Bracket buster time

George Mason and VCU have busted brackets in past years.
Murray State hopes to do it in 2012.
It’s the weekend of the annual BracketBusters, where teams from mid-major conferences battle against each other to get ready for March Madness.
VCU hosts Northern Iowa Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, then Saturday play opens at noon with Wichita at Davidson on ESPN2. Akron visits Oral Roberts at 2 p.m. and it’s Nevada-Iona at 4 p.m. The night concludes at 10 p.m. when Long Beach State goes to Creighton.
St. Mary’s plays one-loss Murray State on ESPN at 6 p.m.
Among the big boys, the ACC network has two games Thursday at 9 p.m. – Duke vs. N.C. State or Boston College at Maryland. Saturday at 1 p.m., Virginia hosts Maryland while Florida State travels to N.C. State.
CBS has either UCLA-St. John’s or UNLV-New Mexico Saturday at 1 p.m. Sunday, Michigan State takes on Purdue.
Thursday on ESPN, there’s a top 20 battle in the Big Ten as Wisconsin meets Michigan State. West Virginia and Pittsburgh have their Backyard Brawl at 9 p.m.
Saturday starts in the Big East with Marquette-Connecticut at noon. Missouri faces Texas A&M at 2 p.m. before Clemson heads to North Carolina. The GameDay crew will be at Michigan for the game with Ohio State at 9 p.m.
Rutgers meets Syracuse Sunday at 1 p.m.
Virginia Tech takes on Florida State Thursday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, followed by Vanderbilt-Mississippi and Gonzaga meeting Santa Clara. Taking a break from BracketBusters, ESPN2 shows Arkansas hosting Florida Saturday at 6 p.m.
Sunday, Big East gets coverage on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. as South Florida visits Pittsburgh.
Comcast has a Pac-12 twinbill Thursday – Arizona vs. Washington State at 9 p.m. before Arizona State faces Washington. The ACC takes the stage Saturday, as Wake Forest goes to Miami at 1 p.m. before Virginia Tech hosts Georgia Tech. Late night, it’s Arizona against Washington. It’s back to the Pac-12 Sunday at 7:30 p.m. with Oregon battling Stanford.
MASN goes to the Northeast Conference Thursday for Fairleigh-Dickenson’s game with Mt. St. Mary’s at 7 p.m.
There’s three Big East games on MASN Saturday, starting at noon with Louisville at DePaul. Seton Hall visits Cincinnati at 4 p.m. and Providence battles Georgetown at 7 p.m.
On NBC Sports network, San Diego State takes on Air Force Saturday at 4 p.m.
The new year of NASCAR starts Saturday at 8 p.m. on FOX, with the best drivers matching up in the Bud Shootout. Sunday at 1 p.m., qualifying starts for the Daytona 500. The top two will be starting up front when the Great American Race goes next Sunday.
The Celtics visit the Bulls Thursday at 8 p.m. on TNT, followed by Clippers-Blazers. ESPN’s doubleheader Friday starts at 8 p.m. with the Mavericks in Philadephia, then the Suns battle the Lakers. Sunday at 8 p.m., the Nuggets meet the Thunder.
Lin-sanity comes to ABC Sunday when Dallas visits the Knicks at 1 p.m., followed by Orlando vs. Miami.
The Wizards head west this weekend, playing at Utah Friday at 9 p.m. on Comcast-plus.
NBC has its Hockey Day in America Sunday. There’s regional coverage of three games at noon – San Jose vs. Detroit, Penguins at Sabres and St. Louis against Chicago – before Boston visits Minnesota at 3 p.m. NBC Sports Network closes the day with the Devils at Montreal at 6 p.m.
The Capitals visit Florida Friday at 7 p.m. on Comcast and Tampa Bay Saturday at 7 p.m.
CBS carries the Northern Trust Open Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.
Dartmouth faces Yale in college ice hockey Friday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports network.
In Big East women’s basketball, Marquette faces Syracuse at 2 p.m. Saturday on MASN. ESPN2 has a pair of games Sunday, with Maryland against Duke at 3 p.m. and Purdue-Michigan State at 5 p.m., while Comcast shows Florida State-Miami Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
Spring sports loom on college campuses, and NBC Sports network has a lacrosse doubleheader – Denver vs. Ohio State at 2 p.m. before Navy takes on Jacksonville.



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