Middle Tennessee Set for Sun Belt Conference Tournament

Sun Belt Conference tournament festivities begin Wednesday night with tournament banquet.

November 14, 2007 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Just six days after clinching the East Division Sun Belt Conference title the Blue Raiders will travel to Denver, Colo., to play for a tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

No. 1 seeded Middle Tennessee (29-2, 16-1 SBC) will play the eighth seeded Arkansas State (12-18, 8-10 SBC) in the tournament which is set to begin Thursday.

"We are very excited about this year's Sun Belt Conference tournament. I think we have put together a really nice season this year. We have played some outstanding matches. I think our pre-conference schedule has really helped us down the line here going into this tournament," head coach Matt Peck said.

Middle Tennessee won the last meeting between the two schools 3-1 earlier in the season.

"Arkansas State is a very athletic team, they are a very young team and they played us well at our place. We are not looking past the first round at all. We know they are going to be ready for us. I think if the shoe was on the other foot and we were the No. 8 seed I would leave everything on the court playing the No. 1 seed to see if we could get into the NCAA tournament."

The Blue Raiders have won the four tournaments they played in this season coming into the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

"I think one of the things going into the tournament is we are 4-0 in tournaments this year. We have won all the tournaments we have played in this year and I think all of the girls have that in the back of their mind. I would be really disappointed if we weren't playing in the finals. I think everyone is playing well now," Peck said.

The Blue Raiders will play the first game of the tournament at 1 p.m. on Thursday in Hamilton Gym on the campus of Denver University.

"I think all of those things considered we are in good shape. We don't have any injuries. We have been practicing and playing well. I just expect that we will come here and play some really good matches," Peck said. "The competition this weekend is very good too. In addition to Arkansas State, if we win that match I think our potential second round opponent FIU and Arkansas-Little Rock are both very good teams. FIU played us well at home this year and both have a lot of athletes, well-skilled players. We are not looking past our match tomorrow with Arkansas State. It is going to be one at a time."

Middle Tennessee enters the tournament on an eight-match win streak which began on Oct. 19 with a 3-0 win over Louisiana-Monroe.

"I think we have a very good team this year and I really like our chances of getting to the finals. I think our goal again this year is to get to the NCAA tournament and advance and may be surpass what we did last year," Peck said.

Live broadcasts of Middle Tennessee's matches at the Sun Belt Conference tournament will be available on www.goblueraiders.com. Live streaming of the tournament will also be available through the Sun Belt Conference website, www.sunbeltsports.org.

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