L, 78-83, on 2/21/04
2005 – VCU at College of Charleston, W, 85-75, on 2/19/05
2006 – Georgia State at College of Charleston, W, 83-75, on 2/18/06
2010 – College of Charleston at George Mason, W, 85-83, on 2/20/10 (ESPN2)
2011 – Vermont at College of Charleston on 2/19/11 (ESPNU)