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Auburn Basketball To Play West Virginia In Big East/SEC Invitational In Birmingham

April 5, 2007

AUBURN----Auburn basketball will play West Virginia in the Big East/SEC Invitational in the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center on Dec. 5, 2007, as part of a doubleheader with Alabama vs. Georgetown, ESPN Regional Television announced in conjunction with the Southeastern Conference and Big East Conference Thursday.

The Auburn-West Virginia game will be televised on ESPN2 at 6 pm Central while Alabama-Georgetown is on ESPN at 8:30 pm. The annual two-night men's college basketball event features four games from two off-campus sites to be televised live on both networks. Four different teams from each conference will be selected to participate for the next four years.

The following night on Dec. 6, South Carolina will play Providence at 6 pm on ESPN2 and LSU faces Villanova at 8:30 pm on ESPN at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

"This is great for college basketball and for the SEC, Big East and ESPN to agree to this format," said Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo. "It is outstanding for both leagues, and it is important to have high- level basketball exposure in December.

"West Virginia won the NIT, and they have everyone back except for Frank Young. For the last five years, they have been one of the better teams in the Big East. It will be a tough game for us, but it's also good for our kids. It's nice that we are playing in Birmingham, and it will be great for our Auburn fans to see us play there."

West Virginia went 27-9 (9-7 Big East) this past season and defeated North Carolina State, Mississippi State and Clemson en route to the NIT Championship and also defeated No. 2 UCLA 70-65 on Feb. 10. The Mountaineers only lose leading scorer Frank Young, who averaged a team-leading 15.3 points per game, but return four other double-digit scorers in Darris Nichols (10.9 ppg), Alex Ruoff (10.3), Joe Alexander (10.3) and Da'Sean Butler (10.1).

Auburn is 15-11 all-time against the Big East Conference and has lost to Pittsburgh the last two seasons.

The SEC and the Big East have combined to produce four of the last five NCAA Men's Basketball Champions in Florida (2006, 2007), UConn (2004) and Syracuse (2003) and seven of the last 12 national champions with UConn (1999) and Kentucky (1996, 1998).

The conferences combined to have 11 teams in this year's NCAA Tournament while the Big East set an NCAA record with eight teams going to the 2006 NCAA Tournament.

Ticket information and pricing will be available through the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center and the Wachovia Center in early July. The BJCC is a 2008 NCAA Tournament first and second round site.



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