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Ohio To Play At Belmont In ESPN BracketBusters Game

Senior Walter Offutt led the Bobcats with 19 points in last season's BracketBuster game vs. UNC-Asheville.

Feb. 4, 2013

ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University men's basketball team (15-6, 6-1 MAC) will travel to Nashville, Tenn., to take on the Ohio Valley Conference-leading Belmont Bruins (19-4, 10-0 OVC) on Feb. 23 as part of the ESPN BracketBusters event.

The game will air live on ESPN2, with tip-off scheduled for 10 p.m. (ET) at the Curb Event Center.

It will mark the first ever men's basketball meeting between the schools.

The Bobcats are 6-3 all-time in BracketBusters contests and have won their last three contests, including consecutive wins over UNC-Asheville (2012), Winthrop (2011) and Wright State (2010). Ohio is 2-3 in road BracketBusters contests, with victories over Winthrop (2011) and Detroit (2005).

Ohio has won seven of its last eight games and sits at 15-6 (6-1 MAC) on the year. The Bobcats lead the nation in assists (18.0 apg) and are first in the MAC in field goal percentage (.484), 3-point field goal percentage (.370), assists, turnover margin (+4.6) and assist/turnover ratio (1.4).

The Bruins are in the midst of their inaugural season in the Ohio Valley Conference . Belmont previously competed in the Atlantic Sun Conference, where the Bruins advanced to the NCAA Tournament in five of the past seven seasons after capturing the conference title.

Belmont is 19-4 this season and 10-0 in the OVC. The Bruins won at Stanford, 70-62, on Nov. 18.

The team is led by 2012 Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Year Ian Clarke, who ranks first on the team with 18.9 points per game and is second in steals (1.7 spg). Trevor Novack is the team's leading rebounder (5.6 rpg) and ranks third on the Bruins with 12.5 points per contest. Guard Kerron Johnson is Belmont's leading assists man (4.7 apg).

Ohio last played in Nashville in last season's NCAA Tournament, where the Bobcats defeated Michigan (65-60) on March 16 and USF (62-56) on March 23 to advance to the NCAA regional semifinals.

Although this is the final year of the ESPN BracketBusters series, as part of the event agreement, teams with 2013 BracketBuster home games will play a return game at the visiting team's facility next season. As a result, Belmont will play Ohio at the Convocation Center in either November or December of the 2013-14 season.

The Bobcats return to action Wednesday (Feb. 6) against Ball State at 7 p.m. in Muncie, Ind. "Voice of the Bobcats" Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will call the game live on the Ohio IMG Sports Network powered by Horizon.