An opponent has been named.

Utah State will host Illinois State this season in its ESPNU BracketBusters game. The Aggie men’s basketball team will take on the Redbirds from the Missouri Valley Conference in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Feb. 23, at 7 p.m.

This contest was not one of the 13 chosen to be broadcast on one of the ESPN channels.

The Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters field was announced late Monday afternoon. There were 122 teams participating this year, including six from the Western Athletic Conference. Denver was the lone WAC school to get a television slot as the Pioneers will travel to Northern Iowa.

Other WAC schools and their matchups include: UC Irvine at UT Arlington, Nicholls State at UTSA, Idaho at Idaho State and Texas State at Lamar.

Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Seattle chose not to be part of the 11th and final BracketBusters. Conference realignment has been cited as one of the reasons BracketBusters has faded.

The marquee game would appear to be No. 16 Creighton at Saint Mary’s.

This will be the second straight year the Aggies (16-5) will not be on one of the ESPN stations. USU is 5-2 in BracketBusters games.

Illinois State (13-10) has won four of its last five games after snapping a six-game losing streak. The Redbirds are 3-5 on the road this season, losing four of their last five away games. They are 4-7 in their tough league.

ISU did play No. 11 Louisville, who was No. 5 at the time, close in a 69-66 road setback. The Redbirds also played Creighton close in a 79-72 home loss.

Four starters returned from a 21-14 ISU team from a year ago. The Redbirds reached their conference tournament championship game, losing in overtime to Creighton. ISU went to the NIT, beating Mississippi in the first round in OT and then losing to Stanford in OT in the second round.

This will be the sixth meeting between USU and ISU. The Redbirds lead the all-time series, 3-2. The last meeting came in a first-round NIT game on March 19, 2008, in Normal, Ill. ISU won that meeting, 61-57. These teams also met in another first-round NIT game in 1995, with the Redbirds also winning that contest, 93-87 in overtime.

The last time the two teams met in Logan was Nov. 29, 2003. USU recorded a 89-84 win.

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sharrison@hjnews.com

Twitter: hjsports

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