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MT hosts Rice for Senior Day and Blue Pride Saturday

Raiders look to return to winning ways against Owls

February 28, 2014 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's basketball team (21-8, 11-3 C-USA) looks to return to its winning ways Saturday, hosting Rice (7-20, 2-12 C-USA) for Senior Day and Blue Pride Saturday.

In honor of Blue Pride Saturday this week, the Raiders will be sporting their blue jerseys at home against the Owls. Fans can purchase one ticket and attend three athletic events. The MT baseball game starts at 1 p.m., followed by women's basketball at 3 p.m. and men's hoops at 5:30 p.m. The Blue Raiders will recognize seven seniors on Saturday before the 5:30 tip in Zane Gibson, Kerry Hammonds II, Neiko Hunter, Tavarres Jefferson, Shawn Jones, Tweety Knight and Torin Walker.

VIDEO
Men's Basketball vs. Rice
GAME INFORMATION

Date: Saturday, March 1
Tip-Off: 5:30 p.m. CT
Teams: Rice at Middle Tennessee
Location: Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Arena: Murphy Center (11, 520)
Television: Web stream
Radio: WGNS (100.5 FM, 101.9 FM, 1450 AM) / WMOT (89.5 FM) / The Game (102.5 FM, 97.5 FM)
Play-by-Play: Chip Walters
Color Analyst: Kyle Turnham
Live Audio | Live Stats | Live Video

PHOTOS
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THE SERIES

This will be the fourth meeting between Middle Tennessee and Rice. The Blue Raiders lead the all-time series 2-1, including a 1-0 mark at home. Rice claimed the last matchup 67-62 Nov. 23, 2004 in Houston. MT won the only meeting in Murfreesboro 72-65 Dec. 4, 2001.

SCOUTING RICE

The Owls are 7-20 overall and are currently in last place in the Conference USA standings with a 2-12 record in league play. Rice is 2-10 on the road this season, while MT is 13-2 at home this season. The Owls are currently on a five-game losing-streak. They fell at home 61-60 to UAB Feb. 27, after suffering three-straight road losses.

In the team's last outing against the Blazers, Rice had three players post double-figures as Sean Obi led the way offensively with 12 points, while Austin Ramljak and Seth Gearhart added 11 points each. Obi also paced the team on the boards, pulling down seven rebounds, while Keith Washington handed out six assists.

On the season, two Rice players are averaging double-digits as Ramljak and Obi are each putting up 11.7 points per game. Obi leads the teams, pulling down 9.7 rebounds a contest. Max Guercy is next on the team, posting 9.6 points an outing, while Washington averages 7.9 points a game.

BLUE RAIDER BULLETS

• The Blue Raiders look to return to their winning ways Saturday, hosting Rice at 5:30 p.m. for Senior Day. The Owls are 2-10 on the road this season and are currently sitting in last-place in the conference standings with a 2-12 mark in C-USA play.

• With an 81-64 win over Southern Miss Feb. 15, MT moved to 13-2 at home this season. The Raiders are 44-4 inside the Murphy Center over the last three seasons and 24-1 in home conference games.

• The Blue Raiders dropped a 55-39 decision on the road at LA Tech Feb. 27, snapping a nine game winning streak. The win-streak was the longest for MT this season. The 39 points marked a season-low for the Raiders this season; MT recorded 48 points at Cincinnati Dec. 21.

• With a 22-point victory at Charlotte Feb. 20, 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 loss at LA Tech Thursday, the Blue Raiders slipped to 11-3 in league play and are once again in a four-way tie atop the Conference USA standings with LA Tech, Southern Miss and Tulsa.

• Conference USA men's basketball is currently in the closest league race in all of Division-I. C-USA is the only D-I league with five teams within one game of each other in the conference standings. The Big South has four teams within one game of each other. 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 wins at Charlotte and Marshall, four Blue Raider seniors (Kerry Hammonds II, Shawn Jones, Zane Gibson and Torin Walker) have had a hand in becoming 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.

• After beating Charlotte and Marshall on the road last week, the Raiders jumped eight spots in the NCAA RPI to 66. MT remains at 66 after the loss at LA Tech. Three other C-USA teams rank in the top 100: Southern Miss (35), LA Tech (75) and Tulsa (97). UTEP slipped out of the top 100 to 106.

• 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 19-3 in the month of February. MT's 14-game winning streak in the month of February dating back to the 2011-12 season was snapped with a 55-39 loss at LA Tech Feb. 27.

• Middle Tennessee ranks second in the country with a 44-6 record in conference games over the last three seasons, just behind Davidson (47-4). The Blue Raiders are 20-5 over the last three seasons in conference road games to rank seventh in the nation with a winning percentage of .800.

• 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).

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