Men's basketball announces 2012-13 slate
Blue Raiders face Vanderbilt at Bridgestone Dec. 21July 1, 2012 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - On the heels of a record-setting season for Middle Tennessee men’s basketball, the Blue Raiders will face another challenging slate in 2012-13 as head coach Kermit Davis and director of athletics Chris Massaro announced the upcoming schedule on Sunday.
“I’d have to put this schedule up as one of the toughest in all of college basketball this year,” Davis (@mtcoachdavis) said. “Eight of the 11 non-conference opponents went to the postseason last year. We have three SEC teams and two Conference USA teams. We’re always trying to do what the selection committee would like you to do in your non-conference schedule and then have an appealing home schedule for our fans. I think we’ve definitely done both.”
MT (@MT_MBB) will face a total of 10 opponents who participated in postseason play, highlighted by a trio of Southeastern Conference foes. In a rematch of last year’s battle at Memorial Gym, the Blue Raiders will serve as the home team against 2012 SEC tournament champion Vanderbilt at Bridgestone Arena on Dec 21. Prior to that on Dec. 8, MT will host Ole Miss, one of four teams on the Blue Raiders’ schedule that participated in the 2012 NIT. The Florida Gators, a 2012 Elite Eight participant, round out MT’s SEC opponents, as the two teams will meet in Tampa, Fla., on Nov. 18.
“We have 11 players returning from a championship team that has already made a tremendous amount of improvement since season’s end,” Davis said. “It will be a very challenging schedule that presents us with some excellent opportunities this season.”
The 2012-13 campaign opens with an exhibition against Auburn-Montgomery on Nov. 5 in Murphy Center. The regular season tips off Nov. 9, as the Blue Raiders host Alabama State.
MT then hits the road for a three-game stretch, beginning Nov. 13 at Savannah State, the 2012 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular-season champion. After a bout against the Gators, the Blue Raiders will travel to Orlando, Fla., for a contest at another 2012 NIT participant, UCF, on Nov. 20.
Sandwiched in the middle of five road games, MT will return home on Nov. 24 to host Texas Southern. It will mark an exciting day of sports in Murfreesboro, as the football team will also be hosting Troy as part of a Blue Raider doubleheader.
Sun Belt play opens for MT on Nov. 29 when the Blue Raiders head to Louisiana before resuming non-conference action in a return game at Akron on Dec. 2.
MT will remain in the mid-state for the next six games, an exciting stretch for Blue Raider fans featuring four teams that played in the postseason last year. With the sixth largest attendance increase in college basketball last season, the Blue Raiders will count on a raucous crowd as they it open the stint at home against UAB on Dec. 5 before the Rebels come to town for a return game from last year’s MT victory. After squaring off twice last season in two of MT’s most thrilling games, the Blue Raiders and Belmont Bruins will meet at the Curb Event Center on Dec. 13, followed by a rematch against Tennessee State in Murphy Center on Dec. 19. MT hosts the Commodores at Bridgestone in the non-conference finale.
“I love that the Vandy game is on a Friday night before Christmas break,” Davis said. “Last year’s game was one of the best college games I’ve been a part of and the atmosphere was outstanding. With the contingent of Blue Raider faithful that supported us at Memorial Gym last year, we expect fans will come out in great numbers once again, so we anticipate the same kind of excitement for this year’s contest at Bridgestone.”
The mid-state stretch comes to a close as conference play gets into full swing, with the Blue Raiders hosting FIU on Dec. 29.
With Denver exiting the Sun Belt and 11 men’s basketball programs remaining, MT will play a home and away contest with each league foe to account for 20 conference contests. Following the FIU game, the Blue Raiders will play the next pair on the road, going to Arkansas State Jan. 3 and to South Alabama Jan. 5.
“There are a number of really good players coming back in the league,” Davis said. “I think the coaches are excited for the 20-game schedule because it gives fans a chance to see every team in their home arena. I also believe it’s a very realistic goal to send multiple Sun Belt teams to the NCAA tournament this year.”
MT returns home for five of the next seven contests, starting with North Texas on Jan. 8 and Florida Atlantic on Jan. 10. After traveling to ULM for a Jan. 12 contest, the Blue Raiders head back to Murphy Center for games against last year’s West Division champion UALR (Jan. 17) and Louisiana (Jan. 19). Following a quick trip to North Texas on Jan. 24, MT will host WKU on Jan. 26.
The Blue Raiders then hit the road for the Florida swing, hitting FIU on Jan. 31 and Florida Atlantic on Feb. 2, before playing four of the next five at home. Arkansas State visits Murfreesboro on Feb. 7 and Troy comes to town on Feb. 9. MT will make the trek to Little Rock, Ark., to take on UALR Feb. 16, then wraps up the home portion of the schedule with a pair of contests – South Alabama on Feb. 21 and ULM on Feb. 23.
The regular season concludes with two road games, as the Blue Raiders will travel to Troy Feb. 28 with the finale at WKU on March 2.
The 2013 Sun Belt Championships will be held March 8-11 at Summitt Arena in Hot Springs, Ark. The title game is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT and will air on ESPN2.
Season tickets for the 2012-13 basketball are available by calling the Blue Raider Athletic Ticket Office at 1-888-YES-MTSU. MT’s game against Vanderbilt at Bridgestone Arena will be included in the season ticket package.
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