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Men's basketball to conduct Blue-White scrimmage Saturday

Action begins at 10:30 a.m. at Murphy Center

October 19, 2007 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Practices during the first week of Middle Tennessee's preseason men's basketball camp have been intense and aggressive and that figures to be the case when the Blue Raiders conduct their first Blue-White scrimmage Saturday.

The biggest difference Saturday is players will be penalized for overly-aggressive play as Sun Belt Conference officials will call the action. The scrimmage runs from 10:30-to-noon at Murphy Center and is open to the public.

Middle Tennessee head coach Kermit Davis said fans in the area tailgating in anticipation of the Blue Raiders' big league game against Arkansas State are welcome to stop in to see the team.

"It should be an exciting day with the Blue Raiders coming back home after the big win at Memphis and getting back into conference play," Davis said. "If there are fans tailgating who want to stop in and see our team play a little, we would love to have them."

After an encouraging first week of practice Davis is looking for several things when the players hit the court in an organized scrimmage but he believes a big asset early will be, of all things, officiating.

"Having Sun Belt Conference officials calling the game will help a bunch," Davis said. "I think we all need to get use to how games are going to be officiated. In our practices we are playing really hard and real physical. I'm sure our team is fouling just like a lot of teams around college basketball because in practice you are trying to get your guys aggressive.

"I just it's good when you have the opportunity to have your team officiated, even though sometimes you aren't quite ready. Now our older guys are ready and will be able to do better."

Middle Tennessee's veterans have performed well in the opening week of camp but that is not surprising with so many returning players who received valuable minutes last season.

"We are getting a lot accomplished and moving at a pretty fast pace," sophomore guard Darren Avery said. "We are able to do that because of the time we have put in together and the fact we have so many players out here who have played a lot of minutes together."

Middle Tennessee's newcomers have also had their moments with Demetrius Green, Broderick Gilchrest, Josh Sain, and Uriah Hethington all making a good transition.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how the new guys who didn't play last year fit in and respond," Davis said. "I am also looking to see how competitive our guys can be and for how long a period of time they can sustain it. I want to see us be able to keep up defensive intensity and really try to play at a much faster pace.

"You are looking for quality play but will you get that after just seven or eight practices? Maybe for a short time."

EXHIBITION ACTION: Middle Tennessee will face Lincoln Memorial in its only exhibition game of the preseason, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. at Murphy Center.

SEASON TICKETS AVAILABLE: Fans may purchase Middle Tennessee men's basketball tickets by calling the Middle Tennessee Ticket Office at 1-888-YES-MTSU or (615) 898-2103. This year's season ticket package features a record 17 games, including the Dec. 15 contest against Memphis at the Sommet Center in Nashville, as well as the second game of the doubleheader pitting Western Kentucky and Tennessee. The season-ticket package also includes all six games of the First Shot Exempt Tournament (Nov. 15-17). Price for the package is $140. Fans may also purchase the Blue Raider Combo Pack, which includes season tickets for both the men's and women's teams, for $210 per season ticket. The deadline for season ticket renewals is Monday, Oct. 22.

MEDIA DAYS: The Sun Belt Conference Media Days will be held in Mobile, Ala., Monday and Tuesday. South Alabama will serve as the host for the 2008 Sun Belt Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Championships. The preseason coaches poll and preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Teams will be released Monday afternoon. Coach Davis will spend Monday afternoon doing several radio and DVD interviews before attending the league's reception and dinner that evening. Following breakfast Tuesday morning, Commissioner Wright Waters will address the coaches and media, followed by guest speaker Jimmy Dykes, ESPN College Basketball analyst. Coaches will take part in interviews with print media before the two-day event concludes Tuesday afternoon.

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