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No. 22 Raiders conclude regular season at Tulane

Insell one win away from 1,000th career victory

March 4, 2014 · @MTAthletics

No. 22 Middle Tennessee (25-4, 14-1 Conference USA) wraps up the regular season with a visit to Tulane (20-8, 11-4 C-USA) on Wednesday. Tipoff in New Orleans is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside Devlin Fieldhouse.

GAME INFORMATION

Matchup: No. 22 Middle Tennessee at Tulane
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: New Orleans, La.
Arena: Devlin Fieldhouse (3,600)

SERIES INFORMATION

Overall: First Meeting
Under Rick Insell: First Meeting
In New Orleans: First Meeting

MEDIA INFORMATION

Radio: WMOT (89.5 FM) / WGNS (1450 AM/100.9FM)
Play-by-Play: Dick Palmer
Live Video: C-USA Digital Network ($)
Live Video - Live Audio - Live Stats

Quick Hitters

• No. 22 Middle Tennessee (25-4, 14-1 Conference USA) closes out the regular season on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. contest at Tulane.
• The Blue Raiders clinched the Conference USA regular season title and No. 1 tournament seed with a 68-58 victory over UAB on Saturday. MT used a 26-8 run to collect the victory, as Ebony Rowe led the Blue Raiders with 22 points. KeKe Stewart chimed in with 15, while Shanice Cason added 12 in the home finale.
• On Wednesday, the Green Wave and Middle Tennessee meet for the first time on the hardwood.
• With a victory on Wednesday, head coach Rick Insell can record his 1,000th career win. He amassed 775 at Shelbyville, while posting 224 as MT's all-time leading coach.
Ebony Rowe earned her second academic honor on Tuesday with a selection to the C-USA Women's Basketball All-Academic team. The senior holds a 3.74 GPA as a physics major.
• Middle Tennessee has won 24 out of its last 25 games, including seven straight. The Blue Raiders have reached 25 or more wins in six out of nine seasons under Rick Insell's tutleage.

What Happened vs. UAB

• No. 22/25 Middle Tennessee overcame an 11-point second half deficit to defeat UAB, 68-58, on Senior Day. The Raiders clinched the regular season C-USA title, assuring themselves the No. 1 seed in the tournament next week in El Paso. Ebony Rowe paced the Raiders with 22 points, while KeKe Stewart inked 15 in the win. Shanice Cason added 12 for the Blue Raiders. MT closed out the C-USA slate at home with a perfect 8-0 record.

Series with the Green Wave

• Middle Tennessee and Tulane meet for the first time on Wednesday.
• This is not the Blue Raiders' first trip to New Orleans. MT played UNO 14 times from 2001 to 2010 as Sun Belt foes. MT owned a 13-1 overall record.

Scouting Tulane

• Tulane (20-8, 11-4 C-USA) has lost two out of its last three games with losses at UAB and Southern Miss. The Green Wave own an 11-4 mark inside Devlin Fieldhouse. Tulane is second in C-USA and 29th nationally with 16.4 assists per game. They also rank second with a +5 rebounding margin. TU is giving up just 63.1 ppg, which is fifth in the league. They are averaging 69.8 ppg and shooting 42.2 percent, which is third in Conference USA. Guard Danielle Blagg is Tulane's leading scorer with 12.4 ppg. Her 57 makes beyond the arch is second in C-USA. Tiffany Dale and Jamie Kaplan are averaging 11.9 points each. Kaplan has dished out 188 assists this season, ranking second in C-USA.

Raiders Rise in Polls

• After a two week hiatus, the Blue Raiders returned to both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls last week.
• This week, MT moved up one spot in the AP poll to No. 22. MT jumped three spots in the Coaches poll to their highest ranking of 22 this season.
• MT is in both polls for the second time this season and for the first time since 2007.

Raiders' RPI Rating

• Middle Tennessee has an RPI rating of 22 in the latest report from the NCAA. Other top-100 C-USA teams include Southern Miss (40), UTEP (43), East Carolina (69) and Tulane (94).• C-USA's RPI is 10th out 32 leagues.

Sixth Straight Title

• The Raiders earned its sixth straight C-USA title last week.
• There are only four other schools (Green Bay, Gonzaga, Marist and Stanford) that are seeking a sixth-straight title.
• Over the past nine year's Rick Insell's squads are 136-16 in regular season play.

Insell Nears 1,000 Wins

• Head Coach Rick Insell is nearing his 1,000th career victory that spans his high school and collegiate days. Insell won 775 games at Shelbyville Central and has amassed 224 victories as MT's all-time winningest coach.
• With a victory over Tulane on Wednesday, Insell will become the fourth coach either high school or college to win 1,000. He would join Pat Summitt (Tennessee), Jim Smiddy (Bradley Central) and Lamar Rogers (Clarkrange).

Double-Figure Trifecta

Shanice Cason, Ebony Rowe and KeKe Stewart have reached double figures in the Blue Raiders last four games.
• Cason has tied a career-high with three triples in back-to-back games.
• Meanwhile, Stewart has produced a career-best 11 double-digit games this season.
• Rowe has produced 18 games with 20 or more points, including a current streak of two straight.

Magic Numbers

• Middle Tennessee is 21-0 this year when the Raiders commit less turnovers than their opponents.
• The Blue Raiders own a 16-0 mark when scoring in the 60-69 point range.
• MT is a perfect 24-0 when leading with five minutes remaining and is 19-2 when leading at the half.

Wins Aren't Easy

• MT opened the season with eight of its first 10 victories on the road.
• With a victory over FIU, the Blue Raiders have reached 10 road victories for the third consecutive year and the fifth time in six years under Rick Insell.
• MT has recorded 11 consecutive 20-win seasons, including nine straight under the watch of Insell.
• The Raiders completed an 8-0 mark in Florida after visiting the Sunshine State on four different occasions.
• MT has reached 25-plus wins in six out of nine seasons under Insell.

Academic Success

• Senior Ebony Rowe became the fifth MT women's basketball player and 12 MT student-athlete to earn Capital One Academic All-America honors.
• On March 4, Rowe earned C-USA All-Academic honors.
• The physics major holds a 3.74 GPA and plans to attend graduate school in mechanical engineering. Rowe is the first selection for the Raiders since Brandi Brown and Alysha Clark in 2010.
• Rick Insell has now coached four Academic All-Americans.

Attendance 20th Nationally

• MT closed out the 2013-14 season with a school-record average of 4,826 fans per game. The average is 20th nationally.

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