Blue Raiders braced for Basketball Travelers Tip-Off Tournament

Live video streaming of all tourney games offered for free

December 19, 2008 · Athletic Communications
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Middle Tennessee will join host Missouri State, Norfolk State and UC-Irvine for the Basketball Travelers Tip-Off Tournament at JQH Arena this weekend in Springfield, Mo.

The Blue Raiders will play three games in three days beginning with Saturday's game against UC-Irvine at 5:35 p.m. They face Norfolk State Sunday at 5:35 p.m., followed by the finale against Missouri State Monday at 8:05 p.m.

Each tournament game will be shown live on the internet and offered for free through a special Bears Live! promotion. Middle Tennessee's games can be accessed either on GoBlueRaiders.com or MissouriStateBears.com.

Middle Tennessee has played two of its first nine games on the road but the tournament marks the first time the squad has traveled outside the Mid-state after playing at Vanderbilt and Belmont. The Blue Raiders will be looking to win their second holiday tournament in four years under Head Coach Kermit Davis.

The Blue Raiders will be looking to end a two-game skid with Saturday's game vs. UC-Irvine and Davis says he has seen progress in the team's two practices leading into the tournament.

"The biggest thing is we have to improve," Davis said. "We got a little better in practice Thursday and we had a good workout Friday. We have to get back to the physical and toughness part of what makes us good. We have got away from that the last two games and we have not been a very good team because of that. We need a win and we are doing everything we can to beat UC-Irvine and after that game we will do everything we can for Norfolk State and so on."

Middle Tennessee has spent the last two practices going back to the basics because Davis believes that will make the greatest difference in upcoming games.

"We seem to have lost our identity," Davis said. "We are a good team because of certain fundamental things we have done over the last two or three years and we have to get back to that. I'm very disappointed. We have two or three new guys that are not where we thought they would be and sometimes that is expected with new guys. I am surprised that our leadership has not been better than it has been. I'm accountable for that and we will get it right. Maybe we got away from doing some of the simple fundamental things that I grew to expect four-year guys to do. We are focusing on the basics that we have to get into our team."

Blue Raider junior forward Desmond "Boogie" Yates leads the team in scoring with 17.8 per game and is shooting 57 percent from the field. Guards Demetrius Green (12.3) and Kevin Kanaskie (11.6) also average double figures for Middle Tennessee. Kanaskie needs 23 points to become the 29th member of Middle Tennessee's 1,000 point club.

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