Raiders put win-streak on line at LA Tech
MT battles Bulldogs on the road ThursdayFebruary 26, 2014 ·
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (21-7, 11-2 C-USA) puts its nine-game winning streak on the line Thursday, traveling to LA Tech (22-6, 10-3 C-USA) for a 6:30 p.m. tip-off in Conference USA action.
Date: Thursday, Feb. 27
Tip-Off: 6:30 p.m. CT
Teams: Middle Tennessee at LA Tech
Location: Ruston, La.
Arena: Thomas Assembly Center (8,000)
Television: Web stream
Radio: WGNS (100.5 FM, 101.9 FM, 1450 AM) / WMOT (89.5 FM) / WQZQ (102.1 FM)
Play-by-Play: Chip Walters
Live Audio | Live Stats | Live Video
This will be the 10th meeting between Middle Tennessee and LA Tech. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 7-2, including a 5-0 mark in Ruston, La. LA Tech has won the last two matchups against the Raiders with the last one coming via a 68-53 decision Feb. 15, 2001.
SCOUTING LA TECH
The Bulldogs are 22-6 overall and are currently in a four-way tie for second in the Conference USA standings with a 10-3 record in league play. LA Tech holds a 12-1 mark at home this season, while MT is 7-4 on the road. The Bulldogs had a three-game winning streak snapped Feb. 20, falling on the road at East Carolina 75-68. LA Tech rebounded with a 71-66 victory at Old Dominion Feb. 22.
In the team's last outing against the Monarchs, LA Tech had four players post double-figures as Alex Hamilton led the way offensively with 20 points, while Chris Anderson was a close second with 19 points. Kenyon McNeail recorded 14 points, while Jaron Johnson added 10 points. Kenneth Smith handed out a game-high eight assists, while four Bulldogs pulled down a team-best six rebounds (Michale Kyser, Anderson, Hamilton and Smith).
On the season, four LA Tech players are averaging double-figures in scoring as Raheem Appleby paces the team with 16.1 points per game. Appleby has been out with an injury since Jan. 9, but has returned to practice and could possibly suit up against the Blue Raiders. Hamilton is next on the squad, putting up 14.9 points a contest. Anderson and McNeail round out the double-figure averages, recording 11.9 and 10.7 points an outing, respectively. Kyser leads the Bulldogs on the boards, snagging 6.5 rebounds per game, while Anderson is second with 5.9 boards a contest.
BLUE RAIDER BULLETS
• The Blue Raiders extended their winning streak to nine games with a 71-49 win at Charlotte Feb. 20 and a 56-53 win at Marshall Feb. 22.
• With the 22-point victory at Charlotte, MT recorded its 20th win of the season, marking the Raiders' third-straight 20-win season. The last time MT recorded three-straight 20-win seasons was 1986-89 (1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89).
• With a pair of conference road wins last week and Southern Miss defeating UTEP Saturday, the Blue Raiders take sole possession of the top spot in the Conference USA standings with an 11-2 record in league play.
• Conference USA men's basketball is currently in one of the closest league races in all of Division-I. The Big South and C-USA are the only D-I leagues with five teams within one game of each other in the conference standings. This is the closest C-USA regular-season race in 10 years. In 2003-04, five teams tied for first for the C-USA regular season title.
• After last week's wins, seven Blue Raider seniors become the winningest class in program history with 92 wins over the last four years. Last year's seniors posted a 90-43 record over their four years.
• For the first time all season, Middle Tennessee is among those receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches' Poll released Feb. 24.
• Within the last week, the Raiders jumped eight spots in the NCAA RPI to 66. Three other C-USA teams rank in the top 100: Southern Miss (35), LA Tech (82) and UTEP (91).
• MT is projected as a 12-seed in the latest USA Today NCAA tournament Bracketology released Feb. 24. The Raiders are still a 14-seed in ESPN Bracketology by Joe Lunardi as of Feb. 24.
• Over the last three years, MT has a mark of 19-2 in the month of February and has won 14-straight, dating back to the 2011-12 season.
• Middle Tennessee ranks second in the country with a 44-5 record in conference games over the last three seasons, just behind Davidson (46-4). The Blue Raiders are 20-4 over the last three seasons in conference road games.
• Five of MT's nonconference opponents from this season are currently leading or tied for first-place in their respective conferences - No. 11/12 Cincinnati (American), No. 1/1 Florida (SEC), Murray State and Belmont (OVC) and Southern (SWAC).
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
More Men's Basketball NewsMar 10, 2014: Jones named C-USA First Team
Mar 7, 2014: Jones snags final C-USA Player of the Week honor
Mar 6, 2014: MT wins share of regular season C-USA title with win at UAB
Mar 5, 2014: MT seeks regular season title at UAB Thursday
Mar 1, 2014: Raiders down Owls on Blue Pride Saturday, 65-41
Feb 28, 2014: MT hosts Rice for Senior Day and Blue Pride Saturday