ESPN to end BracketBusters event after this season

US PRESSWIRE

College hoops' made-for-ESPN event to end after this season.

College basketball's "evolving" landscape has forced ESPN to end its made-for-TV event, BracketBusters Weekend, a network spokesperson announced Tuesday in a press release.

The news, which was first reported by ESPN's college basketball insider Andy Katz, means mid-major programs will no longer be forced to play non-conference games near the tail end of their regular season.

However, it also means these programs will not get the national exposure the event creates or be able to kick-start a miracle NCAA Tournament run like the George Mason Patriots did in 2006.

The end of BracketBusters Weekend resulted from the Colonial Athletic Association no longer participating in the event, as it now has a TV deal with the NBC Sports Network. Other conference realignment scenarios also factored into the cancellation of BracketBusters Weekend.

For 11 seasons, ESPN has paired mid-major teams together to play a non-conference game that could improve or smash a program's NCAA Tournament dreams.

According to ESPN, there are 122 teams from 13 conferences participating in this year's event, which will be held Feb. 22-23.

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