Davis Announces Hoops ScheduleJuly 21, 2003 · MT Media Relations
Head Coach Kermit Davis liked the way his schedule prepared his team for the Sun Belt last season, so this year he decided to schedule yet another tough slate for his Blue Raider squad.
"For the second straight year our schedule is very demanding," Davis said. "This schedule should get us ready to play in the Sun Belt from a physical and mental standpoint. I also think this schedule will put us in some great environments that will give our team a good idea of what high-level basketball is all about."
Davis' young team will open the season at home on Nov. 24 against Covenant College before playing its first road game at Wyoming, a team that has posted 20 or more wins and advanced to postseason action in three straight years.
After a home game against Alabama State on Dec. 4, the Blue Raiders will head to Cookeville to take on former OVC foe Tennessee Tech on Dec. 6.
Perhaps the toughest stretch for the Blue Raiders in the non-conference portion of the schedule begins on Dec. 15 with a game at UAB. The Blue Raiders then head to Montgomery, Ala., for a return game against Alabama State on Dec. 17 before traveling to Cincinnati to take on the powerhouse Bearcats on Dec. 20.
Middle Tennessee takes on another former OVC rival when Austin Peay visits the Murphy Center on Dec. 23. After the holiday break, the team returns to action Dec. 29-30 at a tournament hosted by UT-Chattanooga that features the Mocs along with LaSalle and South Carolina State.
The non-league schedule concludes with home games against IPFW on Jan. 6 and Wyoming on Jan. 8.
Middle Tennessee's quest for the Sun Belt title begins at home with Arkansas State calling on Jan. 15 and UALR in town on Jan. 17.
The team's first road test in the league comes the following weekend when the squad travels to South Alabama on Jan. 22 and to New Orleans on Jan. 24.
West Division contenders New Mexico State and UL-Lafayette will visit the Murphy Center on Jan. 29 and Jan. 31, respectively.
Other league highlights include a trip to Western Kentucky on Feb. 5, beginning a stretch of three straight road games concluding with a trip to Florida International on Feb. 7 and North Texas on Feb. 12.
The Blue Raiders will end the season at home for the first time since joining the Sun Belt. WKU plays in Murphy Center on Feb. 26 and FIU ends the regular season on March 1.
The Sun Belt Tournament is scheduled for March 6-9 in Bowling Green, Ky. However, this year's tournament will feature a new format. For the first time since MT joined the Sun Belt, only the league's top eight teams will be invited to the league tournament, with the winner capturing the SBC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
FIRST TIMERS: Middle Tennessee will face two first-time opponents in the 2003-04 season. Covenant College and Wyoming appear on the Blue Raider docket for the first time ever this year. One other first-time possibility is on the schedule. If MT plays LaSalle in the UTC Tournament, it will mark the first-ever meeting between the schools.
IT'S BEEN AWHILE: A few opponents on the Blue Raider schedule haven't played the Blue Raiders in quite awhile. Middle Tennessee last played Alabama State and Tennessee Wesleyan during the 1988-89 campaign. South Carolina State, a possible opponent at the UTC Tournament, hasn't been on the Blue Raider schedule since 1990-91 and Cincinnati hasn't been on the slate since 1991-92. UAB last took on the Blue Raiders during the 1998-99 season, but that meeting took place in Puerto Rico. The team's haven't met in a regularly scheduled game since 1986-87.
SPEAKING OF CINCINNATI: A face that is familiar to Blue Raider fans prowls the Cincinnati sidelines. Coach Bob Huggins coached at Akron for five seasons when the Zips were members of the OVC. Since leaving Akron, Huggins has played the Blue Raiders only once. That meeting took place on Jan. 6, 1992, with the Bearcats prevailing 79-70.
LATE START: The Blue Raiders open conference play on Jan. 15 against Arkansas State, equaling the latest known start for a league slate in school history. The Blue Raiders also began conference play on Jan. 15, 1972, against then-OVC opponent East Tennessee State.
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