MTSU makes it 5 in a row against the SEC. https://t.co/5vhY6jDtjM
— 102.5 The Game (@1025TheGame) December 10, 2017
Building on a burgeoning winning tradition in men’s college basketball, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders appear poised to make another run at the Conference USA title.
Coach Kermit Davis’ Blue Raiders, based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, opened eyes two years ago by knocking off Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans in the round of 64 of the NCAA tournament.
Last year, they did it again, taking down Minnesota in the NCAA’s R64.
This season, the Blue Raiders continue to step up their game.
They swept two games against Southeastern Conference foes in the last week, improving to 5-0 against the SEC since 2015.
With a 77-58 win over Ole Miss Saturday at the Murphy Center, the Blue Raiders (7-1) continued to burnish their reputation as the top program in the C-USA.
It was the second SEC victory of the season for Middle Tennessee, with the first coming Wednesday at Vanderbilt.
“The score really wasn’t indicative of what the game was, it just kind of broke open in the last three or four minutes,” Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis told reporters later. “What a great fan turnout for our team, over 8,000 fans.
“It was a big game for us, for our town and our campus. When our team has that kind of home court, it means a lot to those guys in that locker room.”
Newcomer Nick King, who has played at both Memphis and Alabama in his college career, has been well worth the price of admission so far.
The 6-foot-7 forward from Memphis East High School is averaging 24.3 points and 6.6 rebounds. King is shooting 55.5 percent from the field.
“Coach always preaches to us about being a national team, and that we have to have the opportunity to show it and take advantage,” he said. “We have the opportunity now, and we’re taking advantage.
“We’re practicing absolutely as hard as we can each and every practice. Not a lot of teams do that during the season … but we have to have that edge every single day.”